Sunday, July 27, 2008

Obama's October Surprise

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By Rosemary Regello

Surrogates of Senator Hillary Clinton suggested last month that her Democratic rival faced a possible doomsday scenario before the general election, calling it an "October Surprise". Naturally, everyone assumed she herself would be instigating Armageddon, and not in October but May.

That assumption, however, turned out to be off base. Paula Revere (as Clinton sometimes refers to herself) was more likely dropping a hint, praying there was someone left in the national press corps who could recognize an undressed emperor when he saw one. After all, there was that fraud trial going on in Chicago. Is the U.S. Attorney's office now sitting on a felony indictment against Obama, just waiting for him to lock up the nomination? And what about the two Iraqi agents associated with Tony Rezko? How did those reconstruction funds wind up in the presidential candidate's campaign coffers? And does he really prefer to bank with pimps, as the Chicago Tribune suggested in an article, one that for some inexplicable reason was not picked up by NBC News?

While the answers to these intriguing questions may be getting short shrift from the media, you can bet Republican opposition researchers are already versed in the particulars. Moreover, if the G.O.P. is setting a trap, then maybe elected Democratic officials (a.k.a. superdelegates) should be boning up on the Chicago underworld, not lining up at the Bank of Obama ATM machine.

For one thing, it's not necessarily written in stone that the presumptive G.O.P. nominee will get voted in at the convention next September. Anyone who assumes McCain is the guy to beat really doesn't appreciate Karl Rove's ability to turn a presidential election on its head. Remember, America's favorite dirty trickster is still out on the lam, probably whistling the old Grateful Dead tune Friend of the Devil as he forages around the Fox News Channel studios each weekday afternoon.

In short, there are plenty of good reasons to fret about the future.

Surprises, then and now...

The term October Surprise dates back to 1980, the year President Jimmy Carter ran for re-election against Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush. By most accounts, he lost as a result of the Iranian Hostage Crisis, and many suspected the Reagan campaign intervened in international affairs to set that ordeal into motion. In fact, many of the names, events and places from yesteryear seem to be popping up again today. Carter, Bush, the spike in oil prices, transitioning Middle East government, a U.S. presidential election... And just like 1980, this year's election cycle began with the assassination of a Bhutto. The daughter of Pakistan's first prime minister was gunned down on December 27, 2007. In 1979, Benazir's father was hanged after a military coup.

At the time of the first execution, the CIA was busy in Pakistan outfitting Osama bin Laden and his Islamic jihad to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. However, most Americans were focussed on Iran in those days. The U.S. backed Shah Reza Pahlavi was overthrown in 1979 after a popular uprising, and in the aftermath, an ayatollah named Khomeini flew in from Paris and tried to take advantage of the situation. Shortly after that, President Carter got a call from Henry Kissinger, asking him to let the deposed shah into the United States for cancer treatment. The embassy staff in Tehran warned Carter that it was no time to play Make a Wish, but Carter did let him in anyway. The Iranians reacted with angry demonstrations (believing the U.S. intended to reinstall Pahlavi) and a group of students stormed the embassy, taking 52 Americans hostage.

Although the Pentagon disputes it, two former embassy captives insist that the country's current civilian president, Ahmadinejad, was in charge of that operation. Like a perfectly synchronized Swiss clock, 444 days later and about 20 minutes after Reagan delivered his inaugural speech, the hostages were released. By then, Khomeini and his "supreme council" of fellow mullahs had rammed through an Islamic constitution and began purging the country of all those moderate, secular folks responsible for overthrowing the shah in the first place. (Remnants of that group, known as the MEK-NCRI, are holed up in Europe and even maintain a base in Iraq, although the United States and the U.K. bombed them in 2003.) At any rate, Reagan's campaign manager William Casey started selling missiles to the Islamic dictatorship as soon as he was appointed CIA director.

In Washington, people wondered. Did the Reagan campaign cut a deal with Khomeini to make sure he wouldn't free the hostages before the November election - hence Carter's October Surprise? Congress held hearings on the subject. Chaired by Indiana Democrat Lee Hamilton, the House committee eventually ruled there was no conspiracy. (Twenty years later, this same congressman would be tapped by President Bush to co-chair the bipartisan 9/11 Commission.)

Now fast forward to this election cycle. The G.O.P. knew four years ago that winning the White House after George W. Bush's reign of error would be an uphill climb. Especially with another Clinton coming down the pike. They needed to get creative. And in a little known state senator from the midwest they found reason to hope. As luck would have it, Barack Obama had compiled a lot of dirt under his finger nails from 17 years of Chicago machine politics. His principle benefactor, Tony Rezko, was a Syrian slumlord under investigation by the federal government for fraud and influence peddling.

Now this seemed promising. By using Obama as their trojan horse to get inside and sieze the apparatus of the Democratic Party, Republicans saw their odds for November improving dramatically. It didn't matter that the Illinois legislator was little more than a smug, petulant, unaccomplished hack from Chicago. He was African American, which meant that his Democratic opponents couldn't criticize him without alienating a key party demographic. And once Obama was nominated, the G.O.P. could make its case to the electorate along these lines: "Jeez, would you look at this guy's proximity group. He's got convicts, foreign agents and tainted campaign contributions coming out of the woodwork. And if he can't even obtain an F.B.I. clearance as a border patrol agent, do you really think we should be handing him the nuclear launch codes?"

Here are a few other Republican tactics that might come to fruition next fall:

An indictment from the U.S. Attorney: It turns out the federal prosecutor in the trial of Chicago political fixer Tony Rezko was Patrick Fitzgerald, the special counsel who handled the Valerie Plame C.I.A. leak case. No one knows for sure, but the Justice Department could conceivably indict Obama on corruption charges in the wake of the recent Rezko verdict. To date, the senator has been identified as a participant in crafting legislation to reduce the number of members on the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board from 15 to 9, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The prosecution alleges that as a result, in 2003, the board was stacked by Rezko in order to steer big government contracts his way. Obama had previously helped Rezko and his partner Allison Davis acquire at least 11 housing redevelopment projects in his senate district, in addition to representing the landlord (as his attorney) when the City of Chicago sued over slumlike conditions and unheated apartments. The government's principle witness, Stuart Levine, has acknowledged in sworn testimony that Davis (Obama's former boss at a law firm) acted as go-between in the shakedown scheme of a Hollywood financier. Whether there is a crime here involving the candidate remains to be seen.

On another front, the New York Times has reported that Rezko's role in the purchase of Obama's South Chicago estate in 2005 may have been an attempt to shield assets from creditors in several lawsuits pending at the time. How much Obama himself knew about Rezko's finances is unknown. We do know that Rezko did a walk-through of the home prior to the sale, even though his wife would be listed as the new owner of the empty lot next door.

Links to Iraqi money men exposed: Shortly before the Obama property deal, Rezko received a $3.5 million loan from an Iraqi exile, Nadhmi Auchi. The Pentagon has identified Auchi as a former bagman for Saddam Hussein. This London-based financier is one of the world's richest men, convicted of fraud in 2003 over the notorious European Elf affair, the largest scandal in post-war Europe. Needless to say, the suggestion that it was Saddam's banker who made Obama's dream home possible will probably not play well among Independents and Reagan Democrats in November.

Another longtime Rezko chum, Aiham Alsammarae, was appointed Iraq's minister of electricity in 2003. (Both men attended college together in Illinois during the 1970s.) In 2005, Alsammarae was charged with stealing $650 million in Iraqi reconstruction funds. Wanted by Interpol, Alsammarae posted more than $2.7 million in property as collateral last April to help spring Rezko from jail. While Bush Administration officials won't tell anyone what the warrant is for, his arrest is not imminent.

The minister fled Iraq in December 2006. Prior to that, Newsweek has reported that Alsammarae'a son sent several faxes to Obama's office in Washington when his father was incarcerated in a Baghdad jail. A spokesman for Obama described it as a routine constituent request. It was forwarded to the Department of State, and thereafter, with the aid of Blackwater security guards, Alsammarae escaped. The fugitive now resides comfortably in his private compound outside of Chicago, where he donated online to the candidate in January, February and March.

A presidential campaign that banks with crime figures: According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, in 2006 Obama endorsed and appeared in campaign commercials for Alex Giannoulias, a banker who ran for Illinois state treasurer. Obama backed Giannoulias despite reports that his family-owned Broadway Bank made loans to bookmakers, prostitution rings and other criminal operations. "Records show Giannoulias and his family had given more than $10,000 to Obama's campaign, which banked at Broadway," the story read.

Martial Law declaration: Were the majority of Americans to become disenchanted with or remain uninspired by either candidates McCain or Obama, President Bush could potentially pull off a coup d'etat without a lot of grumbling from voters. After all, the Democratic Party has already managed to do pretty much exactly that with their Barack is the Nominee declaration in June. Perhaps savoring the prospect of a third term, President Bush signed National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51, an executive order that allows him to suspend the constitution without prior congressional approval. In other words, he declares a state of emergency in the event of a major terrorist attack or other “decapitating” incident against the United States, then cancels the election. According to the directive, the attack need not even take place inside the country.

Well, isn't that convenient...

For source links on the information reported above, plus an analysis of how Karl Rove and the neocons have manipulated the Democratic nominating process for fun and profit, see Bamboozling the American electorate again.

For more on the CIA in Pakistan and Iran, see our foreign affairs section.

- Rosemary Regello

1 comment:

민석 said...


I'm a korean living in seoul.(name: Oh Minseok)
Korean special investigative team investigated samsung
But they did not work right.
Suspicious to have been bought off.
Samsung corporation had many crimes.
And the team investigated samsung corporation.
It contained korean companies samsung,hyundai,sk CEOs' illegal issuing
stocks or bonds. ( previous CEOs or present CEOs )
The quantity are plenty.
(Three company CEOs did(and are doing) many crimes to me.
Many koreans are knowing it.
But many koreans are bought off by illegal issuing stocks or bonds.
Korean prosecutors and judges and bureaucracy are also guilty.)
The team knew it.
Korean special investigative team must investigated this.
But they concealed it.
I ask for asking for this criminal investigation to prosecutors and presidents in any
And help the shareholders and me.
Three companies are hacking me and trying to kill me.
And are suspicious to use my name and email illegally.
If you receive another message that I dictated above are not true,
it is not from me, but from three companies.
The things I dictated above are true.