• More Media B.S. — OMG, Trump Company Legally Rented Office Space to Iranian Bank!

    October 3, 2016 // 13 Comments »

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    Once again a story that Trump did nothing illegal is somehow front page news. His crime this time? Continuing to legally rent out office space to a bank already in a building he bought 18 years ago.

    So the big news is that Donald Trump’s real estate organization rented space to an Iranian bank later linked to Iran’s nuclear program.

    Bank Melli, one of Iran’s largest state-controlled banks, was already a tenant in 1998 when Trump purchased the General Motors Building, above, in Manhattan, but he kept them on for another five years, until 2003.


    Quick summary:

    — There is no evidence and it is highly unlikely that Trump himself knew every one of the hundreds of tenants in a building he bought in 1998. In fact, the building occupies a full city block, with 1,774,000 net leasable square feet (the bank rented 8,000 square feet.)

    — U.S. security authorities allowed Bank Melli to legally operate offices in the U.S., so renting to them is not a story.

    — Bank Melli was prohibited from conducting bank transactions in the U.S., and did not conduct transactions, but kept an office in New York in hopes sanctions might one day be eased.

    — Bank Melli operated fully in the open. The U.S. Department of the Treasury could have shut them down at any time, or sanctioned Trump for dealing with them if it wished. It did not.

    — The bank itself (not Trump) was only sanctioned by Treasury in 2007, four years after it left Trump’s building. However, the Huffington Post helpfully notes (emphasis added) “[Unnamed] Experts told the Center for Public Integrity that the bank likely supported proliferation activity and Iran’s military years before the Treasury Department publicly condemned the bank,” something the owners of the rental building presumably should have been aware of somehow.

    — The Center for Public Integrity reveals on its website that the Bank Melli “as being controlled by the Iranian government” since 1999. Actually in its own publically available history, the Bank notes it served as the nation’s central bank, issuing currency, from 1931.


    While the media is enjoying this story, it ignores the broader picture. Despite sanctions and trade embargoes, over the past decade the United States government allowed American companies to do billions of dollars in business with Iran and other countries blacklisted as state sponsors of terrorism.

    At the request of companies from Kraft Food and Pepsi to some of the nation’s largest banks, the Treasury Department across multiple administrations granted some 10,000 licenses for deals involving sanctioned countries.


    The media is so full of sh*t on these stories their eyes are brown.



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    Posted in Iran

    US Provides Iraq with Super Surveillance System

    August 3, 2011 // 2 Comments »

    So what do all those bad boy US special operators do in Iraq these days?

    They whack people. They hunt down individual bad guys and kill them. The bin Laden raid was a varsity-level operation of this type, but night after night such raids, albeit on a much smaller scale, are taking place in Iraq (as in Afghanistan) to pop bomb makers and local cell leaders. The fighting in Iraq has moved from mass operations to very specific killings on both sides.

    A Shiite militia has no need to target a marketplace when what they really want to do is whack one specific Sunni police captain hassling them. The US, with its vast, frightening and ever-growing surveillance machine, doesn’t need to carpet bomb a village when a ten man special ops team can motor in one night, knowing they Shiite militia commander they want to murder is at home, second floor, back bedroom, on the phone to his Qods Force controller (also being whacked simultaneously).

    It was always thought that the array of electronics needed to do this kind of thing will stay with the special forces in Iraq and/or be quietly slipping through the night sky far, far above. But now it seems the US will gift Iraq with such capabilities, useful of course not only for Iraq’s dirty work, but conveniently there for America as well.

    The United States is planning to provide the Iraqi government with a wiretapping system to eavesdrop on cellular calls and messages “to assist in combating criminal organizations and insurgencies,” according to a US Air Force contract solicitation reported in the Washington Post.

    The proposed system would allow Iraqi officials to monitor and store voice calls, data transmissions and text messages.

    Ah yes, preparing the battlefield for 12/31/2011, when US forces will sort of, maybe, kinda leave Iraq.



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    Posted in Iran

    Panetta in Iraq: You Do the Math

    July 11, 2011 // Comments Off on Panetta in Iraq: You Do the Math

    Since new SecDef “I suffer from a permanent hound dog face” Panetta dropped by Iraq this week to beg for US permanent bases and to invigorate the new rationale for the war, or more precisely, for continuing the war (hint: it’s all about Iran now), a few things to review:

    Before 2003 (per the 9/11 report and others) there were zero al Qaeda in Iraq. Panetta now says there are 1000 members.

    — Before 2003, Iraq and Iran were sworn enemies (photo above is the “Victory Over Iran” Memorial), and had fought a bitter war. Now Panetta frets about Iranian weapons flooding into Iraq, and Iran and Iraq are good friends. Commerce and social intercourse between the two nations is at an all-time high.

    — Saddam hated Iran and had nothing to do with them politically. After 2003, Iran played a very significant role in brokering the agreement that led to the current Iraqi government’s formation. The current Iraqi government shares close ties to Iranian leadership.

    — Before 2003, the number of American soldiers who died at the hands of Iranian special forces was quite small, possibly limited to a few of our own special forces troops. Since 2003, Iraq’s Shia militias have benefited from Iranian weapons, training and likely direct action from Iranian Qods Force SOF present in Iraq.


    Despite these obvious realities, Panetta in his alternate universe “aimed at urging the Iraqi military to take stronger action against Shiite militias and to see Iran as the Obama administration does — not just as a threat to American troops, but as a potential cancer in the country.” Panetta is the third top American official to raise an alarm about Iranian influence in Iraq in recent days. The Iraqis seem unconcerned, as one might expect. Iran is at war with the US, not Iraq.

    Panetta’s visit to Iraq also coincided with the death of another American soldier in Iraq, bringing the total killed since 2003 to 4471.

    One final note: Number of Americans who will be killed by Sadr militia, Iranian weapons and other sources if the US keeps troops in Iraq after 12/31/2011: Unknown but significant.

    Number of Americans who will be killed after 12/31/2011by Sadr militia, Iranian weapons and other sources if the US departs Iraq on schedule: Zero.


    Which alternative seems the best course for America? You do the math.



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