Coming to the end of the Obama administration, with the wreckage of its foreign policy all around us, the naïve conservatives running the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal are begging President Obama to offer “A New American Deal for Europe.”
“It’s time for the U.S. to get back in the game because America needs a confident, prosperous Europe as a partner to defend the West against the rise of authoritarian regimes and global disorder,” the editorial writers say. In the case of Obama, however, this is like waiting for the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny.
Europe is already dominated by the Germany of Angela Merkel, an agent, or at least a stooge, of Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Her welcome mat to Syrian refugees has been disastrous for her own country, an unsurprising development considering the fact that Air Force General Philip M. Breedlove had described the exodus of refugees from the Middle East as a form of “weaponization” used by Russia and its ally Syria to destabilize Europe. Breedlove served as the Commander of U.S. European Command.
But rather than confront Russia, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier hasaccused NATO of “warmongering” because the alliance is conducting military exercises in order to repel a full-blown Russian invasion of Europe. This is a sure sign of the German government’s desire to accommodate Russian interests in Europe.
Incredibly, Bloomberg reports that Obama is now proposing to use the Brexit as an excuse to replace Britain with Germany as America’s key ally in Europe.
Britain’s decision to leave the EU was a patriotic but dangerous move, not only because Obama is the U.S. President and he opposed Brexit, but because of the global forces now arrayed against it. Billionaire hedge fund operator George Soros, who argued for Britain to “remain” in the EU, now warns, “…the UK itself may not survive. Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, can be expected to make another attempt to gain its independence, and some officials in Northern Ireland, where voters also backed Remain, have already called for unification with the Republic of Ireland.”
A major Democratic moneybags who backs such figures as current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Soros is capable of destabilizing entire countries. In 1992 he engaged in a complex financial transaction that resulted in the Bank of England losing billions of dollars defending the British pound sterling, before having to devalue it.
This time around, his spokesman denies that Soros speculated against the pound, but admits that “because of his generally bearish outlook on world markets, Mr. Soros did profit from other investments.”
Trying to get Merkel off the hook for what has happened to Germany, Soros wrote that while her decision in welcoming the refugees “was an inspiring gesture,” it was “not properly thought out” because the “sudden influx of asylum-seekers disrupted people in their everyday lives across the EU.”
It’s hard to believe this was “not properly thought out,” and that Merkel didn’t know what she was doing. In any case, Soros says “the disintegration of the EU” is now “practically irreversible.” He stands ready to pick up the pieces, making tons of money, and then funneling a major portion of it into liberal coffers. Over the last 32 years,according to their own estimate, the Soros-funded Open Society Foundations had expenditures of more than $13 billion.
From their perspective, the British people were desperate to save what’s left of their nation, whose capital, London, recently elected a Muslim Mayor, Sadiq Khan, who has connections to radical Islam.
For his part, Obama said openly that he wanted the British to stay in the EU. Otherwise, he said they would end up at the back of the line for trade deals.
Nigel Farage, leader of the U.K. Independence Party, quite rightly blasted Obama for those remarks. But he said at the same time that Putin had behaved in a more “statesmanlike” manner. Putin had just returned from a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and spoke of their growing strategic alliance against the West, consisting of expanding political, economic, and military operations.
Obama’s terrible treatment of an ally is not surprising. Obama views Britain as a white colonial power that oppressed his brothers and sisters of color, and Muslims around the world.
In 2012, it was reported that Obama had removed the bust of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who rallied the British people during WWII, from the Oval Office, and sent it back to the British Embassy. The White House scrambled to correct that, saying the bust had just been moved somewhere else in the White House complex.
Where does this hatred come from? All roads lead to Obama’s mentor, the Communist Frank Marshall Davis, the man the media haven’t wanted to talk about for seven years now.
Professor Paul Kengor, author of a book about Davis, notes that he “harbored a special hatred for Winston Churchill, who, like [Democratic President Harry S.] Truman, opposed Stalin’s Soviet Union—the country to which Davis dedicated his heart, his mind, his soul, and his pen.” Davis, a propagandist for the Communist Party in Hawaii, had written that “the only people Churchill gives a rap about are the white people of the British Empire,” and that Churchill wanted America to join him in bludgeoning “all other countries into submission.” He complained that Churchill favored a postwar U.S.-UK alliance that excluded the USSR.
Despite Obama’s anti-British mentality, the Journal’s recent editorial said, “An important first signal would be for the U.S. to invite the U.K. to begin bilateral free-trade talks that run alongside current talks with the EU.”
But the Journal editorial writers have to know that Obama has no intention of pursuing that idea. However, Art Harman, who was legislative director for former Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), has proposed a bill to do just that. Harman tells AIM that “just introducing such a bill or resolution would send our great ally the message that they can vote according to their best interests without fear that the U.S. would cost them trade if they vote the ‘wrong’ way, and to reassure markets that Obama’s threat will not stand.”
Harman suggests that the bill should be called “The Winston Churchill Trade Continuation Act.”
Looks like Vlad got caught big time with his mitts in the cookie jar. In the largest financial data leak in history, we are getting to see just how corrupt Vladimir Putin and his inner circle of cronies are. It’s revealing to say the least. It’s a dirty dozen of world leaders who are using offshore tax havens to hidey hole their wealth. But as in all things secret, the light of day is shining into the buried coffers of power brokers. Good times.
And Putin is far from alone… a cadre of celebrities, sports stars, British politicians and the uber wealthy of the planet are all mired in this scandal. Welcome to the Panama Papers. This is a collection of 11 million files or so that contain data to kill for. It makes Edward Snowden look like a rank amateur by comparison. But this wasn’t a hack… it was a mass collection of documents and data.
The leak is originating from one of the world’s most secretive entities… the Panamanian law firm of Mossack Fonseca. In the dirt dug up, the firm is exposed for helping clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade taxation. Among their clientele are megastars Jackie Chan and Lionel Messi who have invested their millions offshore. Chan is a big fan of communist China. The whole story is like a movie come to life… it’s also revealed that 26 million pounds that was stolen during the Brink’s Mat robbery in 1983 was possibly funneled into an offshore company set up by this firm.
Germans are fed up and want Angela Merkel gone. Especially after the New Year’s Eve festivities where Muslim men assaulted and raped a whole bunch of women in Cologne. With signs declaring, ‘RAPEFUGEES NOT WELCOME’, protesters marched and called for the invaders to leave their country. Regardless of what the media says, they are not racists. You can’t be racist against a religion or a theocratic/political construct. These refugees are being brought into Germany by the millions and they bring rape, theft and Shariah law with them. German women fear venturing out of their homes now and politicians tell them to get used to it and to be more modest instead of going after the rapists. These people are scared and angry and you can hardly blame them.
This is the Hijrah migration and it is facilitated by the very people they elected and trusted as their leaders. Merkel opened the borders of Germany and let a conquering force invade her country. They have kicked people out of their homes and have given German jobs to those crossing their borders. Shariah law is being imposed in certain sectors and Islamists roam the streets as predators looking for women to accost. They are violent and aggressive and the Germans are not just going to roll over and let these monsters rule them. Merkel is a clear and present danger to Germany and must be removed from office. Her upbringing is showing. “We are the people,” chanted the crowd as they began marching away from the train station. “Those who don’t love this country should disappear,” they shouted. Some also heckled a line of police officers standing guard, saying “where, where, where were you on New Year’s Eve?” Good question. My guess is they were ordered to stand down by the mayor and by Merkel. 150 cops showed up to stop the rapes and thefts in Cologne – they said that was all they could spare. That was a joke; it was nowhere near enough to stop 1,000 Muslims from rampaging. But when Pegida protested the Islamization of Germany and Europe, they rallied 1,700 officers. What does that look like to you?
Thousands have pledged their support to a German vigilante group which has vowed to protect women from migrants in the wake of the New Year’s Eve attacks in Cologne. A week after a mob of ‘drunk and stoned’ migrants sexually assaulted and robbed 100 women on the streets of Cologne, a group known as ‘Dusseldorf is Watching’ has gained more than 8,000 Facebook members. The group says it wants to make the streets safer through their ‘presence’ alone, but police have warned that ‘searching for offenders is not a job for citizens’. Evidently it isn’t a job for the police there either.
Approximately 1,700 protesters were met with the use of water cannons and tear gas by police as they protested the refugee invasion. Cologne police said they received a total of 379 complaints about New Year’s Eve in Cologne, with about 40% being investigated as sex crimes. Other European cities reported similar rashes of sex crime reports. Other German cities experienced similar attacks the same night, including the northern city of Hamburg, where more than 50 incidents were reported.
From WND, here is the list of countries that have reported a spike in sexual attacks since taking in migrants:
Austria: Police allegedly tried to cover up evidence of sex attacks in Vienna, Breitbart London reported Friday.
Finland: Police told Agence-France Presse there was “widespread sexual harassment” at a New Year’s Eve event where 1,000 asylum seekers congregated.
France: Two Afghan migrants were arrested in connection with an attempted rape on a passenger train in Paris, Le Parisien reported Thursday.
Germany: A police officer in Cologne told Express.de on Thursday that 14 suspects in custody came from Syria; one came from Afghanistan.
Sweden: At least nine women were groped by gangs of migrants in Kalmar.
Switzerland: Six women said they were sexually harassed at a New Year’s Eve event in Zurich, SWI reported Thursday. The attacks were described by the website as “Cologne-style.”
Tommy Robinson on Cologne (New Year’s Eve Attacks)
Police in Kalmar, Sweden, said Friday they had arrested two men described as refugees who only spoke Arabic or Kurdish. The men, who have since been released on bail, are suspected in two of the 11 sexual harassment complaints received in the town on New Year’s Eve, according to police spokesman Johan Bruun.
Police are looking for 10 to 15 additional suspects who allegedly encircled a group of women in Kalmar and groped them, Bruun told CNN.
In all, 16 females between 17 and 21 said they were molested, he said.
In Salzburg, an Austrian city on the German border, two men have been charged with sexually assaulting women on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, police said in a statement.
A 23-year-old Syrian citizen was arrested in the city’s Old Town section on New Year’s Eve after sending fireworks in the direction of a 17-year-old student, police said. She was slightly injured in her abdomen. Further investigation revealed he allegedly had sexually abused a 20-year-old from Bayern in the inner city before the fireworks incident, police said.
A 28-year-old Afghan allegedly sexually abused a 58-year-old woman in the early hours of January 1, police said.
Another woman reported she was sexually harassed on New Year’s Eve by two men who also stole her phone, police said. A 24-year-old Afghan man was arrested and accused of molesting a 26-year-old January 6 at a downtown Salzburg pub, police said.
In Zurich, Switzerland, six women told authorities they were “robbed from one side, [while] being groped … on the other side” by groups of men described as having dark skin, according to a Zurich police statement released Friday.
And in Helsinki, Finland, police said they are investigating two possible criminal offenses related to New Year’s Eve harassment centered around “a gathering of asylum-seekers.”
There is a new leaked police report out that says the attackers in the Cologne sex attacks claimed to be Syrian refugees. The report states that senior police officers feared fatalities and that one of those involved in the attacks told officers: “I am Syrian. You have to treat me kindly. Mrs. Merkel invited me.”
The violent attacks were also much more serious than previously reported. Police actually feared that people would die during the onslaught on New Year’s Eve. If you can believe it, German ministers have said that there is absolutely no evidence that asylum seekers are involved in the violence. What? It just spontaneously occurred? German men suddenly decided to rape their women? I don’t think so.
One of the refugees tore up his residence permit before the eyes of police and told them: “You can’t do anything to me, I can get a new one tomorrow.” A local newspaper reported that fifteen asylum-seekers from Syria and Afghanistan were briefly held by police on New Year’s Eve in connection with the sex attacks, but then they were released. The Express newspaper quoted an unnamed police officer who said his squad had detained several people who had “only been in Germany for a few weeks.” “Of these people, 14 were from Syria and one was from Afghanistan. That’s the truth. Although it hurts,” he said. The newspaper quoted a second police officer as confirming the 15 who were held had “residence permits for the asylum procedure.” Officers took down their names, and they are in the police records, he said.
Two of the men were found carrying threatening, handwritten notes in German and Arabic. The messages, which they are thought to have handed to women, included the phrases, ‘I am going to kill you’, ‘I want to f***’, ‘I’m only joking with you’ and ‘nice breasts’. Suspects included Algerians, eight Moroccans, five Iranians, four Syrians, two Germans and one person each from Iraq, Serbia and the United States.
It certainly looks like the police and Merkel are covering the assaults up and trying to quiet those stepping forward. Police claim they were overwhelmed that night and had to release those detained. Bull crap. They were ordered to let them go. Police say they have identified 16 suspects from video recordings of the incidents. It is not known if the group includes any who were detained on New Year’s Eve. Only 16? There were a whole hell of a lot more than that rampaging.
The Germans are incensed over this:
Germany registered nearly 1.1 million asylum-seekers last year. Last week, Germany’s justice minister warned that asylum-seekers could be deported if they are found to have taken part in the Cologne sexual assaults. I’ll believe it when I see it. The author of the leaked police report is rumored to be a commander of some 100 officers sent as reinforcements to the area outside Cologne’s main station on New Year’s Eve.
“When we arrived, our vehicles were pelted with firecrackers,” the report said. “In the forecourt and on the cathedral steps were a thousand people, mostly males of an immigrant background who were indiscriminately throwing fireworks and bottles into the crowd.” The arrival of the police did not slow down the violence at all. “Around 10:45 pm, the station forecourt filled with people of an immigrant background. Women literally had to run the gauntlet through the mass of drunk men, in a way you can’t describe,” the report said. “We came to the conclusion that the situation threatened chaos or serious injury, if it didn’t lead to fatalities.”
The police moved in and decided to clear the area. They were met with violent resistance as they were “repeatedly bombarded with fireworks and pelted with bottles.” The report describes members of the crowd as having consumed a “massive” quantity of alcohol and other intoxicating substances such as marijuana. The police got the area cleared out by 12:15 am, but the revelers were nowhere near done yet. They simply moved the festivities to the back streets. “Many women came to officers shocked and crying and reported sex assaults. Police forces were unable to respond to all the events, assaults and offences. There were just too many at the same time.” They were outnumbered and overwhelmed. Welcome to the party, pal. The police could not get to the victims as they were being molested. The Islamic thugs laughed at the police because they knew they wouldn’t do a thing to stop them.
More than 150 women have filed criminal complaints, three-quarters of them for sexual assault. Two cases of rape have been reported. And you can bet there were many, many more than that. Police say seven suspects have been identified so far. Two are currently being held after being arrested for harassing women on Sunday night, two days after the main incident. Two others were briefly detained and questioned on New Year’s Eve on suspicion of theft, but were later released. None of their names are being released.
Cologne wasn’t the only place this went on either. Three Syrians have been arrested in southern Germany on suspicion of the gang rape of two teenage girls on New Year’s Eve. The suspects have been in custody for several days, but news of the arrests was kept secret to protect the privacy of the victims because they are minors, prosecutors claimed. Right. I’m sure that’s all it was… they are so concerned for the minors here. A 21 year-old man and two 14 year-old boys are being held in the town of Weil am Rhein, near the French and Swiss borders. They are suspected of raping two girls, also aged 14 and 15, who spent New Year’s Eve with them at the home of the 21 year-old in the nearby village of Friedlingen. The fourth suspect is his 15 year-old brother. They viciously raped the two girls and held them for several hours. Police say the suspects are not asylum seekers and they believe the incident is not connected to the sex attacks in Cologne and other German cities. The 21 year-old suspect and his brother are German residents. The other suspects live in Switzerland and the Netherlands. And they are Muslim.
More and more refugees are still flowing into Germany every day. “We had an average influx of 3,200 refugees per day arriving in Germany, and the numbers are not declining in the last days,” Ole Schroeder, the deputy German minister, told a briefing in Brussels. “Our problem at the moment in Europe is that we do not have a functioning border control system, especially at the Greece-Turkey border,” he added. Where things go from here is an open question, but it appears many Germans are at their breaking point. Next on the hit parade in these countries are waves of terrorist attacks and they are coming to the US as well.
“This is a preview as to what’s coming into our own nation in the United States, once we start bringing and importing these refugees,” said Brigitte Gabriel. And she is right. If Obama keeps bringing in refugees the way he has started to do, this will occur here. The difference is, at least for now, we are armed. As Phyllis Schlafly said, Germany is no longer German. And if Obama gets his way, America will no longer be American. After the rape spree in Germany, Merkel and her government targeted ‘hate speech‘, not the Muslim rapists. That’s exactly what Obama will do as well. If America does not want to be subjected to Rapefugees and sexual Jihad, then we had better elect a leader that will put a halt to the refugee resettlement program and close our borders. I’m just not sure we can wait that long as Obama is bringing in as many Islamic refugees as he can while he’s still in power. The Hijrah migration is here.
Men in orange jumpsuits purported to be Egyptian Christians held captive by the Islamic State
Author and speaker Trevor Loudon believes that non-voting American Christians have contributed to the vastly under-reported persecution of Christians worldwide.
In an article written by Faye Higbee and published at “Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children,” Loudon pointed out that rampant worldwide Christian persecution could have been averted if America had not twice elected an anti-American president.
Trevor was quoted as saying:
There is a huge section of America that has the power to stop this – the Evangelical Christians.
Before WWII, the church, the moral authority of the nation of Germany, decided that if they left Adolf Hitler alone he would leave them alone. The result was the slaughter of 6 million Jews and hundreds of thousands of Christians and Allied lives. They could have stopped the Holocaust, but did nothing.
Today, ISIS and other jihadists have massacred thousands upon thousands of Christians across the Middle East. The blood of those people is on the hands of the church – those who refused to vote to stop Barack Obama from getting into office.
This is a horrific idea. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for hunting down and dispatching terrorists and bad guys on our turf. But internment camps? Let’s just stop for a minute and wonder why Wesley Clark has done an about face so suddenly. Anything they can use in the name of national defense like internment camps can also be used against everyday Americans at their discretion. The internment camps in WWII were shameful and wrong. The same would be true here. If you have to deport people or prosecute them, that is one thing. But to round up everyone you deem ‘radicalized’ is quite another. What does that even mean to Clark? Color me highly suspicious of this and shocked that it is being floated out there.
Retired general and former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark on Friday called for World War II-style internment camps to be revived for “disloyal Americans.” In an interview with MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts in the wake of the mass shooting in Chatanooga, Tennessee, Clark said that during World War II, “if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put him in a camp, they were prisoners of war.”
He called for a revival of internment camps to help combat Muslim extremism, saying, “If these people are radicalized and they don’t support the United States and they are disloyal to the United States as a matter of principle, fine. It’s their right and it’s our right and obligation to segregate them from the normal community for the duration of the conflict.”
The comments were shockingly out of character for Clark, who after serving as supreme allied commander of NATO made a name for himself in progressive political circles. In 2004, his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination was highly critical of the Bush administration’s excessive response to the 9/11 terror attacks. Since then, he has been a critic of policies that violate the Geneva Convention, saying in 2006 that policies such as torture violate “the very values that [we] espouse.”
In a memoir written the following year, he also famously alleged that the White House under Bush had developed a massively imperialistic plan for the Middle East, which would see the administration attempt to “take out seven countries in five years,” beginning with the invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Earlier this year I spoke with Clark at the annual Lewis and Clark University Symposium on International Affairs in Portland, Oregon. The subject of our discussion was how to deal with the potential threat of foreign fighters returning from armed conflicts abroad. At the time, Clark spoke out strongly against “the politics of fear” and eroding democratic institutions and norms, while reiterating his criticism of the excesses committed by Bush-era neoconservatives under the banner of fighting terrorism.
But on Friday, he was advocating the revival of a policy widely considered to be among the most shameful chapters in American history: World War II domestic internment camps. Aside from the inherent problems in criminalizing people for their beliefs, Clark’s proposal (which his MSNBC interlocutor did not challenge him on) also appears to be based on the concept of targeting people for government scrutiny who are not even “radicalized,” but who the government decides may be subject to radicalization in the future. That radicalization itself is a highly amorphous and politically malleable concept only makes this proposal more troubling.
“We have got to identify the people who are most likely to be radicalized. We’ve got to cut this off at the beginning,” Clark said. “I do think on a national policy level we need to look at what self-radicalization means because we are at war with this group of terrorists.” And he added that “not only the United States but our allied nations like Britain, Germany and France are going to have to look at their domestic law procedures.”
Despite an outcry about his comments on social media, Clark has not responded publicly. As of Monday morning, his latest tweet was from Friday, encouraging his followers to watch his interview.
Wesley Clark is a political hack. His suggestion here should chill every American right to the bone. He’s not just suggesting it for America either… he’s suggesting it be done globally. Listen to the video closely. He’s suggesting people who are likely to be radicalized should be imprisoned. This is unconstitutional and barbaric. He’s suggesting here that we suspend the Constitution (even more than they already have) and build and populate gulags. I can’t believe what I’m hearing and seeing. Things are hurtling out of control in America. Americans better stand up and stop this or we are going to see a fascist tyranny take hold here and fast. Internment camps? What scares me the most is that people on both sides of the political sphere are cheering this on. Unfreaking believable.
There are 4 Americans in prison in Iran for which there have been countless calls and efforts for their release. Major Garrett of CBS asked Barack Obama during a press conference if he was content with leaving those Americans behind to which Obama responded by shaming Garrett for even asking the question.
It should also be noted that the Palestinian Authority demanded that thousands of terrorists in prison in Israel be released for a scheduled round of peace talks between Israel and the PA. Barack Obama forced Israel to comply for face financial extortion. Israel complied where later many of those terrorists were re-arrested in Qatar. The betrayal continues. The secrets were effective.
Mojtaba Atarodi, arrested in California for attempting to acquire equipment for Iran’s military-nuclear programs, was released in April as part of back channel talks, Times of Israel told. The contacts, mediated in Oman for years by close colleague of the Sultan, have seen a series of US-Iran prisoner releases, and there may be more to come
The secret back channel of negotiations between Iran and the United States, which led to this month’s interim deal in Geneva on Iran’s rogue nuclear program, has also seen a series of prisoner releases by both sides, which have played a central role in bridging the distance between the two nations, the Times of Israel has been told.
In the most dramatic of those releases, the US in April released a top Iranian scientist, Mojtaba Atarodi, who had been arrested in 2011 for attempting to acquire equipment that could be used for Iran’s military-nuclear programs.
American and Iranian officials have been meeting secretly in Oman on and off for years, according to a respected Israeli intelligence analyst, Ronen Solomon. And in the past three years as a consequence of those talks, Iran released three American prisoners, all via Oman, and the US responded in kind. Then, most critically, in April, when the back channel was reactivated in advance of the Geneva P5+1 meetings, the US released a fourth Iranian prisoner, high-ranking Iranian scientist Atarodi, who was arrested in California on charges that remain sealed but relate to his attempt to acquire what are known as dual-use technologies, or equipment that could be used for Iran’s military-nuclear programs. Iran has not reciprocated for that latest release.
Solomon, an independent intelligence analyst (who in 2009 revealed the crucial role played by German Federal Intelligence Service officer Gerhard Conrad in the negotiations that led to the 2011 Gilad Shalit Israel-Hamas prisoner deal), has been following the US-Iran meetings in Oman for years. Detailing what he termed the “unwritten prisoner exchange deals” agreed over the years in Oman by the US and Iran, Solomon told The Times of Israel that “It’s clear what the Iranians got” with the release of top scientist Atarodi in April. “What’s unclear is what the US got.”
The history of these deals, though, he said, would suggest that in the coming months Iran will release at least one of three US citizens who are currently believed to be in Iranian custody. One of these three is former FBI agent Robert Levinson.
Solomon told The Times of Israel that the interlocutor in the Oman talks is a man named Salem Ben Nasser al Ismaily, who is the executive president of the Omani Center for Investment Promotion and Export Development and a close confidant of the Omani leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
The latter tells the fictional tale of John Wilkinson, a successful American businessman who fails in all of his business endeavors in the Gulf until he meets Sultan, who explains to him, according to the book’s promotional literature, how to forgo his hard-charging Western style and “surrender to very different values rooted in ancient tribal customs and traditions.” Those mores have been central to the murky prisoner swaps surrounding the nuclear negotiations, Solomon said.
Solomon said he identified Ismaily’s role back in September 2010, when Sarah Shourd, an American who apparently inadvertently crossed into Iran while hiking near the Iraqi border, was released, for what were called humanitarian reasons. She was delivered into Ismaily’s hands in Oman and from there was flown to the US — the first release in the series of deals brokered in Oman. One year later, in September 2011, her fiancé and fellow hiker, Shane Bauer, was set free along with their friend, Josh Fattal. The two men were also received at Muscat’s Seeb military airport by Ismaily before being flown back to the US.
The US began reciprocating in August 2012, Solomon said. It freed Shahrzad Mir Gholikhan, an Iranian convicted on three counts of weapons trafficking. Next Nosratollah Tajik, a former Iranian ambassador to Jordan — who, like Gholikhan, had been initially apprehended abroad trying to buy night-vision goggles from US agents — was freed after the US opted not to follow up an extradition request it had submitted to the British. Then, in January 2013, Amir Hossein Seirafi was released, also via Oman, having been arrested in Frankfurt and convicted in the US of trying to buy specialized vacuum pumps that could be used in the Iranian nuclear program.
Finally, in April, came the release of Mojtaba Atarodi.
The facts of his case are still shrouded. On December 7, 2011, Atarodi, a faculty member at the prestigious Sharif University of Technology (SUT) in Tehran — a US-educated electrical engineer with a heart condition, a green card and a brother living in the US — arrived at LAX and was arrested by US federal officials.
He appeared twice in US federal court in San Francisco and was incarcerated at a federal facility in Dublin, California and then kept under house arrest. The US government cloaked the contents of his indictment and released no statement upon his release. His lawyer, Matthew David Kohn, told The Times of Israel he would like to discuss the case further but that first he had to “make some inquiries” to see what he was allowed to reveal.
In January, shortly after Atarodi’s arrest, his colleagues wrote a letter to the journal Nature, protesting his detention. “We believe holding a distinguished 55-year-old professor in custody is a historical mistake and not commensurate with the image that America strives to extend throughout the world as a bastion of free scientific exchange among schools and academic institutions,” they said.
Solomon, who compiled a profile of Atarodi, believes that the scientist, prior to his arrest, played an important role in Iran’s missile and nuclear programs. Atarodi, he said, has co-authored more than 30 technical articles, mostly related to micro-electric engineering and, in 2011, won the Khwarizmi award for the design of a microchip receiver for digital photos. “That same technology,” he said, “can be used for missile guidance and the analysis of nuclear tests.”
Solomon further noted that the then-Iranian defense minister and former commander of the revolutionary guards, Ahmad Vahidi, attended the prize ceremony and that Professor Massoud Ali-Mahmoudi, an Iranian physics professor who was assassinated in 2010, was an earlier recipient of the prize.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Atarodi came to the US at the behest of the logistics wing of the IRGC [the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps],” Solomon said.
On April 26 Atarodi was flown from the US to Seeb military airbase in Oman, where he met with Ismaily, and onward to Iran. “The release of someone who holds that sort of information and has advanced strategic projects in Iran is a prize,” Solomon said. The US, said Solomon, must have already received something in return or will do so in the future.
Thus far, US-Iran prisoner swaps have been conducted in a manner utterly distinct from the old Cold War rituals, in which, as was the case with Prisoner of Zion Natan Sharansky, spies or prisoners from either side of the Iron Curtain walked across Berlin’s old Glienicke Bridge toward their respective home countries. Instead, with Iran claiming it knows nothing about the whereabouts of former FBI agent Levinson, for instance, and the US eager to show that it will not barter with hostage-takers, the deals have taken the form of a delayed quid pro quo.
There are currently three US nationals — Levinson, Saeed Abedini, and Amir Hekmati — still believed to be held in Iran.
US President Barak Obama raised the issue of the imprisoned Americans in his historic September phone call to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, Tony Blinken, told CNN that aside from the nuclear program it was the only other issue that was brought up in the call.
The interim deal in Geneva did not include any reference to prisoner dealings. Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, told CNN, “you’ve got to decide how much you’re going to try to accomplish, and just tackling all the dimensions of the nuclear agreement is ambition enough.” A spokeswoman for the National Security Council added that the “talks focused exclusively on nuclear issues.”
The omission prompted the chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, Jay Sekulow, who is representing Pastor Saeed Abedini’s wife Naghmeh, to charge Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry with turning their backs on an American citizen. On the center’s website, he called the decision “outrageous and a betrayal” and said it sends the message that “Americans are expendable.”
Abedini, who was born in Iran and later converted to Christianity, was arrested earlier this year in Iran for what would seem was strictly Christian charity work and sentenced to eight years in prison. He was recently transferred from Evin Prison, a notorious jail for political prisoners in Tehran, Sukelow wrote in a letter to Kerry, “to the even more notorious and brutal Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj.”
Amir Hekmati, a 31-year-old former Marine from Flint, Michigan, who allegedly obtained permission to visit his grandmother in Iran in 2011, was charged with espionage and sentenced to death in 2012. In September, Hekmati managed to smuggle a letter out of prison. Published in the Guardian, it contended that his filmed admission of guilt had been coerced and that his arrest “is part of a propaganda and hostage-taking effort by Iranian intelligence to secure the release of Iranians abroad being held on security-related charges.”
Levinson, a 65-year-old veteran of the FBI, was last seen on March 9, 2007, on Kish Island, Iran. According to Solomon, Levinson was stationed in Dubai at the time as part of a US task force comprised of former officers operating in the United Arab Emirates, training officials there to combat weapons trafficking, and was tempted to come to Kish for a meeting.
The last person he is known to have had contact with, and with whom he shared a room the night before his abduction, according to a Reuters article from 2007, is Dawud Salahuddin, an American convert to Islam, who is wanted in the US for murder. According to a New Yorker profile of the Long Island-born Salahuddin, he showed up at the home of Ali Akbar Tabatabai’s Bethseda, Maryland door in July 1980, dressed as a mailman, and shot Tabatabai, a Shah supporter, three times in the abdomen, killing him. From there he fled to Canada and on to Switzerland and Iran.
Salahuddin has indicated that Levinson had come to Kish to meet with him.
In September, Rouhani denied any knowledge of Levinson’s whereabouts. In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, he said that, “We don’t know where he is, who he is. He is an American who has disappeared. We have no news of him.”
This is highly doubtful. In 2010 and 2011 Levinson’s family received a video and photographs respectively of him in captivity. In January of this year the AP reported that “despite years of denials,” many US security officials now believe that “Iran’s intelligence service was almost certainly behind the 54-second video and five photographs of Levinson that were emailed anonymously to his family.” The photos and the videos traced back to different addresses in Afghanistan and Pakistan, suggesting, perhaps, that Levinson, the longest-held hostage in US history, was imprisoned in Balochistan, a desert region spanning the borders of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, Levinson’s son Dan wrote a column in the Washington Post calling Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif “well-respected men committed to the goodwill of all human beings, regardless of their nationality.”
Several hours later, White House Spokesman Jay Carney published a statement saying that the US government welcomes the assistance “of our international partners” in attempting to bring Levinson home and, he added, “we respectfully ask the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to assist us in securing Mr. Levinson’s health, welfare, and safe return.”
As was the case with the Geneva negotiations, and as is likely happening with the upcoming round of talks regarding Syria, there is good reason to believe, and in this case to hope, that the movements played out under the spotlights of the international stage have been choreographed well in advance, perhaps in the sea-side city of Muscat, under the careful tutelage of Salem Ben Nasser al Ismaily.