How shameful and imperiling was the Iran nuke deal? We're just now grasping the full magnitude, per Politico:
Obama, the senior official and other administration representatives weren’t telling the whole story on Jan. 17, 2016, in their highly choreographed rollout of the prisoner swap and simultaneous implementation of the six-party nuclear deal, according to a POLITICO investigation.
In his Sunday morning address to the American people, Obama portrayed the seven men he freed as “civilians.” The senior official described them as businessmen convicted of or awaiting trial for mere “sanctions-related offenses, violations of the trade embargo.”
In reality, some of them were accused by Obama’s own Justice Department of posing threats to national security. Three allegedly were part of an illegal procurement network supplying Iran with U.S.-made microelectronics with applications in surface-to-air and cruise missiles like the kind Tehran test-fired recently, prompting a still-escalating exchange of threats with the Trump administration. Another was serving an eight-year sentence for conspiring to supply Iran with satellite technology and hardware. As part of the deal, U.S. officials even dropped their demand for $10 million that a jury said the aerospace engineer illegally received from Tehran.
And in a series of unpublicized court filings, the Justice Department dropped charges and international arrest warrants against 14 other men, all of them fugitives. The administration didn’t disclose their names or what they were accused of doing, noting only in an unattributed, 152-word statement about the swap that the U.S. “also removed any Interpol red notices and dismissed any charges against 14 Iranians for whom it was assessed that extradition requests were unlikely to be successful.”
Three of the fugitives allegedly sought to lease Boeing aircraft for an Iranian airline that authorities say had supported Hezbollah, the U.S.-designated terrorist organization. A fourth, Behrouz Dolatzadeh, was charged with conspiring to buy thousands of U.S.-made assault rifles and illegally import them into Iran.
A fifth, Amin Ravan, was charged with smuggling U.S. military antennas to Hong Kong and Singapore for use in Iran. U.S. authorities also believe he was part of a procurement network providing Iran with high-tech components for an especially deadly type of IED used by Shiite militias to kill hundreds of American troops in Iraq.
The biggest fish, though, was Seyed Abolfazl Shahab Jamili, who had been charged with being part of a conspiracy that from 2005 to 2012 procured thousands of parts with nuclear applications for Iran via China. That included hundreds of U.S.-made sensors for the uranium enrichment centrifuges in Iran whose progress had prompted the nuclear deal talks in the first place.
When federal prosecutors and agents learned the true extent of the releases, many were shocked and angry. Some had spent years, if not decades, working to penetrate the global proliferation networks that allowed Iranian arms traders both to obtain crucial materials for Tehran’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs and, in some cases, to provide dangerous materials to other countries.
“They didn’t just dismiss a bunch of innocent business guys,” said one former federal law enforcement supervisor centrally involved in the hunt for Iranian arms traffickers and nuclear smugglers. “And then they didn’t give a full story of it.”
In its determination to win support for the nuclear deal and prisoner swap from Tehran — and from Congress and the American people — the Obama administration did a lot more than just downplay the threats posed by the men it let off the hook, according to POLITICO’s findings.
Through action in some cases and inaction in others, the White House derailed its own much-touted National Counterproliferation Initiative at a time when it was making unprecedented headway in thwarting Iran’s proliferation networks. In addition, the POLITICO investigation found that Justice and State Department officials denied or delayed requests from prosecutors and agents to lure some key Iranian fugitives to friendly countries so they could be arrested. Similarly, Justice and State, at times in consultation with the White House, slowed down efforts to extradite some suspects already in custody overseas, according to current and former officials and others involved in the counterproliferation effort.
Jazz Shaw at Hot Air has the must-read take on Fearless Girl:And as far back as the fall of 2014, Obama administration officials began slow-walking some significant investigations and prosecutions of Iranian procurement networks operating in the U.S. These previously undisclosed findings are based on interviews with key participants at all levels of government and an extensive review of court records and other documents.
“Clearly, there was an embargo on any Iranian cases,” according to the former federal supervisor.
But all that rigid gender distinction is rapidly becoming so yesterday:It’s a similarly generic work in bronze, adequately depicting a young girl in a skirt with her hands on her hips throwing her chest out. If it were placed opposite a similar statue of an older woman in an apron with her arms crossed, the title of the piece might well have been, “Girl Throwing Temper Tantrum.” But when you put her in front of the bull [which has been displayed in a little public park just off Wall Street for years], she’s suddenly a symbol of standing up to the man or whatever other magic you wish to imbue in the totem. Either of these figures standing alone could represent almost anything. But juxtapositioned as they are, a new meaning offers itself up if you care to find one.Returning to [bull sculptor Arturo] Di Modica’s point, it once again all comes back to context and the infinitely variable responses we have to art. One recent segment on cable news featured a woman standing in front of Fearless Girl weeping as she described how seeing the piece moved her to tears. I’m not unsympathetic to that, even if I don’t have the same response myself. I worked for several years with a woman who regularly used the same phrase as she recounted how she too was moved to tears the first time she saw an exhibit of Jackson Pollock paintings in a museum. I have zero doubt as to her sincerity, even though I’ve personally always thought that all of Pollock’s paintings could have been named Explosion at Paint Factory and sold off at a farmer’s market.
To quote Dennis:
Speaking of vaginas, they figure into the final confirmation that Bill Nye should never be trotted out as any kind of science authority or other type of serious human being:
Claudia Rossett at PJ Media reminds us that, along with the strategic threat North Korea poses, we must never lose sight of its status as the world's premier human-rights horror.