Sunday, October 7, 2007

Watch out for the New CHALABI: Farhad Azima

Farhad Azima is the CIA sweetheart!

To contextualize Azima (if you know this just skip to the end), here's some excerpts from Professor Gary Potter's CRIME AND PUBLIC POLICY:
Any government operation that is shielded from the public and hidden from Congressional oversight over a long period of time will inevitably become reliant on criminal activity to support and fund the operation. Covert operations provide the perfect setting for organized criminal activity simply because they are clandestine operations conducted with state sanction (Chambliss, 1986).
  • Covert intelligence activities avoid the usual law enforcement scrutiny and surveillance.
  • Passage through customs can be facilitated through official channels.
  • Normal financial accounting procedures are not followed in covert operations.
  • Investigators from law enforcement agencies can be diverted by claims of "national security."
  • And finally, organizers of such operations recruit individuals with the skills necessary to carry them out, most of which are criminal skills.
State-Sponsored Terrorism and U.S. Foreign Policy
Iran: The CIA engaged in a massive conspiracy to overthrow the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh, in 1953 (Beirne and Messerscmidt, 1991: 258-259; Prados, 1986; Simon and Eitzen, 1986). Following his election, Mossedagh had nationalized several foreign-owned oil companies. His government had offered compensation to the oil companies. But the Eisenhower administration was not tolerant of any independence by foreign leaders and began a campaign to overthrow the Mossedagh government and replace it with the monarchy of Shah Reza Pahlavi. In return for U.S. support for the coup d'etat, the Shah promised U.S. oil companies control over 50 percent of Iran's oil production. ...

While American oil companies and arms merchants profited from the Shah's reign (Iran purchased $17 billion in military equipment from the U.S.), the ultimate costs of the coup can only by calculated by considering the impact of the 1979 Islamic revolution which replaced the Shah's regime. ...
Organized Crime, The CIA and the Savings and Loan Scandal
The savings and loan scandal of the 1980s has been depicted in a myriad of ways. To some, it is "the greatest ... scandal in American history" (Thomas, 1991: 30). To others it is the single greatest case of fraud in the history of crime (Seattle Times, June 11, 1991). Some analysts see it as the natural result of the ethos of greed promulgated by the Reagan administration (Simon and Eitzen, 1993: 50). And to some it was a premeditated conspiracy to move covert funds out of the country for use by the U.S. Intelligence Agency (Bainerman, 1992: 275). All of these depictions of the S & L scandal contain elements of truth. But to a large degree, the savings and loan scandal was simply business as usual. What was unusual about it was not that it happened, or who was involved, but that it was so blatant and coarse a criminal act that exposure became inevitable. But with its exposure, three basic but usually ignored "truths" about organized crime were once again demonstrated with startlingly clarity:
  • There is precious little difference between those people who society designates as respectable and law abiding and those people society castigates as hoodlums and thugs.
  • The world of corporate finance and corporate capital is as criminogenic and probably more criminogenic than any poverty-wracked slum neighborhood.
  • The distinctions drawn between business, politics, and organized crime are at best artificial and in reality irrelevant. Rather than being dysfunctions, corporate crime, white-collar crime, organized crime, and political corruption are mainstays of American political-economic life. ...
Potter then numerates several banks such as First National Bank of Maryland, whose
links to the CIA were exposed in a lawsuit filed in Federal District Court by Robert Maxwell, a high-ranking bank officer who was asked to commit crimes on behalf of the CIA, Palmer National Bank, founded in 1983 on the basis of a $2.8 million loan from Herman K. Beebe, the convicted felon who had served nine months in federal prison for bank fraud and had impeccable credentials as a financier for New Orleans-based organized crime figures, to Harvey D. McLean, Jr. and Indian Springs Bank where our wonderful Iranians, Farhad Azima's mob springs from.

In the Palmer National Bank Harvey McLean was partner Stefan Halper, George Bush's foreign policy director during the 1980 presidential primaries, keeping an eye on Jimmy Carter, making sure hostages will not be released before election .... During the Iran-Contra Affair, Palmer National was the bank of record for the National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty, a front group run by Oliver North and Carl "Spitz" Channell, which was used to send money and weapons to the contras.

Indian Springs Bank's connection to CIA come through the fourth largest stockholder in Indian Springs: the Iranian expatriate Farhad Azima, who was also the owner of an air charter company called Global International Air. according to Potter:
The Indian Springs bank had made several unsecured loans to Global International Air, totaling $600,000 in violation of the bank's $349,00 borrower limit. In 1983 Global International filed for bankruptcy, and Indian Springs followed suit in 1984. The president of Indiana Springs was killed in 1983 in a car fire that started in the vehicle's back seat and was regarded by law enforcement officials as of suspicious origins.

Global International Air was part of Oliver North's logistical network which shipped arms for the U.S. government on several occasions, including a shipment of 23 tons of TOW missiles to Iran by Race Aviation, another company owned by Azima. Pete Brewton, in his investigation of the Indian Springs bank collapse was told that FBI had not followed up on Indian Springs because the CIA informed them that Azima was "off limits" (Houston Post, February 8, 1990). Similarly the assistant U.S. Attorney handling the Indian Springs investigation was told to "back off from a key figure in the collapse because he had ties to the CIA."

Azima did indeed have ties to the CIA. His relationship with the agency goes back to the late 1970s when he supplied air and logistical support to EATSCO (Egyptian American Transport and Services Corporation), a company owned by former CIA agents Thomas Clines, Theodore Shackley, and Richard Secord. EATSCO was prominently involved in the activities of former CIA agent Edwin Wilson, who shipped arms illegally to Libya. Azima was also closely tied to the Republican party. He had contributed $81,000 to the Reagan campaign.
Azima, being the mobster, arm smuggler, country seller, good businessman moneymaker who he is, bets his fortune on wherever the winds of power are blowing to. Thus, he is now courting the Clintons (again)!

Stephen Pezzo's opEd asks:
But the question remained; what was Farhad Azima, doing there? Why would the Clintons expose themselves to bad publicity just a couple of weeks after Hillary was forced to return nearly a million bucks she took from felonious fugitive, Norman Hsu? (Another instance where a single Nexis/Lexis search by a curious reporter would have broken that story months ago.)

Admittedly Azima is a bit of a different kind of problem since he's never been charged or convicted of any crimes, as Hsu had. But, as you will see if read on, there might be a reason for that, a quite extraordinary reason. Still a few Google searches would net the curious reporter some pretty startling allegations -- and lots of them. Sure it's just smoke, but so much smoke it would trigger a five-alarm response from any fire department worths it's salt.

In lieu of a real media vetting of Farhad Azima he has become grist for the conspiracy theorists, who have now woven him into nearly every murky event short of the Lindberg kidnapping. In the world of conspiracy theorists 6% of separation is enough to throw their own grandmothers into the mix.

Maybe that's what's kept real journalists away. Anyone who's been a reporter for very long knows that the fastest way to ruin their career is to dive into one of these tales and try to sort the truth from the mis- and dis-information that swirl around characters like Farhad Azima. I personally knew two veteran reporters who were last seen following such bread crumbs sure they were onto the biggest stories of their lives. They're still out there -- somewhere.

But, since I am retired and no longer have a career to ruin, what the hell.

Besides, Azima and I have a history.
Then he tells the history and goes through the dubious records of this guy and concludes:

Some company for a guy suddenly cozying up to Bill and Hillary Clinton, wouldn't you say? Could Farhad Azima be positioning himself to be the Ahmed Chalabi of a new Clinton administration? Or is that giving the guy more credit than he deserves? I sure don't know. But Hillary did vote to declare Iran's Revolutionary Guards "terrorists," as the White House wanted. And she did so despite the political damage she still suffers for her vote four years ago that gave Bush the authority to go to war against Iraq. Interesting. Just a coincidence. Another one.

What's it all mean? That's the question working reporters should be asking, not a retired one.

So, why aren't they? Inquiring minds want to know; would a "President Hillary Clinton" be the agent of change the nation seems to be yearning for? Or would she just be more of the same in skirt?

Iranian expatriate, Farhad Azima, at least, seems to be betting it's the latter.

Excluding the conspiracy theories that link this guy to the Russian mob and discuss their hand in 911 hijackings, there's some more on this guy:

11 comments:

an average patriot said...

naj
It isn't funny but you know you describe our own situation right here but you have a good point with Azima. It just drives me crazy because none of this underhanded involvment with other counties politics ever works nor will it.
I checked on Azima and you know what is going on. I found this! Sunday, October 7, 2007

EURASIA INSIGHT
AZERBAIJAN: IS IRAN THE REASON FOR THE CIA DIRECTOR’S RECENT VISIT TO BAKU?
Rovshan Ismayilov 10/04/07

Political analysts in Baku are debating the reasons for an unannounced late September trip to Azerbaijan by Central Intelligence Agency Director Gen. Michael Hayden. US diplomats remain tight-lipped about the visit. Many local experts, however, contend that Hayden’s talks with Azerbaijani leaders likely concerned Iran, Azerbaijan’s neighbor to the south.

Gen. Hayden’s one-day visit on September 28, which included a meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Minister of National Security Eldar Makhmudov, was not publicized in advance, and few details have since been provided. According to informed sources, the CIA director arrived in Baku late on the night of September 27. The Turan news agency has cited "unofficial sources" as saying Hayden stayed in a private downtown hotel at which special security measures were taken. He left Baku in the early evening on September 28.

US Embassy spokesperson Jonathan Henick told EurasiaNet that Hayden’s visit was part of a trip to several countries in the region. Henick would confirm only that Hayden discussed issues related to regional security and international terrorism with President Aliyev and National Security Minister Makhmudov. Azerbaijani officials likewise declined to elaborate on the nature or specifics of the discussions.

Some Azerbaijani analysts, however, see "the Iranian issue" as the most pressing reason for the CIA director’s trip. The trip came five days before an October 3 statement by US President George W. Bush that Washington was prepared, under certain conditions, to negotiate with Tehran on the nuclear issue.
please read on

an average patriot said...

I almost forgot, Chalabi is headed back there if he isn't there already. Iran and Bush both seem to have something in common innot wanting him getting involved.

Naj said...

Jim ...
more reason to believe that the most "radicalist" voices in Iran, as during reagan and the hostage crisis, are in cahoots with the neocons!

Naj said...

Jim,

To stir $#it in Iran's Azerbaijan, and to create destabilization by creating secessionist sentiments in Iranian Azerbaijan provinces is not a new CIA project.

The Iranian Azeris however, are not the exact ignorant traitors that CIA has wished them to be. So let them try, them idiot CIA! Perhaps if someone educated was running them, they would have known they are trying in vain!

Brother Tim said...

Great post, Naj. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Slightly off-topic: Take a look at what Wally put up on his 'Soapbox' today. It tugged at my heart's strings. Ya gotta really love the lil guy. :)

PoliShifter said...

Chalabi still has delusions about being the new Saddam for Iraq.

Too bad we already picked someone else.

'Strong like Saddam'

Kanan al-Sadid was not yet 10 years old on the afternoon that his father opened the trunk of the family car and Saddam Hussein popped out. It was the early 1960s, and the future dictator was hiding out from the Iraqi authorities, who accused him of plotting to assassinate the country's then strongman, Gen. Abdul Karim Qassim. Kanan's uncle was a member of Saddam's revolutionary Baath Party clique

#

Almost 50 years later—and with Saddam in his grave—Kanan's hometown of Tikrit is still a nest of intrigue. As head of one of the most powerful branches of Iraq's massive Shammer tribe, Kanan, 49, can urge thousands of men to take up arms—or, with a few words, keep them at home. After the U.S. invasion, he rounded up some 1,200 loyalists and helped them enlist in the new Iraqi Army. In recent years Kanan—who wears a silver pinkie ring and snaps the lapels of his pin-striped suit coat when he's punctuating a point—has founded a satellite television station, launched a construction company and renovated a nearby sports stadium. ("Olympic pool," he says, his eyes widening.) Yet the necessary tactics for survival as a strongman in modern Iraq sometimes seem to change from hour to hour. Iraqis, he says, are once again looking for the kind of martinet he knew as a boy. "They want somebody strong like Saddam," Kanan told NEWSWEEK last week in an interview near Tikrit. "Power and money—that's how you [rule] Iraq. If I became like the Prince of Dubai, I would control Iraqis like a remote control."

an average patriot said...

naj
Of course you know more about Iran than I do but I think you are right aboout the radicalists being involved with the neocons.
You know the CIA and others are involved behind the scenes doing something underhanded and it always backfires but the idiots never learn or stop trying.

Anonymous said...

Could Farhad Azima be positioning himself to be the Ahmed Chalabi of a new Clinton administration?

Ahmad Chalabi, Kanan Makiya, all of these people became media stars, but their influence on decision making was next to nothing. I can’t believe that a person like Wolfowitz or Cheney or whoever it was in the neocon cabal would allow themselves to be manipulated in this way. They are far too cynical. They have their own agendas.

Naj said...

anonymous,

I agree with that comment. That said, these kinds of figures are always the facilitators of the neocrimes!

Anonymous said...

"Eisenhower administration was not tolerant of any independence by foreign leaders and began a campaign to overthrow the Mossedagh government and replace it with the monarchy of Shah Reza Pahlavi"

Please think when you write something. During Mossadegh's era, the Monarchy was still there so none could replace his government "by a Monarchy"... and remember Mossadegh was a fervent Monarchist and had never wanted the Shah to go away, he just wanted him to respect the Constitution

Naj said...

Anonymous:

I am citing Gary Potter. Your point is well taken!