Tag Archives: Martin Baron

A mere warning

The Washington Post gives us an interesting article today. It is not really about Jamal Khashoggi, even if it is about him. You see, the headline gives us: ‘U.S. spy agencies sued for records on whether they warned Khashoggi of impending threat of harm‘, with that stage the University of Columbia is being set up for a rather weird trip. When we get “The Knight First Amendment Institute on Tuesday sued the U.S. government to learn whether agencies complied with what the institute asserted was a duty to warn journalist Jamal Khashoggi that he faced a threat of harm. Khashoggi, who lived in Northern Virginia, was killed Oct. 2 by a team of Saudi operatives soon after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents for his impending marriage.” They were kind and accurate enough to add the text, oh they actually were not. You see, Journalist or not, Jamal Khashoggi is a Saudi Arabian citizen. In addition, he was not in America at the moment it happened, which might be merely a consideration. The third part of the equation is that the alleged act was done on Saudi soil, making it an internal Saudi matter, so, where do we stand?

Well, the WP gives us the Directive 191 reference, so that is where I will go next. The directive in the definitions do tell us “Duty to Warn means a requirement to warn U.S. and non-U.S. persons of impending threats of intentional killing, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping.” There is one issue that I cannot comment on as F.10 of the directive has been redacted; as such I am not certain if the situation had changed. You see, it is the implementation regarding an optional targeted person that matters now. From my point of view, the onus is now on the Washington Post to show part of F2, where we see: “IC elements shall designate senior officers responsible for reviewing threat information initially determined to meet duty to warn requirements to affirm whether the information is credible and specific, so as to permit a meaningful warning. IC clements shall also designate senior officers responsible for making waiver determinations based on criteria identified in this Directive. The senior officers designated for affirming that duty to warn information is sufficient for a meaningful warning and for making waiver determinations should not be the same individual.” It is the Washington Post that needs to prove at this point that ‘threat information’ was clearly available with the senior intelligence officer(s). Merely the notion that a journalist’s life might optionally have been in danger does not hack it. If so, let Martin Baron be a kind boss and give the world notice on the 214 media people in Turkish prison, please please, pretty please?

And then we get the good stuff, the reason why the University of Columbia has signed on for a see-it-all tour of the ocean floor on the USS Titanic (drinks on the rocks will be served). The wavers are almost passed; there is no setting where we see that Jamal Khashoggi was any of that by the American definition. It is the ‘almost’ that gets us to F3e. Here we see: “The information resulting in the duty to warn determination was acquired from a foreign government with whom the U.S. has formal agreements or liaison relationships, and any attempt to warn the intended victim would unduly endanger the personnel, sources, methods, intelligence operations, or defense operations of that foreign government;” How was the clear and present danger to Jamal Khashoggi acquired? Was it ever acquired? More important, if CIA clandestine services got the intelligence as part of internal Saudi acquisition, we might actually stumble on the waver activated through section F3d.

If we go by the innuendo, a group of a little over a dozen flew in, were ALL those people tracked? If there was a call for execution, how did it come into the hands of the intelligence agency? All elements that cannot be answered, so unless the University of Columbia has a clear inside source, the entire exercise was debunked in 414.2 seconds (roughly). All this is even before F8 is seen. The mention of: “Communication of threat information to the intended victim may be delivered anonymously if that is the only method available to ensure protection of U.S. government personnel, sources, methods, intelligence operations, or defense operations.” implies that anonymous delivery would not have been an option, making matters more compromising for the intelligence individual given this part of canine excrement (a paper shaped one mind you). So not only are we in a stage where anonymous delivery is not an option, there is the clear requirement that the intelligence had been weighted, disseminated for wavers and at that point this point would be acted on. Also, we see 63 million articles on Jamal Khashoggi, yet which ones give us a timeline of his whereabouts from September 1st, to October 2nd? At what stage and exactly when was there a credible threat to his life? I am not saying that this was not the case; I am saying that I do not know and whilst we have millions of articles from all kinds of sources playing parrot on innuendo, yet the entire timeline is not shown, as far as I was able to tell, not even in the Washington Post, the American paper he worked for.

The one part that we do not look at is the purpose in all this. When we consider the purpose where we see: “This Directive establishes in policy a consistent, coordinated approach for how the Intelligence Community (IC) will provide warning regarding threats to specific individuals or groups of intentional killing, serious bodily injury, and kidnapping” we need to wonder if the intelligence agencies have any chance of getting anything done, basically any journalist and opposition of drugs in Latin America is basically in danger at this point. For me, I see the entire University of Columbia action academically sound, yet loaded with political oppositional premise. The action in opposition comes from “The lawsuit states that before Khashoggi’s killing, “U.S. intelligence agencies apparently intercepted communications in which Saudi officials discussed a plan to capture Khashoggi.”” This is indeed part of the directive. Yet the timeline is not clear. The intelligencer section of the New York Magazine (at http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/10/report-the-u-s-heard-saudis-talk-about-capturing-khashoggi.html) gives us: “The Saudis wanted to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and lay hands on him there, this person said. It was not clear whether the Saudis intended to arrest and interrogate Khashoggi or to kill him“. We need to consider two parts, Jamal Khashoggi was on Saudi soil (consulate when the events happened), in addition, there is also still mention that we see the optional ‘the Saudis intended to arrest and interrogate Khashoggi‘, which also implies that danger to life was not a given and Saudi Arabia has every right to arrest its citizens, especially on Saudi ground. We cannot merely state after the fact that it was ‘to kill him‘, there were too many unknown parts and intelligence agencies acting on too many unknown parts tend to drop the ball, foil their own plot and moreover tend to imply more controversies on themselves. Oh, and did I mention that part of it happened in Turkey, a place that has arrested and jailed well over 200 journalists?

It is also reflective as they quote the WP in this. That article gives us again: “Before Khashoggi’s disappearance, U.S. intelligence intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture him“, yet a clear timeline is missing. How much time was there and consider that the intercepted information does not imply killing, more important, when a government takes a person into custody it is not kidnapping, it is called arresting nullifying Directive 191. What is interesting that no one in that entire intelligence structure decided to act by themselves (or directed to do so), walking up to Martin Baron (sometimes doubled by Liev Schreiber) and tell him that there is a credible issue with one of their journalists. As the issue at that part was not national security. That one call and his rapid ‘relocation’ to: İstinye Mahallesi, Poligon Cd. No:75, 34460 Sarıyer/İstanbul, Turkey where quick travel arrangements could be made. Is that absence not interesting too? So when we consider that part, was there any time at all?

I am not saying that this is the case; I am merely framing the questions.

So when we see all that, I am considering that this in the end goes nowhere, yet the activity to open Directive 191 to scrutiny was not wrong, not wrong at all. I reckon that the Law Faculty of the University of Columbia will have handed out, or soon will hand out to their freshman students an essay assignments of 1,500 words asking them: “Argue the situation where Directive 191 could have preventive, or would be ineffective in preventing the alleged killing of Jamal Khashoggi“. I think that Martin Baron should publish the best entry as a column entry in the Washington Post with a supporting by-line by Gillian Lester the Dean of Law of Columbia Law School. Scrutiny is always good, especially when it has the option to become an exercise to educate people. I wonder what the take by Mark M. Lowenthal is, the man behind ‘Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy‘, and is it not interesting that he is (or was) an adjunct professor in that very same University? This part is actually important as the entire setting is precisely the stage that we saw in 2009 (at https://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/09/us/09cia.html), it is a different stage quoted as: ““If Panetta starts trying to feed people to that commission, his tenure at C.I.A. will be over,” said Mark M. Lowenthal, a former senior C.I.A. official and an adjunct professor at Columbia University. “If it happens, C.I.A. people are not going to start plotting against the president, but they are going to withdraw from taking risks, and then the C.I.A. becomes useless to the president,” Mr. Lowenthal said.“, yet the impact of Directive 191 becomes a near identical spotlight and it might end up setting exactly the same premise that Mark warned us for in 2009. My idea that someone gets a whisper to talk to Martin Baron and give him the heads up would have been the zero pain and least effort required solution. It is my idea, yet I am 99.3224% certain (roughly) that there are people more clever than me in the Intelligence branch who would have had that very same idea leaving me with the speculation that there merely might not have been enough time; with tens of thousands intelligence snippets arriving at https://www.cia.gov/cgi-bin/forlang_form.cgi every hour (and many more intelligence snippets from all over the world, as well as from Flat 3b, 3 Hans Crescent, London SW1X 0LS) there is every chance that the message might not have been read in time, or merely that other matters mattered more and in that we should optionally thank the University of Columbia for their optional assistance of upping the CIA budget by a speculative 42.3% (minus $7.49 for my venti cappuccino and a toasted blueberry muffin).

Could I be wrong? Of course I could be, but I added the directive for you to consider yourself and in the end when you put the elements on a row, how likely was the fact that there was a clear plan in place from the beginning? the entire Khashoggi mess, and the nonstop innuendo and lack of evidence given to the media and others, whilst we see a lack of scrutiny and a lack of commitment form the governments in all this gives rise to a lot more issues than the one I showed, making me wonder whether Jamal Khashoggi was important or merely became important after he allegedly died, showing the additional pressures that Iran is trying to push for via Turkey, oh and all those Turkish imprisoned (and optionally alive) journalists, how much media coverage are they still getting at present?

Did I oversimplify the matter for you?

Cool bananas and have a great Thursday!

Directive 191



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The Iranian funds play

Today is all about Iran, the Washington Post and many others are giving the world the information that the previous president misled congress. Yet the Washington Post phrases it as ‘Obama administration misled Congress on possible Iranian access to U.S. financial system‘, they also mention that it is a Republican investigation. There are two issues, right off the bat, even before you read the article, the question becomes, where were the FBI and the CIA in this?

So when we get the first lines with “The Obama administration went out of its way in early 2016 to help Iran recoup previously sanctioned oil revenue stranded in an overseas account after the nuclear deal went into effect and actively misled Congress regarding those efforts, according to the results of a nearly two-year Republican investigation released early Wednesday“, we need to realise that the setting is wrong from the very start.

Before I go there, let’s follow the trail of crumbs that we get offered. next there is “Iran wanted to convert the money into U.S. dollars and then euros, but top U.S. officials had repeatedly promised Congress that Iran would never gain access to America’s financial system“, which is followed by “the Obama administration secretly issued a license to let Iran sidestep U.S. sanctions for the brief moment required to convert the funds through an American bank, an investigation by Senate Republicans released Wednesday showed. The plan failed when two U.S. banks refused to participate” and finally we get: “the revelation is re-igniting the bitter debate over the nuclear deal and whether former President Barack Obama was too eager to grant concessions to Tehran“. The full story (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/obama-era-license-aimed-to-let-iran-convert-money-in-dollars/2018/06/06/60be6d36-6971-11e8-a335-c4503d041eaf_story.html) gives us a lot more, but initially, we get ‘The plan failed‘. So this was seemingly (according to a previous Obama official) about the Iranian money held overseas. The issue seems seen with “No one involved seems certain whether Iran has yet received all of its $5.7 billion“, yet as I see it, that does not seem to be the case. When you think this through, $5.7 billion amounts to 11.2 million barrels based on the average oil price, this amounts to funds equal to 26 hours of oil production in Saudi Arabia, 26 hours! Now we are not debating whether Iran is allowed access to the funds, the fact that we see that this much oil (or so little in Saudi Arabia), whilst in Iranian production it amounts to 4 days of oil production is a Joke. Oil still goes to Asia, so all this fanfare for 4 days of oil production? This is about something else entirely, or it is about a very different amount of money. I let you mull that part over, so when we look at the second article (also Washington Post), we see in the article called ‘Secret Obama-era permit let Iran convert funds to dollars’ where we are ‘treated’ to “Iran had been promised access to its long-frozen overseas reserves, including $5.7 billion stuck in an Omani bank“, which we knew to some extent, yet the full economic value is not given, which is also an issue, you see that stuff makes interest, so at that point who gets that money? Is it locked in the Iranian account, or was it the balancing act to the seesaw that is going up and down on €11 trillion in essential European and American debt guarantees? The second article has pretty much what the first one had, but we also see (slightly more clearly) “And when questioned by lawmakers about the possibility of granting Iran any kind of access to the U.S. financial system, Obama-era officials never volunteered that the specific license for Bank Muscat in Oman had been issued two months earlier. According to the report, Iran is believed to have found other ways to access its money, possibly by exchanging it in smaller quantities through another currency“, this now gives us the part (when going back to the first article: “Lew, according to documents reproduced in the report, had been given Treasury talking points explaining the Omani conundrum, he chose not to mention it in a House hearing in late March“, this reference to former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, where we wonder that if this is about the question, was the question correctly phrased, or perhaps the better setting is, was he breaking any laws not mentioning the ‘Omani Conundrum’?

I cannot state without the full text and even if we agree that there is an issue, we now get back to the very core of the matter. If it involves US Banks and when we reconsider ‘the plan failed when two U.S. banks refused to participate‘, two out of exactly how many banks? That part is also not revealed here. So now we get to the part where it becomes either the US treasury AND the FBI who seemingly did not act here, the Omani Conundrum implies that the CIA turf was trodden on and the communications (in several levels) give us that the NSA ignored it. So what is going on? Did anything actually happen? Because that question is becomes valid when we reconsider ‘the plan failed‘. If that is true, then why is the Washington Post, one of the most revered newspapers in the USA not giving the correct light on this? In addition, the outstanding questions that we get from the mere substance given becomes an issue when we see the words of President Trump “this disastrous deal gave this [Iranian] regime — and it’s a regime of great terror — many billions of dollars, some of it in actual cash — a great embarrassment to me as a citizen and to all citizens of the United States,”. Yet how much money was actually released, through the deal and from 2015 onwards? None of that data is available through the articles. So what exactly is US congress playing with now, because this all looks like a really loud smokescreen, all emotion and no contributable facts on the matter. How many banks were part of it (and their names), which two banks refused (double plus points for them two) and in light of merely one $5.7 billion source we need to see the scope of the money, especially in light of the setting that Iran is even now shipping oil to Asia. Are those not valid questions? In all this, where were the FBI and CIA when this was going down and more importantly why is there no mention of their part in all this, or were they not part of any of it? That is equally an issue, because if there is evidence that they were in different states of activity and actionable requirements regarding Iran during the two presidencies, the people have an equal right to know, do they not? You see, in the larger scope that matters, because the Yemeni issue is covering two presidencies, so if (a very clear if) the CIA was less vigilant during the previous presidency, it might also explain a few things on how missiles are getting shipped from Iran to Yemen, if the manifest states 1013 barrels of oil for humanitarian aid, it might explain a little more than we bargained for. Now the last part was speculative and knowingly incorrect, yet the question remains valid. This was not some article from the enquirer, or the Canton Cherokee Tribune, it is the Washington Post. In many (global) cases that newspaper is seen as gospel right next to the Financial Times, so when two articles give us so many questions in all this, I need to wrap my head around the option that Martin Baron is either on vacation or perhaps down with the flu. The man who inspired Tom McCarthy to make Spotlight should have a better grasp on the entire Iranian fund issue and how it should be made visible in my Hummer opinion.

Because behind all this is not merely the oil, or the Iranian uranium enrichment plans. It in equal measure gives another light that we get from “The draft involved a general license, a blanket go-ahead that allows all transactions of a certain type, rather than a specific license like the one given to Oman’s Bank Muscat, which only covers specific transactions and institutions“, you see, if that is in play and when we remember the G30 bankers group, the one that got some limelight, for ONE DAY. After that all the media dropped the issues when the people were given the sight of Mario Draghi being a member of this insiders only club, a club that he had to give up and no one (except for me that is) followed up on that. All the media left it alone. So when we see that part from April 18th 2018, where Reuters and the Financial Times give us that he would remain a member, the ECB and others never acted on it and silently wait it to go away, now we see the Omani Conundrum issue and I have to wonder, as bankers will do trade with anyone, what licenses are out there that no one knows about, more important, whoever the owner of the funds are that they get to play with ahead of all other banks, with close to €3 trillion in extra printed money for the game of bonds, in all this, what else are we not seeing and as this optionally directly reflects on Iran’s and all the billions we are left unaware of, how is it that the Washington Post seems to not care (or rather stated, believingly unimportant issues that are therefor not investigated) are out there with two pages set to issues in a setting of ‘the plan failed‘ and ‘at the end of the day, nothing worked‘. Which makes me wonder if any transgression was committed and what it was all about. Time will tell whether we see more revelations tomorrow and more important if it leads to anything actionable, because that will be come the heart of the matter soon enough.


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