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Obama admin’s delivery of cash to Iran conditioned on hostage release, indicating ransom

Posted by Tip Staff - August 18, 2016


The Obama administration’s delivery of $400 million in cash to Iran was contingent upon the release of American hostages, the State Department confirmed Thursday. At the State Department’s daily press briefing, Bradley Klapper of the Associated Press asked, “You’re saying that you wouldn’t give them the 400 million in cash until the prisoners were released. Correct?” State Department Spokesman John Kirby answered, “That’s correct.”
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the cash delivery was “a tightly scripted exchange specifically timed to the release of several American prisoners held in Iran.” According to the article, “U.S. officials wouldn’t let Iranians take control of the money until a Swiss Air Force plane carrying three freed Americans departed from Tehran on Jan. 17. Once that happened, an Iranian cargo plane was allowed to bring the cash home from a Geneva airport that day.” The Journal’s original breaking of the story earlier this month led to criticism and accusations of a ransom payment, which seems borne out by today’s revelations as well as by the fact that “U.S. officials...acknowledge that Iranian negotiators on the prisoner exchange said they wanted the cash to show they had gained something tangible.” Indeed, senior Justice Department officials objected to the payment due to concerns that it would appear to be a ransom.
The cargo plane that flew the cash from Geneva to Tehran belonged to Iran Air, which was designated as a terrorist entity by the Treasury Department in 2011 for being used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran’s Ministry of Defense to transport military-related equipment, including rockets and missiles. The Treasury asserted that “the IRGC is also known to disguise and manifest such shipments as medicine and generic spare parts.” The IRGC has in some instances taken control of commercial Iran Air flights with special cargo and discouraged Iran Air pilots from inspecting the cargo. U.S. officials have not indicated that such activity has stopped. The administration used a technicality to drop sanctions on the airline as part of the nuclear deal, stating that it was sanctioned under an executive order relating to weapons of mass destruction, not terrorism.


A co-founder of Hamas’ elite militia, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has denounced the terror organization for causing “destruction and devastation” and apologized to the Palestinian people, The Times of Israel reported Thursday.Muhammad Nazami Nasser wrote a Facebook post apologizing to nearly every Palestinian faction for stirring up disunity within Palestinian society. He specifically apologized to “Palestinians within and outside [of Palestine],” “the immortal Palestinian president Yasser Arafat,” Fatah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and other groups. He did not mention Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is also based in Gaza and sometimes works with Hamas.
Nasser said he was sorry for the “horror of hatred that lived within me toward [other political factions],” and for his “relentless work so that you would not have a geographical or political place on the national map….I apologize to you for my biggest dream, that you would all be buried beneath the ground, dead and motionless.”
Nasser blamed Hamas, which he called “the Devil,” for making him believe that his hatred of other factions “would bring me to the highest height of Paradise….My homeland has been destroyed because I couldn’t comprehend the acceptance of others. And what is worse, I thought I was working with religion.”
He asked Palestinians to forgive him, but acknowledged “it may not be helpful after all this destruction and devastation against religion, the homeland and the people.”
Nasser is a member of “Wataniyyin,” or patriots, a group that works to reconcile all Palestinian factions. He was also a member of the first Hamas cell to kidnap and kill Israeli soldiers, helping to murder Avi Sasportas and Ilan Saadon in 1989. He has never apologized to Israel. (via TheTower.org)

When eminent British physicist Stephen Hawking theorized, 42 years ago, that radiation emanates from black holes, no existing technology was powerful enough to prove it. Now, Israeli professor Jeff Steinhauer can say definitively that “quantum Hawking radiation” is an actual phenomenon. Steinhauer’s findings, published August 15 as the lead article in Nature Physics, describe the first observation of thermal, quantum Hawking radiation in any system. “We observe a thermal distribution of Hawking radiation, stimulated by quantum vacuum fluctuations, emanating from an analogue [model] black hole,” said Steinhauer, head of theAtomic Physics Lab at the Technion-Israel institute of Technology in Haifa. “This confirms Hawking’s prediction regarding black hole thermodynamics,” announced Steinhauer, winner of the Krill Prize in Physics in 2008. Steinhauer has been working exclusively on the proof since 2009 in his hand-assembled lab, replete with lasers and dozens of mirrors, lenses and magnetic coils to simulate a black hole – defined as a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light cannot get out. Motivated by an overriding curiosity regarding the laws of physics since he was a child, Steinhauer says that evidence for the existence of quantum Hawking radiation brings us one step further in our understanding of the physical laws of the universe. (via Israel21c)


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