Thursday, March 06, 2008

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.

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