Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Tribe of Obama, Part 1.

Who exactly is Barack Obama and who are his friends? Considering how little of a record he has in Congress, it is time to examine what friends and associates make up the Tribe of Obama. While Hannity tells people they are Great Americans and rants about Reverand Wright every night on Fox News, he and actual journalists are completely missing other questions that need to be asked of Mr. Obama.

The Dandy of the Tribe
Ever heard of Nahmdi Auchi? Mr. Auchi was the financier for long-time Barak Obama friend and fund-raiser Tony Rezko. Mr. Auchi is the cousin of Saddam Hussein and his co-conspirator in the 1959 failed assassination attempt of the Iraqi Prime Minister. Although he eventually left Iraq in 1981 and became a British citizen, Auchi prospered mightily under Saddam, becoming a billionaire and pillar of British society (He ranks 279 on the Forbes list of the richest people and an AP story referred to him as "dapper, sophisticated".) He was convicted of committing fraud in France in 2004 (only had to pay a fine) and has been barred from entering the United States since 2005. A small price to pay for his profitable family ties.

UPI reported in 2004 "Saddam Hussein began constructing his offshore operation in 1968 in Switzerland, aware that the country’s bank secrecy made it a prime place to organize the movement of illicit funds and the purchase of arms. That year, 11 years before his coup, Saddam sent his half-brother Barzan Ibrahim Hasan Al-Tikriti to Geneva to construct the network to launder secret commissions charged on sales of Iraqi crude oil...
The system would also be used for kickbacks on purchase from Western arms dealers. Liechtenstein, which Swiss bankers and money-managers often use to handle dubious clients, was used to ensure even more impenetrable secrecy: real names of company and account owners would be hidden from law enforcers. (Kingfish note: It should be noted that Auchi set up his company in Europe one year before he left Iraq.)
The key Iraqis in the operation were Said Rahim Hussein Al-Mahdi (shown here) and Nadhmi Auchi....."
The offshore networks directed by the two men were crucial intermediaries for such weapons merchants...... ,which used them to pay kickbacks and, after international embargoes were established, to hide illegal sales...."

This was just a start for Mr. Auchi. Mr. Auchi made $40 million dollars in kickbacks for the construction of a Iraq-Saudi Arabian pipeline. He used a Panamanian front company to launder another $23 million in kickbacks for military contracts between Italian companies and the Iraqi military (He used a Panamanian company to funnel money to Tony Rezko.). In fact, Kroll was commissioned to locate and report on Iraqi assets. UPI reports "The Kroll report also dealt with Nadhmi Auchi, reporting the Italian intelligence view that he was a “high-level Iraqi defense procurement and intelligence agent.” Auchi eventually became the largest shareholder in the bank solely used by Iraq in the corrupt oil-for-food program. The New York Times reported
"One of the largest private shareholders in BNP Paribas, the French bank that holds more than $13 billion in Iraqi oil funds administered through the United Nation's oil-for-food program, is an Iraqi-born businessman who once helped to arm Iraq in the 1980's and brokered business deals with Saddam Hussein's government, according to public records and interviews....
Although the United Nations pressed Iraq to allow banks other than BNP Paribas to be the primary repository for billions of dollars in oil revenue, Iraq successfully insisted that BNP Paribas remain the sole caretaker of the program's escrow account. ..."

Mr. Auchi's activities didn't stop here unfortunately. As The Washington Times highly respected national security reporter Bill Gertz wrote earlier this year:
A 2004 Pentagon report obtained by The Washington Times identified Auchi as a global arms dealer and Iraqi billionaire "who, behind the facade of legitimate business, served as Saddam Hussein's principle international financial manipulator and bag man."The report to the Pentagon inspector general stated that "significant and credible evidence was developed that a conspiracy was organized by Nadhmi Auchi to offer bribes to 'fix' the awarding of cellular licensing contracts covering three geographic areas of Iraq" under the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority."Additionally, significant and credible evidence has been developed that Nadhmi Auchi has engaged in unlawful activities working closely with Iraqi intelligence operatives to:
"Bribe foreign governments and individuals prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom to turn opinion against the American-led mission to remove Saddam Hussein.
"Arrange for significant theft from the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program to smuggle weapons and dual-use technology into Iraq ....
"Organize an elaborate scheme to take over and control the post-war cellular phone system in Iraq

Such schemes as the alleged takeover of the cellphone system are credible as subesquent events showed that Mr. Auchi was not deterred one bit from operating in a post-Saddam Iraq. Human Events reported "Auchi's General Mediterranean Holdings also has connections to the new Iraq-connections which lead right back to Tony Rezko. Auchi's company helped finance a 250 megawatt power plant in the Kurdish town of Chamchamal, Iraq, teaming up with Rezko and Iraq's former Minister of Electricity, Aiham Alsamarrae. Alsamarrae, a Chicago resident with dual US-Iraqi citizenship is accused of graft involving Iraq reconstruction projects-an embarrassing connection for the war critic Obama." (Kingfish note: Alsamarrare was in jail for four months in Iraq before he escaped to the U.S.).

The Tribe's Bagman
Tony Rezko. A Syrian-American who met Obama in 1990 and has been friends with him ever since while raising over $150,000 for Mr. Obama's campaigns (After this was publicized, Mr. Obama donated $150,000 to charity.). A buyer and seller of Chicago politicians, Rezko got himself in a little bit of trouble with the law. The Times of London reported in March:
Mr Rezko went on trial in Chicago this week for money laundering, fraud, aiding bribery and attempted extortion. He is accused of demanding kickbacks from companies seeking to do business with two Illinois state boards controlled by his friends – the Teachers Retirement System, which manages a $30 billion pension fund, and the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, which must approve all building permits involving hospitals. ...."

The Court revoked his bond before trial because he hid a $3.5 million dollar loan from Auchi in violation of a court order requiring him to disclose his assets. This was the first time that Auchi's name had popped up in connection to Mr. Obama and Rezko. As it turned out, Auchi has "lent" Rezko over $27 million dollars, including loans for $11 million (September, 2005), $3.5 million (April, 2005), and $3.5 million (April, 2007).

The loan that was the reason for the bond revocation occurred three weeks before Rezko and Obama bought two properties together from the same owner on the same day, with Obama paying $300,000 below the asking price while Rezko paid the full price. The property adjacent to the Obama mansion was a garden plot (A home could not be built on it as it was to small due to code standards.) that Mrs. Rezko paid $650,000 for even though she declared in court "she got by on a salary of $37,000 and had $35,000 assets. " (Times of London). The court also found that Mr. Rezko was deeply in debt and he declared he had no assets. Yet Mrs. Rezko is buying a very expensive property while earning a small income three weeks after a hidden loan (later forgiven) from Auchi is funneled to Mr. Rezko through a Panamanian company while the Obamas are buying a million-dollar mansion substantially below its market value. Such shenanigans make it appear that the Rezkos were helping the Obamas buy a house they really could not afford. (For further coverage of that transaction, see )

The reason why "lent" is in quotation marks is that at some point, Auchi and Rezko worked out a "loan forgiveness" agreement and Rezko turned over his shares in a real estate development in exchange for a cancellation of his debts to Mr. Auchi. Nice. It should also be noted that some of the loans were made through Panamanian front companies according to The Times.

Conspiracy of Silence or just coincidences?
To be sure, there are very few contacts between Obama and Auchi. It would be very troubling indeed if Obama has substantive contacts with Auchi, dapper bagman and cousin of Saddam Hussein. Obama at first claimed that they had never met. However, an ABC News reported
"The testimony of the federal government's star witness in the trial of indicted political fixer Tony Rezko appears to contradict Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's past statements that he does not recall meeting Iraqi-born billionaire, Nadhmi Auchi.
Obama's name resurfaced this week after Chicago businessman Stuart Levine testified that Obama and his wife Michelle attended an April 2004 reception in honor of Auchi at Rezko's house. ....
The Obama campaign has maintained that Obama had no recollection of meeting Auchi "at any time or occasion," but today a Chicago Sun Times columnist reports that a source claims Obama had not only attended the April 2004 event but also 'made a few toasts.' ...."

Its hard to believe that Obama does not recall who Auchi is when he went to a party in his honor at his close friend's home. Obama's memory problems extend to another event held by Mr. Rezko at the Chicago Four Seasons' Hotel: Spring 2004: Nadhmi Auchi visits Illinois and Michigan, attending an event at Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago. Senator Obama shakes hands with Middle East businessmen at event at Four Seasons in Chicago, but aides say he does not remember Mr Auchi...."

As stated earlier, there is very little in the way of direct contacts between Obama and Auchi. However, there are many contacts and transactions between Obama and Rezko, who just happened to be a business partner of Auchi and the receipient of tens of millions of dollars in forgiven loans from the Iraqi billionaire.

Keep in mind several things. One is that Auchi has been named as an Iraqi intelligence agent. Saddam would only appoint someone to run that secret network that was not going to make dumb mistakes and he could trust as he trusted hardly anyone. He executed Auchi's partner when he thought he was skimming from the top. Auchi is aware he is a somewhat known quantity and if he was inclined to influence a politician such as Barak Obama, he would not do it directly but instead use intermediaries. Such as Tony Rezko.

The problem is that Obama does not have much of a record for us to examine and what is available, looks just like it was written by someone like Auchi.

A former platoon leader of the 101st Airborne wrote this week:
Since his election to the United States Senate in 2004, Mr. Obama has traveled to Iraq just once – in January 2006. This was more than a year before Gen. David Petraeus took command and the surge began. It was also several months before Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government came into office. Although Mr. Obama frequently criticizes the Iraqi leader on the campaign trail, he has never actually met him.....
Mr. Obama continues to insist that "Iraq's political leaders have made no progress in resolving the political differences at the heart of their civil war" – despite the passage of numerous pieces of benchmark legislation by the Iraqi Parliament and unequivocal evidence of grassroots reconciliation across the country.
Mr. Obama also continues to claim that America has "simply thrown U.S. troops at the problem, and it has not worked" – despite the dramatic reduction in violence in precisely those areas of Iraq where American forces have surged, and since handed over to Iraqi Security Forces.
And of course, Mr. Obama persists in his pledge to withdraw all combat forces from Iraq, on a fixed timeline, beginning the moment he enters office – regardless of the recommendations of our commanders on the ground, regardless of conditions on the ground, and regardless, in short, of reality

Guess he missed the part where Malaki's troops recently cleared out Basra and we had our best month ever in terms of casualties. He has also refused to meet with General Petreaus privately despite the General's numerous visits to Washington. Yet he claims to be an expert on Iraq.

Mr. Obama also criticized Hillary for voting for a non-binding resolution that labeld the Iranian Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization. "The nonbinding resolution on the Revolutionary Guard passed on a 76-to-22 vote, winning support from about half the Senate Democrats and nearly all the Republicans..." This is the group that funds, trains, and arms Hezbollah. It has helped the insurgency in Iraq and is the one country mainly resonsible for providing the insurgents with arms, explosives, and training. Yet Obama is one of the FEW Senators to criticize the vast majority who voted to label the Revolutionary Guard for the criminal organization it is. (An earlier post dealt with the role of the Qods Forces of the Revolutionary Guard in Iraq. )

Hmmm......consistently undermines the war effort, belittles the successes of the troops in Iraq, votes against funding to give them more troops and support, fights against taking steps against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Wants to remove them from Iraq regardless of whether they are needed. Wants to tear up the Iraqi consititution claiming it shuts out the Sunnis and revisit the De-Baathication process (See his website). When one looks at the policies supported by Obama, its almost as if they were written by an Iraqi agent who happened to be Saddam's cousin and was named in a Pentagon report as someone who was working with the Iraqis to turn opinion against the American war effort in Iraq. The connections between Obama and Rezko are clear as are the ones between Rezko and Auchi. The issue is whether there are any connections between Auchi and Obama.

The question is, do you know Obama well enough to trust him with the lives of our troops in Iraq and our national security?


Tom Head said...

By that logic, I guess John McCain must be a Nazi spy.

Anonymous said...

this is a sick post!

Kingfish said...

Yup. Pointing out that Saddam's cousin and agent funneled $30 million to Obama's buddy Rezko is sick.

I'd take Tom seriously on this issue but given how CAIR has been caught blatantly lying in the past, I treat CAIR and its supporters about the same way I did Pravda and Tass, with very little credibility. Especially when I have shown clear links between Obama and Rezko and Rezko and Auchi.

Anonymous said...

Obama is a secret "Iraqi agent?"

...and the moon landing was faked

...and George W. Bush blew up the twin towers

...and aliens crashed in Roswell

...and Bigfoot exists...

Kingfish, you lost me on this one.

Kingfish said...

Then there are all the "Bush is a tool of Halliburton" or "Bush is a tool of the Saudis" or "Bush knew about 9/11". Some can dish it out but can't take it.

No one said he was an Iraqi agent. However, I do wonder about influence or if he hangs around these people because he just happens to agree with them.

Tom Head said...

I would say that going to one fundraiser hosted by Rezko in Auchi's honor is a far stretch from saying that Obama "hangs out with these people because he agrees with them." I almost went to an ACORN fundraiser that was technically to be held in John Arthur Eaves' honor, and you know how much I like him.

But it's the general election cycle, and I know party line B.S. will be flowing from both ends of the blogosphere in considerable quantity, so I really shouldn't bother. If you want to spout off that Obama is an Iraqi spy, or the Antichrist, or the reincarnation of Napoleon, or whatever, go ahead. Hell, it's an election year; you're entitled.

Kingfish said...

I never said he was an Iraqi spy and any such assertion is a lie.

However, there is nothing wrong with pointing out who his friends are and who can potentially influence him.

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