Thursday, March 06, 2008

“…Lies, Damned Lies and US Treasury Statements…”

Daniel Glaser is a deputy assistant secretary of the United States Treasury for terrorist financing and financial crimes. He also heads up the US delegation to the Financial Action Task Force.

On 28th February 2008, Complinet reported the latest finding of the FATF regarding Iran. Complinet has reported how the new finding has not altered the world advisory situation with regard to Iran from the previous finding in October 2007. International banks are still encouraged to apply enhanced due diligence when dealing with Iranian institutions.

Nevertheless, the FATF went to great pains to acknowledge that;

“…Since its October 2007 Plenary meeting, the FATF has engaged with Iran and welcomes the commitment made by Iran to improve its AML/CFT regime… Iran is encouraged to continue its engagement with the FATF and the international community to address, on an urgent basis, its AML/CFT deficiencies...”

The finding reflects the fact that the Iranians have taken significant steps to cooperate with the FATF, they have attended a meeting in Paris in January 2008 when they presented their AML programme to the representatives of the FATF, and answered a wide range of questions; that they have subsequently passed their first law dealing with AML issues, and that they have continued to liaise with the FATF, as requested.

The stated finding of the FATF is clear, unequivocal, and makes an open statement of their deliberations.

So, it is legitimate to ask why it is that Daniel Glaser, one of the delegates to the FATF, when asked to comment upon the latest findings of the FATF Committee, of which he was a constituent member, did not report the findings in an equally clear, unequivocal and open manner.

In responding to a question posed by the New York Sun, Mr Glaser is reported as having given answers that put a wholly different slant to the story. The Sun writer states;

“…American officials saw the FATF's statement as a victory in their financial war against Iran. "It was a great result," America's chief envoy to the task force, Daniel Glaser, said in a phone interview from Paris. "What this action does is call upon all countries in the world to inform their financial institutions of the significant anti-money-laundering financial risk Iran represents. As a result of this action, financial authorities around the world will be requiring their financial institutions to conduct enhanced scrutiny on Iran-related transactions."

Mr. Glaser, who is a deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for terrorist financing and financial crimes, said the FATF's action was more robust than a warning…”

Daniel Glaser has made no secret of his support for the policies of his US Treasury boss, Stuart Levey, whose openly-stated ambitions are to cripple the Iranian economy and to bring the Iranian nation to its knees by fomenting a popular revolution in that country. Mr Glaser’s telephone conversation with the New York newspaper clearly enabled it to observe;

“…In a move that could cripple Iran's banking sector, the world's premier anti-money-laundering body warned its 34 member states yesterday to advise their banks of the risks of doing business with Iranian banks, citing worries about the Islamic nation's financing of terrorism…while the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force suggests only a warning, the seriousness with which the world's banks will respond to its official statement has the potential to starve Iran of much of its legitimate capital…”

An FATF official who has asked not to be named has confirmed that It is a convention of the FATF that all members of any committee are jointly bound by the agreed statements which are published in their name.

It is not considered to be a proper course of action to make any other statement which might give a different interpretation of what is reported in their name. Individual members are expected to report findings fairly, giving full status to the reported communiques issued by the FATF.

In light of this statement, it is legitimate to ask why Daniel Glaser has found it necessary to be so outspoken, indeed, so triumphalist in his comments. Why did he deliberately choose to ignore any of the positive comments made by the FATF, why has he continued to seek to damage Iran by his comments? He is a co-chair of the committee which is sitting in judgement on Iran and it may be thought that it is entirely improper for him to behave in this way.

His actions could have a significant impact upon the due process within which the FATF itself is seeking to engage. It could conceivably lead the Iranian delegation to legitimately ask whether they are likely to receive a fair hearing, when the co-chairman behaves in this manner, a situation which would paint the FATF in a very bad light indeed.

It is also legitimate to ask which masters Mr Glaser is seeking to serve by behaving in this egregious manner. His actions can not serve the long-term interests of the US, after all, the Bush administration has literally only months left to run. The US Presidential hopeful, Barack Obama has already said that if elected, he will engage in diplomatic discussions with Iran.

It is beginning to look as if Mr Glaser realizes that time is running out for his poisonous policies towards Iran, and those who command his real loyalties, and that his actions betray his true allegiances. It may also be felt, more importantly, that such a realization could bring the FATF itself into disrepute, if it became more widely perceived that influential committee members were intent on serving their own agenda, and not the agreed agenda of the Financial Action Task Force, to which end they have been appointed.

Even more disinformation from the US Treasury

The FATF announced today (28th February 2008) that it does not intend to take any further AML/CTF interventionist action against Iran, following the publication of its earlier notice in October 2007.

The FATF notice states;

“…Since its October 2007 Plenary meeting, the FATF has engaged with Iran and welcomes the commitment made by Iran to improve its AML/CFT regime. Consistent with its Statement on Iran, dated 11 October 2007, the FATF confirms its call to its members and urges all jurisdictions to advise their financial institutions to take the risk arising from the deficiencies in Iran’s AML/CFT regime into account for enhanced due diligence. Iran is encouraged to continue its engagement with the FATF and the international community to address, on an urgent basis, its AML/CFT deficiencies...”

The FATF specifically recognizes therefore the commitment made by Iran to improve its AML regime and encourages it to continue the same. The FATF had the power to impose other sanctions against Iran, but because of its open and transparent cooperation with the FATF, it has chosen not to alter the existing situation, and will continue to work with Iran to remedy all deficiencies.

However, this has not satisfied those officials in the US Government whose ambitions are to harm Iran at every possible opportunity.

Complinet has published a number of articles recently dealing with the impact of US Treasury behaviour on the Iranian banking community, both in the UK and elsewhere.

To recap, the US is deliberately engaged in actions designed to bring significant pressure on other banks and financial institutions, to encourage them to cease any form of financial activity with or for Iranian banks, anywhere in the world.

The source for this policy decision emanates from an office within the US Treasury called the Division of Terrorism and Intelligence, which is headed by Under Secretary Stuart Levey.

Levey has made no secret of his ambitions to bring Iran to its knees, financially and to destabilise its internal economy to such an extent that it will force a popular revolution to overthrow the present government in Iran. A recent quote from the Kansas City Star states;

‘…Washington has boasted that the US and existing UN sanctions, have taken a significant toll on Iran’s economy, particularly on its unemployment and inflation rates and raised pressure on the Government…’

To facilitate his ambitions, Levey and his satraps are always willing to spin news stories and put false and misleading interpretations on any reports which thus enable Iran to be cast in a bad light.

Complinet last reported on the way in which the meeting between the FATF and an Iranian delegation in Paris, in January of this year, was reported in the world media, as the result of a deliberately misleading story issued by the US Treasury.

Now, Levey has issued his own interpretation of the FATF announcement of 28th February 2008. Ignoring the fact that the latest FATF report means that nothing has changed with regard to the Iranian situation, speaking from Dubai where he is openly engaged in seeking to stir up anti-Iranian sentiments in the Gulf region, he deliberately fails to report the fact the FATF noted its recognition of its recent engagement with Iran, and the commitment shown by Iran to improving its AML/CTF position.

However, despite the increasingly bizarre attempts being made by Levey and his subordinates, including Daniel Glaser, to cast Iran in an unfavourable light, in the hope that by so doing, it will influence the UN to impose even further sanctions on Iran, the Iranians will continue to engage with the main body of the FATF in all attempts to ensure that their AML/CTF regime is fully in accordance with FATF requirements.

Daniel Glaser presently leads the US delegation to the FATF, and his name figured prominently in the previous misleading story which sought to undermine the real reason for the Iranian January meetings with the FATF in Paris. Like Levey, Glaser has been widely quoted as saying that his office is part of the engagement to deter foreign banks from doing business with Iran, and seeking to undermine the Iranian economy. In view of this obvious conflict of interests, Complinet has already questioned his suitability to be a co-chair of the FATF committee which sits in judgement on Iran’s compliance with the FATF requirements.

By adopting these measures of continually attacking Iran publicly, measures which are increasingly being disseminated in the Middle East, the US is painting itself into a corner and is being perceived in much the same light as the boy who cried ‘wolf’ once too often. It has become apparent that many will begin to think that they have protested too much!

More disinformation from the US Treasury

On Saturday 16th February 2008, the International Press Agencies all began carrying reports of a ‘secret’ meeting held between US and Iranian officals in Paris earlier in January.

Depending upon which agency you read determined what story you received, but suffice it to say that the majority of the articles carried by the US agencies all placed a major US ‘spin’ on the piece.

Take this as a typical example from the Kansas City Star;

“US secretly met Iran banking officials”

‘…A US official met secretly with Iranian banking officials and senior government aides who oppose punishing the Islamic nation for not doing enough to stop money laundering and terrorism funding…

The United States was represented by Daniel Glaser, the Treasury Department’s deputy assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes…The meeting was part of the Bush administratiuon’s attempts to ramp up international pressure on Iran to halt atomic activities that could lead to the development of nuclear weapons…’

The way this story is reported places a wholly inaccurate interpretation on the events, and attempts to portray the US’s part in these events in a fictitious light. It is yet another example of the way that the US Treasury continues to disseminate a stream of disinformation about Iranian affairs, particularly Iranian banking and financial affairs, as part of a deliberate US policy to destabilise the Iranian state and its internal economic policies. As the Kansas City Star states quite openly;

‘…Wsahington has boasted that the US and existing UN sanctions, have taken a significant toll on Iran’s economy, particularly on its unemployment and inflation rates and raised pressure on the Government…’

For the record and in the interests of fairness and accuracy, the meeting which took place in Paris at the HQ of the Financial Action Task Force, did so as the result of a specific request from the FATF, in a notice it published in October 2007, in which it expressed its concern over the apparent absence of Iranian laws dealing with anti-money laundering and in which it invited Iran to engage with the FATF, advising that ‘…The FATF looks forward to engaging with Iran to address these deficiencies...’

As a result of this notice, the Iranian Government accepted the FATF request and agreed to attend the meeting in Paris in January to discuss a whole range of issues regarding the state of the development of laws and regulations within Iran for the interdiction of money laundering and terrorist financing.

The meeting was co-chaired by the Italian representative and the US representative, Daniel Glaser. Quite why the US representative was chosen to chair this delicate meeting is not clear, but in light of recent events it may be thought more prudent that he will be replaced at future meetings.

The meeting was reported to be cordial, focused and covered a wide range of issues. The Americans it is reported, played no particularly significant part over any other participant, nor was the meeting anything to do with any policy initiatives on their part, either in Paris or elsewhere. They were merely present at the meeting in the same way as the other FATF representatives, all of whom would have expected the meetings to be kept confidential.

Complinet has recently reported some of the activities being undertaken by agents of the US Treasury in seeking to bring significant economic pressure on the Iranian banking community by threatening other banks and international businesses who have business with Iran that the US will seek to impose draconian penalties on those entities if they continue to do business with Iran.

Complinet has previously identified how the pressure for these unlawful activities has been directed from and by agents of the office of Stuart Levey, US Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. By focusing on the tactics of pressurizing foreign companies who trade or deal with Iran to drop their business activities, Levey and his team engage in a wide range of activities designed to bring financial and commercial pressure on Iran. The aim is to bring about a revolution from within Iran by so destabilizing the economy of the country that regime change will be effected through a popular revolution.

In view of the proximity of Mr Glaser to Mr Levey, it may be thought reasonable to assert that Mr Glaser is guilty of a significant conflict of interests, and that the Iranians might not unreasonably feel that their own transparent deliberations with the FATF are being undermined by Mr Glaser’s position as co-chair of the meetings, as he is a direct satrap of the very official who is doing everything he can to unfairly undermine the Iranian economy.

It is surely no accident that having observed the willing acceptance by Iran of the FATF invitation to enter multilateral discussions, followed by an even more recent announcement of the passing of the Iranian law outlawing money laundering, that the Americans could easily see that their widely trumpeted allegations of Iranian regulatory non-compliance would now begin to ring a bit hollow.

Hence, the sudden outburst of articles all claiming US initiative for engaging in these recent meetings, and playing up their involvement.

The FATF are engaging in a perfectly proper exercise of their function in encouraging Iran to share with FATF full details of her legislation and other proposed initiatives to engage in a full AML and CTF regime of compliance. In her turn, Iran is complying with the legitimate requests from the FATF, and will be engaging in other meetings when invited in the future.

It would be attractive if the Americans would cease their deliberate attempts to subvert the due process which is taking place, and allow those better-placed to judge the bona-fides of the Iranian procedures, to get on with their work. No-one suggests that the US should not be a party to these deliberations, but in the present circumstances it would be better, and it would certainly look a whole lot fairer to other countries, if Mr Glaser took a back seat.