By Ben Barrack
This article is the second of a series (Part one can be read here)
Is the establishment more concerned with holding onto power or protecting its secrets?
Why would the Obama administration reward Iran – a designated State Sponsor of Terrorism – with such a sweet nuclear deal to include $150 Billion as well as cede to the terror state’s demands for historical artifacts and more than $2 Billion in U.S. taxpayer money? And WHY WOULD THE REPUBLICAN PARTY LET HIM DO IT? A very disturbing truth is that the Republican and Democratic Party establishments – to include the Bushes, the Clintons and even Secretary of State John Kerry – have much to hide when it comes to the decades-old scandal known as Iran-Contra.
Iran’s mullahs are acting like they know it.
In the 1980’s, the U.S. was on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood (Mujahideen) in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. That’s not really a secret but what is often overlooked is that there were Iran-backed Shia forces that aligned with the Mujahideen as well. Developed in 1979 and ultimately founded in 1987, Iran’s ‘Tehran Eight’ was also on the side of the U.S. in Afghanistan. All eight of the organizations that constituted the ‘Tehran Eight’ were headquartered in Iran and even included Afghan Hezbollah.
The U.S. backed an alliance of Sunni and Shia Mujahideen. Today, this is a critical reality that is completely avoided in establishment political circles.
It’s not about Monday Morning Quarterbacking. It’s about the long-term consequences of such alliances due largely to the refusal of politicians to come clean by acknowledging them, which only puts the country in more danger; it also gives Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood leverage against western leaders.
Chief among those consequences has been the unabated, Islamic infiltration of America that began to hit its stride in the early 1990’s, after the fall of the Soviet Union. Why has this issue been so ignored for so long by so many in power?
Since the Iran-Contra scandal broke in 1986, after a U.S. Cargo plane transporting munitions and other supplies was shot down over Nicaragua, every U.S. President either has a connection to the scandal or – as is the case with Barack Obama – is overtly sympathetic to both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian regime. The Bush and Clinton families both have a deep incentive to keep the truth about Iran-Contra hidden; it is perhaps a finalist for the ugliest truth in American politics award.
Officially, Iran-Contra was about a decision to sell weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of U.S. hostages and that the profits from those sales went to fund the Nicaraguan Contras, who were fighting the Communist-backed Sandanistas. What has been ignored by the government and the media for decades now is the CIA operation run out of Mena, Arkansas when Bill Clinton was Governor of that state and George H.W. Bush was Vice President. The alleged purpose of the operation, which began circa 1983, was to manufacture untraceable weapons and ship them to the Contras; the issue of cocaine shipments on returning flights has also been largely covered up.
In an exchange with legendary reporter Sarah McClendon in 1994, Clinton conceded her premise, that the Mena operation was real, that it involved cocaine trafficking and that Bush and Oliver North ran it. All Clinton did was deny his own personal knowledge, a claim that is simply not believable (even if he hadn’t later committed perjury):
Below is audio of the exchange if the video is taken down:
As Bush 41 was preparing to leave office, he pardoned six key figures in Iran-Contra on Christmas Eve, 1992. Of course, the bombshell decision made the front page of the New York Times on Christmas Day, itself a red flag. The pardoning of Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger was particularly troublesome because it prevented his notes from coming to light; those notes allegedly detailed Bush’s role in the scandal and potentially a huge conflict of interest:
Mr. Weinberger was scheduled to stand trial on Jan. 5 on charges that he lied to Congress about his knowledge of the arms sales to Iran and efforts by other countries to help underwrite the Nicaraguan rebels, a case that was expected to focus on Mr. Weinberger’s private notes that contain references to Mr. Bush’s endorsement of the secret shipments to Iran.
In one remaining facet of the inquiry, the independent prosecutor, Lawrence E. Walsh, plans to review a 1986 campaign diary kept by Mr. Bush. Mr. Walsh has characterized the President’s failure to turn over the diary until now as misconduct.
If true, it would certainly provide Iran with leverage over future U.S. administrations; more on that in a bit.
The October 23, 1983 Marine Barracks bombing in Beirut that resulted in the murder of 241 U.S. Service Personnel was traced to Iran’s Hezbollah. In response, Reagan pulled U.S. troops out of the area entirely. History indicates that Weinberger was the main voice that convinced Reagan to do so. In an article by K.T. McFarland, former National Security employee at the time, she suggested that the reason for the withdrawal had to do with prioritizing the Soviet threat over Islamic terrorism:
Some argue that Reagan’s refusal to engage Hezbollah and Islamic jihadists in the 1980’s led to the growth of Al Qaeda. Others argue that had Reagan gotten bogged down in a Middle East war, he couldn’t have defeated the Soviet Union and won the Cold War.
With the gift of hindsight, we now know that the U.S. wasn’t just choosing to focus on Soviet Communism over Islamic terrorists; it was also aligning with those terrorists in the effort.
Any discussion of Iran-Contra usually focuses on the U.S. decision to sell arms to Iran, which was formally introduced into the scandal in 1985, a full year after Iran was officially designated as a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. State Department.
At the time, Iran was in the middle of a war with Iraq (1980-88) so ostensibly, those weapons could have been used to fight Saddam Hussein’s forces, whom the U.S was also arming.
Today, Iran and Russia are allies but from 1983-86, the Soviet Union wasn’t just fighting the U.S.-backed, Iran-alilgned, Sunni Mujahideen (Muslim Brotherhood) in Afghanistan. It was also a period when relations between the Soviets and Iran were the most strained. According to Iranian Perspectives on the Iran-Iraq War, a 1997 book penned by Iranian Farhang Rajaee, the Soviets aggressively supported Iraq during the latter’s war with Iran:
In February 1983, Iranian authorities announced the arrest of leaders of the Iranian Communist Tudeh party. Influencing a wave of anti-Soviet policy in Iran, this move inaugurated a new era in Soviet-Iranian and Soviet-Iraqi relations. In May 1983, Iran expelled eighteen Soviet diplomats on charges of espionage and initiated a propaganda campaign against the Soviet Union suggesting that Muslims in the USSR were living in misery. Naturally, these actions angered Moscow…
According to Rajaee, this was consequential in a very tangible way:
The quantity and quality of Soviet-bloc military assistance to Iraq in 1983 were remarkable. Reportedly, the total amount of assistance was close to $5.1 billion. It made Iraq the largest recipient of Soviet-bloc military aid among countries of the Third World. Soviet military help to Iraq was accompanied by an anti-Iranian propaganda campaign.
As the Soviets were arming Saddam Hussein, the U.S. was essentially arming both Iran and Iraq.
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the U.S. was covertly assisting the Muslim Brotherhood in Pakistan against the Soviets. This policy was spearheaded in 1979 by Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and kicked into overdrive under the Reagan administration.
In the years since, Brzezinski has remained comfortable not just speaking with the Muslim Brotherhood’s propaganda arm, Al-Jazeera, but also pushing its agenda:
Throughout the tenure of President Barack Obama, Brzezinski remained a top foreign policy adviser.
In a 2011 interview with the Mujahideen’s network, Brzezinski advocated for the removal of Gadhafi in Libya, a position that clearly benefited the Muslim Brotherhood:
It’s safe to say that Brzezinski is siding with the Mujahideen today just as he did in 1979, when he traveled to Pakistan to rally the Islamic jihadists with then Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher at his side. This is made more significant because the Muslim Brotherhood has been incredibly successful at infiltrating the U.S. State Department:
In 1986, as the U.S. continued support for the Mujahideen (Muslim Brotherhood), fighters that would constitute the ‘Tehran eight’ and others in Pakistan, there existed the Alkifah Refugee Center in Brooklyn, New York. Alkifah was tied directly to Osama bin Laden’s network. As to what Alkifah was used for, a 1998 New York Times article explained:
The center’s stated purpose was to raise money and recruit fighters to help the United States-backed Afghan mujahedeen, who rebelled against the Communist Government in Afghanistan after an invasion by the Soviet Union in 1979.
That same article explained what happened to these future stealth enemies of the U.S. after the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989:
Most of the men who were drawn to Alkifah Center in its turbulent days have melted quietly back into their communities, say people in the neighborhood familiar with the center’s history.
In fact, in 1990, a man who would one day be the convicted mastermind of the New York City landmarks bombing plot and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman (the Blind Sheikh) was allowed entry into the U.S. and became the leader of Alkifah. Though the Blind Sheikh was given a life sentence, the whole truth about his presence in the U.S. remains officially unacknowledged.
This leads to an interesting excerpt from a 1991 TIME Magazine article by Richard Lacayo, relative to the involvement of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), which was shut down that year. BCCI was ultimately found to have been a monstrously large criminal enterprise that laundered billions of dollars in drug money and financed illegal arms deals.
Investigators probing B.C.C.I. have told TIME that the Iran-contra affair is linked to the burgeoning bank scandal. Former government officials and other sources confirm that the CIA stashed money in a number of B.C.C.I. accounts that were used to finance covert operations; some of these funds went to the contras. Investigators also say an intelligence unit of the U.S. defense establishment has used the bank to maintain a secret slush fund, possibly for financing unauthorized covert operations.
“…some of these funds went to the contras.”? What of the other funds? Did any of them go toward funding the Mujahideen (Muslim Brotherhood) / Iranian fighters in Pakistan? After all, BCCI was founded by a wealthy Pakistani businessman and BCCI had a head office in Karachi.
Moreover, based on the fact that the Soviets were heavily arming Saddam Hussein’s forces in the Iran-Iraq war, would Iran not have had incentive to make things difficult for the Russians in Afghanistan too? Yes… and they did, via the ‘Tehran Eight’.
Did any of the BCCI accounts used by the CIA finance the Iranians just a few short years after American hostages had been released after being held captive for 444 days? What is inescapable is that during the 1980’s, the U.S., the Muslim Brotherhood, and Iran all aligned – to varying degrees – against the Soviets.
This may very well have been a strategic necessity at the time but as is almost always the case, the cover-up is the bigger problem. The individuals behind the crafting and implementation of this strategy would be handcuffed – or targets of blackmail – depending on how the truth would play with the American people. This reality could conceivably manifest itself in a consistent and conspicuous refusal of American political leaders to confront – or even acknowledge – Islamic infiltration.
In a 1992 Newsweek article by John Schwartz, some powerful Americans were reported to have been extremely close to BCCI’s dealings:
…allegations of deeper American involvement raise troubling questions. Intelligence sources now say that Mohammed Hammoud, an alleged BCCI front man, was taped saying over the telephone, “If anybody knew how dirty the Americans are in this BCCI business, they’d be surprised-they’re dirtier than the Pakistanis.” He then said he was about to tell someone about the American role. Eight hours later, he was found dead.
It is not known specifically what Hammoud would have meant but what is known is that he had personal dealings with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and that the two men met “several times” according to a 1991 Associated Press report:
Hatch and Hammoud first met in Washington in the early 1980s and had a number of meetings in later years. Hatch said they discussed Middle East politics and the American hostages in Lebanon… Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Fla, said this fall there are indications that Hammoud may have helped finance Hezbollah, a Mideast terrorist group that has held Western hostages in Lebanon. Hammoud died mysteriously last year in Beirut.
In 1993, a Senate Ethics Committee cleared Hatch of any wrongdoing in the BCCI scandal.
Squandering Support After 9/11 Attacks
President George W. Bush had a 90% approval rating after the 9/11 attacks. In the wake of those attacks, two countries were subjected to American wrath – Afghanistan and Iraq. Two that weren’t but should have been were Saudi Arabia and Iran; Sudan is arguably the third; Pakistan a fourth. Over the rest of his tenure, Bush’s poll numbers certainly reflected a misguided strategy.
Bush left office with a rating barely over 30%. It can be argued that prior to Barack Obama getting elected, Bush’s decision to go into Iraq made him the most polarizing president in modern U.S. history (Obama has clearly won that distinction since). From that standpoint alone, the domestic consequences of going into Iraq make a compelling case for it being a bad decision, accuracy of the intelligence that said Saddam Hussein had WMD’s notwithstanding.
Afghanistan was downstream from a Saudi, state-sponsored, terrorism money supply. Evidence suggests Iran collaborated with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and elsewhere as well. Iraq wasn’t even invaded for its involvement in 9/11. The justification for going into Iraq was so out of phase with a 9/11 response that the entire exercise arguably made the political ground fertile for the election of Obama in 2008.
Hundreds of Saudi nationals were allowed to flee the U.S. in the days after 9/11, without being questioned. Saudi-backed sources of terror funding – like the Muslim World League (MWL), the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), Sulaiman Abdul Aziz Rajihi (SAAR), and several others were let off the hook. The sheer number of Saudi-connected groups not mentioned once in the 9/11 Commission Report is staggering.
As the Iran-Contra scandal was unfolding, the future vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-IN) was charged with investigating Iran-Contra in his role as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. The ranking member of that committee was future vice president under George W. Bush Rep. Dick Cheney (R-WY). Hamilton and Cheney became friends; that friendship continued during the 9/11 Commission’s investigation. As was the case with Iran-Contra, 9/11 was not fully investigated.
Cheney was the Secretary of Defense during the George H.W. Bush administration when Weinberger and five others were pardoned by Bush; he would later be the two-term vice president for Bush’s son.
Speaking of the 9/11 Commission Report, on pages 240-41, it reached a stunning conclusion as U.S. forces were already in Iraq. It concluded that Iran – through Hezbollah – may have collaborated with al-Qaeda in the attacks and that the U.S. Government should explore it further:
…while in Sudan, senior managers in al Qaeda maintained contacts with Iran and the Iranian-supported worldwide terrorist organization Hezbollah, which is based mainly in southern Lebanon and Beirut. Al Qaeda members received advice and training from Hezbollah… detainees have described the willingness of Iranian officials to facilitate the travel of al Qaeda members through Iran, on their way to and from Afghanistan… such arrangements were particularly beneficial to Saudi members of al Qaeda… we now have evidence suggesting that 8 to 10 of the 14 Saudi ‘muscle’ operatives traveled into or out of Iran between October 2000 and February 2001… In sum, there is strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of al Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers… After 9/11, Iran and Hezbollah wished to conceal any past evidence of cooperation with Sunni terrorists associated with al Qaeda… We believe this topic requires further investigation by the U.S. Government.
As the 9/11 Commission was concluding that the U.S. Government (presumably Congress) should investigate leads that could prove Iran’s culpability in the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration was doing Iran a huge favor. It was overthrowing Saddam Hussein while simultaneously allowing a prominent, Iran-backed Shiite cleric to undermine the war effort.
If there was one figure who inexplicably escaped American wrath during the U.S. war in Iraq, it was Iranian-backed Muqtada al-Sadr. Here was a man who actively undermined U.S. efforts there, even to the point of arming the Sunnis in Fallujah in 2004 (just 20 years earlier, Sunnis and Shiites aligned with the U.S. to fight in Afghanistan).
Today, al-Sadr is an Iranian-backed Ayatollah who got his way in Iraq and was ultimately promoted.
In the months prior to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011, Ayatollah al-Sadr had been demanding that withdrawal and may have influenced the decision to do so.
Moreover, it was revealed that Iranian weapons were being used to murder U.S. troops and had been throughout the war. Yet, Iran faced no real consequences from Bush’s administration and found favor with Obama’s.
The top U.S. official in Iraq in 2004 – L. Paul Bremer – even identified al-Sadr as an outlaw leading an effort that the U.S. would “not tolerate”.
Yet, despite al-Sadr’s high profile and prolific public appearances, he was never dealt with by the U.S. Bremer’s proclamation proved to be incorrect; al-Sadr’s existence was tolerated and he was ultimately rewarded.
Al-Sadr was a figure who would have been easy to demonize in much the same way Osama bin Laden was demonized after 9/11. Instead, his name barely scratched the surface of American consciousness. However, a woman named Cindy Sheehan became perhaps the most polarizing American citizen of that time. It’s safe to say that the incredibly divisive Sheehan found voice with the mainstream media and garnered active support and opposition.
According to Intelius, Sheehan once worked for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a right-wing think tank. At best, such an arrangement would seem a bizarre fit. In a 2015 interview with talk show host Lynn Woolley, Sheehan denied any knowledge of FDD when asked about her being identified as having worked there. Requests for comment from FDD went unanswered.
9/11 Widow Gets it Right as Bush Administration was Getting it Wrong
Something else was happening as the 9/11 Commission was finishing its work and as U.S. forces were in Iraq. Fiona Havlish – The widow of a man murdered by the 9/11 attackers – was the plaintiff in a lawsuit against Iran to prove the latter’s culpability in the attacks. This action was begun in February of 2002, more than one year prior to the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq in March of 2003.
On December 22, 2011, U.S. District Court Judge George B. Daniels ruled for Havlish. Presented with 276 “Findings of Fact”, Daniels found Iran complicit in the 9/11 attacks.
How is it that Havlish rightly identified Iran’s involvement in 9/11 as early as 2002 and the George W. Bush administration never did? As the world bemoans faulty intelligence which said Saddam Hussein had WMD’s, isn’t the bigger blunder having less intelligence about all the players involved in the 9/11 attacks than a U.S. citizen?
The more likely scenario is that the Bush administration chose to ignore what Havlish knew. At a minimum, it failed to pay attention.
How about those “Findings of Fact”? Two key figures emerge when reading them. One is a senior Hezbollah commander named Imad Mughniyah and the other an Iranian defector named Abolghasem Mesbahi, who held prominent positions within the Iranian regime. According to facts #79 and #80, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri met with Mughniyah in Khartoum, Sudan in 1993. Representatives from “Iran, Hizballah, and al Qaeda” were all present and formed a terrorism alliance, demonstrating a dynamic of Sunni-Shiite collaboration when it comes to fighting the west.
Mesbahi testified that he had foreknowledge of 9/11 attack plans and received three coded messages from his sources in Iran, days before the attacks were carried out (July 23, August 13, and August 27, 2001). All three messages had to do with an operation named Shaitan dar Atash (Satan on Fire) and each message came with a bit more detail. According to his testimony, Mesbahi attempted to notify German intelligence officials but to no avail. He then reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Berlin to relay Iran’s involvement after the attacks but was ignored. Mesbahi testified he called the U.S. Embassy, visited it in person, and sent a letter per a guard’s suggestion but was ignored (facts #180-186).
Havlish – a private U.S. citizen – pursued these leads and a federal judge found the evidence in her favor to be overwhelming. The Bush administration did not pursue these leads while making the case for invading Iraq.
Iran and the Benghazi Attacks
On the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks came the assault on the U.S. Special Mission Compound (SMC) and CIA Annex in Benghazi. Respected investigator Kenneth Timmerman insisted that Iran was involved, writing:
I first learned of the Iranian and Hezbollah presence in Benghazi in March 2011 from an American security contractor then in Libya. From the very beginning, the Iranians used local Arabs as well as Lebanese, Syrians and Sudanese recruits for their purposes.
After acknowledging the skepticism of critics who question Iranian involvement in the Benghazi attacks, Timmerman explained why the Iranians would be part of such an operation. It was…
…because the Iranians knew the United States would not strike back. They have been attacking us nonstop in Iraq and Afghanistan for the past decade, with little or no response.
It’s been widely acknowledged that Sunni Muslim Brotherhood-backed groups were involved in the Benghazi attacks. Ansar al-Sharia is one such group. In documents obtained by Judicial Watch, it was learned that the Department of Defense (DOD)…
…knew almost immediately that the Benghazi attack was committed by the al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR), and had been planned at least 10 days in advance.
This would mean Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian collaboration in Benghazi if Timmerman is correct. In the years since, Iran has actually been rewarded through nuclear negotiations with the Obama administration. Iran was essentially the recipient of $150 Billion U.S. dollars and has not faced consequences for acts of war against the U.S., beginning with the hostage crisis of 1979-80.
Shouldn’t that money have gone to the plaintiffs in Havlish vs. Iran, et. al.?
How ugly is the truth about Iran-Contra?
Other Evidence of Collaboration
In September of 2014, as the Obama administration was facing increased pressure to do something about ISIS in Iraq and Syria, a new group was introduced into the equation – Khorasan. Prior to the announcement that U.S. forces had targeted Khorasan in Syria, the vast majority of Americans had never heard the term before.
In actuality, Khorasan is an al-Qaeda group that has been allowed to operate in Iran for years. Shoebat.com relayed a telling excerpt from a book entitled A Citizen’s Guide to Terrorism and Counter-terrorism:
Long the leading state sponsor of terrorism, Iran has recently harbored famed terrorists such as Imad Mughniyah of Hezbollah (d. 2008), certain leaders of Al Qaeda, including… an Al Qaeda finances man, Yasin al-Suri, an ethnic Kurd and Syrian citizen.
That would be the same Mughniyah identified in Havlish.
In early 2015, documents obtained from Osama bin Laden’s compound revealed a working relationship between Iran and al-Qaeda.
Collaboration and Cover-Up with Iran
In 1994, a terrorist attack rocked Buenos Aires, Argentina when a bomb went off at a Jewish Community Center killing nearly 100 people. As has been typical, Iran – even though it was believed to be behind the attack – has never paid a price.
Argentina briefly made international news in early 2015 when one of its prosecutors – Alberto Nisman – was found shot dead in his apartment just hours before he was to present damning evidence implicating his government in the cover-up of Iran’s involvement, to Congress.
Nisman was to present transcripts of phone conversations between Iranian and Argentinian government officials, according to the New York Times:
Intercepted conversations between representatives of the Iranian and Argentine governments point to a long pattern of secret negotiations to reach a deal in which Argentina would receive oil in exchange for shielding Iranian officials from charges that they orchestrated the bombing of a Jewish community center in 1994…
…The phone conversations are believed to have been intercepted by Argentine intelligence officials. If proved accurate, the transcripts would show a concerted effort by representatives of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s government to shift suspicions away from Iran in order to gain access to Iranian markets and to ease Argentina’s energy troubles.
This points to the ability of Iran to blackmail entire governments into silence and a willingness of at least one western government to play along.
Officially, Nisman’s death remains unsolved but there are strong indications that he was assassinated for getting too close to the truth about some very powerful people:
Nisman had begun to make enemies in high places. Alleging there was an attempt to cover up Iran’s alleged role in the bombing, on 14 January he filed a criminal complaint against Argentina’s President and the Foreign Minister.
Why would a man who told his daughter that he was eager to showcase his work while assuring her that she would be “so proud” of him, commit suicide hours before he was to present that work?
During a 2015 speech at the United Nations, de Kirchner made a bombshell claim that in 2010, a representative from the Obama administration asked that Argentina provide Iran with nuclear fuel. When asked to put this request in writing, the Obama administration allegedly disappeared, according to de Kirchner.
It remains unclear how Iran is able to command such leverage against the U.S. but there are indications that it has used threats and blackmail in the past.
According to an article in the Washington Times, the administration of Bill Clinton was so convinced of Iran’s involvement in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing that Clinton himself sent a cable to the Iranians expressing as much. In the cable, Clinton vowed not to make the evidence public, presumably to avoid an outcry from the American people for reprisals.
Clinton reportedly attempted to deal with Iran, to get them to cooperate in the Khobar bombing investigation based on some ridiculous notion that the country had recently elected ‘moderate’ leaders. Not only was that ill-advised but it put Clinton on defense:
…Tehran responded with a harsh denial, backed by its more radical theocratic ruling elite, and it even threatened to make public the cable Mr. Clinton had sent the Iranian leader…
The threat of going public alarmed top U.S. advisers, who feared the disclosure would lead to public pressure inside the United States to retaliate against Iran militarily or diplomatically, contemporaneous memos show.
“If the Iranians make good on their threats to release the text of our letter, we are going to face intense pressure to take action,” top aide Kenneth Pollack wrote in a Sept. 15, 1999, memo routed through White House aide Bruce Riedel to then-National Security Adviser Sandy Berger.
The Secretary of State who negotiated the treasonous Iranian nuclear deal – John Kerry – was at the center of the Iran-Contra investigation but backed off when he got close. In a bombshell book by Terry Reed, who claims he was part of the Mena operation, there was “strong evidence” that Kerry’s lead investigator “actually helped to stymie the Mena investigation.” (Compromised, p. 518) This would have compromised Kerry.
It should not come as a shock that Iran is willing to use blackmail to get what it wants. How far back does this practice go?
Reagan’s National Security Adviser, Iran and Sudan
From 1983-85, Robert “Bud” McFarlane was Ronald Reagan’s National Security Adviser. He would later become one of the central figures in Iran-Contra.
In January of 1987, the New York Times reported that McFarlane was part of a delegation – which allegedly included Oliver North – that went on a secret mission to Tehran the previous May.
According to the Times:
A retired Central Intelligence Agency official has confirmed to the Senate Intelligence Committee that on the secret mission to Teheran last May, Robert C. McFarlane and his party carried a Bible with a handwritten verse from President Reagan for Iranian leaders.
According to a person who has read the committee’s draft report, the retired C.I.A. official, George W. Cave, an Iran expert who was part of the mission, said the group had 10 falsified passports, believed to be Irish, and a key-shaped cake to symbolize the anticipated “opening” to Iran.
The meeting was said to include a planeload of weapons that was being delivered to the Iranians. The Times wrote:
…the McFarlane mission was to deliver three planeloads of weapons starting with their flight to Iran. In return, all the American hostages were to be freed in Lebanon.
When no hostages were freed, the group’s three days were spent in fruitless argument with low- and middle-level Iranians.
Just one month after that article was published, McFarlane attempted suicide by overdosing on Valium. When explaining what drove him in that direction, McFarlane said he felt that he’d “failed the country.”
Those who say this is old news not worth confronting should consider what sort of activities McFarlane was engaged in more than 20 years later.
In 2009, the Washington Post reported on suspicious dealings between McFarlane and Sudan. In 2013, CNN reported that FBI agents raided McFarlane’s Watergate apartment to investigate those dealings. According to the report, McFarlane is alleged to have contracted with the Muslim Brotherhood-friendly nation of Qatar in an effort to actually represent Sudan:
The FBI said they had found a series of e-mails to McFarlane which agents believed to be from someone in the Sudanese intelligence service. After reviewing 2009 e-mails FBI agent Grayden Ridd said in his court document, “I believe these e-mails are evidence that McFarlane was entering into an agreement with the Government of Sudan to lobby the U.S. government officials on behalf of Sudan and to provide it with advice during negotiations with the United States.”
The agent further said it appeared McFarlane and his Sudanese contact intended to structure the deal so it would appear McFarlane was representing Qatar, a U.S. ally.
One year after that CNN report was filed, McFarlane and then House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) Chairman, Rep. Mike Rogers were both scheduled to attend an event to honor Ground Zero mosque imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, with Rogers slated to deliver the keynote address. Rogers eventually backed out of the event, presumably because of public pressure, but McFarlane was in attendance.
While Rogers was willing to honor Rauf until something changed his mind, it was only two years earlier that he identified Muslim Brotherhood-linked adviser to Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin as an “American patriot”.
The event, put on by a group known as International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD) lists Abubaker Al-Shingieti as a Vice President. Al-Shingieti served as a henchman and top government official to Sudan’s government throughout the 1990’s, both before and after that country became a State Sponsor of Terrorism.
Several months prior to the ICRD event, Al-Shingieti and Rauf met at a Council on Foreign Relations event.
Al-Shingieti has held several prominent roles in the U.S. as well, to include time on the Hartford Seminary’s Board of Trustees and as Executive Director of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a Muslim Brotherhood front group in the U.S. The IIIT was founded in 1981 by a man named Jamal Barzinji, an Arab Muslim who gained access to the White House during the George W. Bush administration; Barzinji spent years as the IIIT’s Vice President. He was also a colleague of Talat Othman, who was featured prominently in part 1 of this series.
Barzinji was also a key figure in the Operation Green Quest (OGQ) dragnet in March of 2002 that resulted in the raids of multiple Islamic organizations in Virginia. According to a 2004 article, Barzinji headed most of the “100 interlocking Muslim organizations” based there.
One such prominent organization was SAAR, the same SAAR not mentioned once in the 9/11 Commission report. According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), SAAR was founded in 1983 – the same year Iran-Contra allegedly commenced – and Barzinji served on the Board.
Two of the men alleged to have been instrumental in helping to get the Treasury Department to back-off the subsequent investigations after the OGQ raids were Talat Othman – who had served on the Board of Harken Energy in the late 1980’s with George W. Bush – and Khaled Saffuri – who was tapped by Karl Rove to lead the Muslim outreach effort for the Bush Presidential campaign.
Barzinji (now deceased) and Al-Shingieti were also very familiar with one another based on their respective roles with the IIIT.
Political Leaders Embrace Muslim Allies Against Soviets
In the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union, American political figures and power brokers embraced Muslims who were part of the Mujahideen’s stealth efforts in the U.S. The quintessential example of this lowered guard is perhaps best exemplified by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) President and Founder Grover Norquist. However, powerful elected officials also fell victim.
Barzinji – who joined Othman and Norquist for a meeting at the White House in April of 2001 – is also credited with starting the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, VA in 1991 – the same year BCCI was shut down. This mosque is perhaps the most notorious in the U.S. It was visited by at least three 9/11 hijackers, Fort Hood jihadist Nidal Malik Hasan and was led by Anwar al-Awlaki. In fact, the Global Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi visited the mosque some time before 1999, when he was banned from the U.S.
The Chairman of the mosque at the time – Bassam Estwani – is seen in the photo below, sitting on the floor as al-Qaradawi was speaking. Estwani was very politically connected to members of Congress in both parties. He even had contact with President Bill Clinton and made multiple visits to the Oval Office.
In February of 2001, newly sworn-in Speaker of the House, Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) permitted Estwani to deliver a Muslim prayer on the floor of the U.S. House. In 2015, it was learned that this was done at a time when Hastert was likely compromised by a homosexual scandal involving a minor. The indictment alleged that Hastert was being blackmailed beginning in 2010.
To be clear, there is no evidence that Estwani’s appearance involved blackmail. There is, however, evidence that the man who signed off on that appearance – Hastert – had already been compromised. Hastert and Estwani had also met one another at least twice by then.
In November of 2014, Hastert’s Republican successor as Speaker – Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) – permitted another Imam with a highly suspicious background to deliver a prayer from the House Floor. This Imam is Hamad Ahmad Chebli. Boehner bowed his head upon introducing Chebli.
On Coming Clean
The facts are that during the 1980’s, the Reagan administration chose to align with – or at least empower – the Mujahideen and the ‘Tehran Eight’ against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Again, the wisdom and/or viability of that strategy is not being questioned.
However, the inability or refusal to deal with the long-term consequences is; those consequences have served to put the U.S. in grave danger in the years since.
Domestically, significant evidence exists that a covert operation to manufacture and ship untraceable weapons to the Nicaraguan Contras was put into place. In so doing, those who carried out that operation went around Congress and operated illegally on U.S. soil.
As this was going on, an extremely corrupt bank – the BCCI – was at the center of international covert operations involving U.S. intelligence assets; the CIA allegedly set up secret BCCI accounts to fund those operations.
Ten years after BCCI was shut down, the 9/11 attacks happened. If ever there was an opportunity for American politicians to come clean, that was the time.
They did not and now it’s far more difficult for them to do so.
This article is the second in a series. HERE IS A LINK TO PART 3.