With Foggy Bottom Under Attack, Pompeo Jets Off to Kansas For Ahem… Workforce Development

 

The calls for Mr. Pompeo to step up and defend the diplomats working for him are getting louder every day. Our dedicated diplomats have been called many nasty names in multiple news cycles now. Mr. Pompeo had lots of opportunities to defend them but so far no apparent reaction could be seen from where we sit. We think folks ought to reconcile themselves to the reality that the 70th Secretary of State likes to talk tough about protecting State Department employees when it’s convenient (“I will not tolerate such tactics, and I will use all means at my disposal to prevent and expose any attempts to intimidate the dedicated professionals whom I am proud to lead and serve alongside at the Department of State) but will not likely expend political capital to defend his people when needed because doing so could put him in the crosshairs of his unpredictable and erratic boss.
Uh-Uh, what’s this?
He recently told a reporter (“amid the ornate seventh floor of the State Department, adorned with oil paintings of his predecessors”): “I look at these pictures on the wall every day, and I think, ‘Oh my gosh. Madison, Monroe, Jefferson. Pompeo. Wow. Which of those doesn’t belong in that group?’”
Oh, what a joker, that’s easy peasy.
His latest ‘Miles With Mike” boasts of getting to Ankara, Turkey “in a hurry for some tough diplomacy.” It’s so tough, the other guy got everything on his wishlist. And of securing “an agreement with Turkey that saved many lives.” Also of continuing “to ensure that the ISIS Caliphate remains defeated”,  of “assisting with humanitarian challenges” and “to do these things as one team, with one mission.” 
Who writes this stuff? What universe are they living in?
The latest MWM reportedly came with happy pictures from the “ceasefire” trip where the United States double ditched its Kurdish Allies in Syria, who Mr. Pompeo, by the way, once called “great partners). Asking about U.S. credibility is not really an “insane” question as he told the reporter in Wichita, Kansas, it’s just a new version of his “It’s like you’re working for the DNC” bark of tricks.
Anyway, things are apparently peachy he could afford to jet off to Kansas, but why are we hearing Foggy Bottom being described as “coo-coo-ville” these days?

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The Giant Halkbank Octopus: New Episodes Coming Soon!

 

From our old post in 2017: Erdogan Rages Against the U.S. Ambassador to Ankara — What’s That About?

On March 19, 2016, Reza Zarrab an Iranian-Turkish citizen was arrested for allegedly engaging in hundreds of millions of dollars of transactions on behalf of the Government of Iran and Iranian entities as part of a scheme to evade U.S. sanctions (Download u.s._v._zarab_et_al_indictment.pdf).

On March 28, 2017, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a Turkish banker was also arrested and charged for alleged conspiracies to violate the IEEPA and to commit bank fraud (Download US v. Mehmet Hakan Atilla complaint.pdf).

On September 6, 2017 DOJ announced the Superseding Indictment alleging that nine defendants (including a former Turkish Minister of the Economy (currently serving in Turkish Parliament), and a former General Manager Of Turkish Government-Owned Bank), “conspired to lie to U.S. Government officials about international financial transactions for the Government of Iran and used the U.S. financial system to launder bribes paid to conceal the scheme.”

In November 2017, NBC News also reported that Zarrab began cooperating with federal prosecutors in a money-laundering case.
According to avhal, the Turkish banker, Hakan Atilla served 32 months in prison in the United States for helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions, and was released on July 19 this year. On October 21, 2019, Turkey’s Finance and Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak (and Erdogan’s son-in-law) announced that the former Halkbank director has been appointed as the director general of Borsa Istanbul, Turkey’s main stock exchange.
On October 15, USDOJ announced that TÜRKİYE HALK BANKASI A.S., a/k/a “Halkbank,” was charged in a six-count Indictment with fraud, money laundering, and sanctions offenses related to the bank’s participation in a multibillion-dollar scheme to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran.
On October 24, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon announced that he is launching an investigation into the Halkbank scandal.
Courthouse News Service Adam Klasfeld who has covered this case extensively notes in his October 22 report that “Turkey continued to hold three U.S. consulate workers in captivity with relative silence from the White House, and Halkbank kept an indictment at bay for more than two years, even after its ex-general manager Suleyman Aslan and executive Atilla had been charged with the multibillion-dollar conspiracy.”
Back in 2017, we thought this thriller which started out actually in 2013  (see the New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins piece, A Mysterious Case Involving Turkey, Iran, and Rudy Giuliani) — with a cargo plane from Accra, Ghana, which was diverted to Istanbul’s main international airport, because of fog, and three thousand pounds of gold bars — was going to unravel under the glare of sunlight, but here we are in 2019.  So now we wait for the next episodes.

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