If Donald Trump has his Achilles heels- his tax returns being the biggest one,- then Hillary Clinton also has a huge Achilles heel- the Clinton Foundation. And one disturbing relationship is that with the Alavi Foundation which contributed $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation. One donation was made two days after federal prosecutors indicted the entity as a terrorist front.
The Foundation was formed in 1973 by the Shah of Iran to promote Iranian charitable interests in the United States. After the Iranian Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini renamed it the Mostazafan Foundation, and then the Alavi Foundation. Their largest asset was a building on 5th Avenue in New York called the Piaget Building, built by the Shah.
As early as 1979, the US knew that the foundation and it’s partner, Melli Bank of Iran, were fronts for procuring funds for Iran’s nuclear program aspirations. In 1999, the US designated Melli Bank as an arm of the Iranian government. The bank was formally designated a terrorist organization in 2007. In 1993, the foundation’s director (Manoucher Shafie) along with his successor- Mohammed Hossein Mahallati- were suspected of, but never charged with, exporting germ warfare toxins to Iran.
Mahallati’s father- Ayatollah Fazlollah Mahallati- was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s mentor and head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. He oversaw the bombing of the Marines barracks in Beirut in 1983, an action that killed 241 Americans. His brother- Mohammed Ja’far- served as Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations from 1987 to 1989. During that time, the Alavi Foundation gave $1.4 million to a Brooklyn mosque run by the blind sheikh, Omar Abdul-Rahman now serving a life sentence for his role in the 1993 WTC bombing. The former ambassador has since become a popular lecturer on college campuses and teaches religion at Oberlin College.
In 2009, amid mounting evidence that the Alavi Foundation was a front for terrorist activity and funding, federal prosecutors moved to seize the Piaget Building in New York City. In 2008, another entity with close ties to the Alavi Foundation- ASSA- was designated a terrorist entity by the Justice Department. Just two days later, they made a donation to the Clinton Foundation.
The Clinton Foundation is a billion dollar entity and $50,000 in donations from the Alavi Foundation are peanuts compared to other donations. What makes this story both fascinating and disturbing is that despite the evidence, the indictments and the partial seizure of the Piaget Building and all the publicity and notoriety at the time and since, the Clinton Foundation has steadfastly refused to return the $50,000. This building and it’s seizure was big news in the New York area since it stands at 5th and 52nd in Manhattan. The Clinton Foundation claimed that the donations went to a tsunami relief fund and were “already spent.”
In November 2008, then-Senator Hillary Clinton and soon to be Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said she did not favor direct talks with the Iranian government and favored increased sanctions. That all changed after becoming Secretary of State when she openly endorsed low-level direct talks. Some of this change of heart came about as a result of Obama administration policy. But one wonders how much was motivated by the Clinton Foundation’s association with the Alavi Foundation.
In her 2008 presidential run, Clinton hired Hassan Nemazee as her national finance director, an Iranian-American investment banker. He had previously worked for John Kerry’s campaign in 2004 and the DSCC in 2006. He was a strong advocate of normalizing US relations with Iran. In 2004, John Kerry suggested in a debate that the US provide Iran with nuclear fuel to help their “peaceful” nuclear program.
In 2004, Nemazee had sued a pro-democracy Iranian group in the United States for defamation. They alleged that Nemazee was an agent of the theocratic Iranian government. The lawsuit was eventually settled out of court and the depositions sealed.
In August 2009, Nemazee was indicted for fraud in a $74 million scheme involving CitiBank and HSBC. Apparently, he filed bogus documents in order to secure the loan. He was sentenced to 12-1/2 years in prison. Ironically, the indictment was sought by the same prosecutor who went after the Alavi Foundation.
But, Nemazee’s ties to the Clinton extend to Bill’s presidency. The president had actually appointed him as ambassador to Argentina, but had to withdraw the nomination after details of his business practices and donations to Democrats became known. Still, Nemazee donated over $100,000 to Bill Clinton’s legal defense fund.
In 2008, he traveled to Damascus, Syria with members of the RAND Corporation and Zbigniew Brzezinski (who was advising Obama at the time) to meet Bashir Assad. They were trying to work out a deal between Iran and Syria to help stabilize the situation in Iraq. The study group on Iraq that President Obama formed then formally adopted this policy.
Nemazee has obviously influenced Democratic foreign policy as early as 2000 after Clinton left office. In 2002, before an AIC audience, John Kerry lamented the fact that relations between the United States and Iran were strained and he was saddened by the fact that President Bush had included Iran in his “axis of evil.” Nemazee was also present at that meeting.
The story is filled with strange coincidences and crossing of paths that should not be ignored. There is always the mechanisms that allow for plausible deniability on the part of any Clinton. The Clinton Foundation is a complicated nexus of activity and donors that needs to be peeled back layer upon layer. Many times, those layers intersect with Clinton or Democratic Party operatives.
Consider this: Is it mere coincidence that Marc Rich, the indicted investment banker and donor to Bill Clinton and the DNC who fled the country to Switzerland only to return after being pardoned by Bill Clinton on his last day in office, was a tenant at the Piaget Building owned by the Alavi Foundation? Since the Reagan administration, the federal prosecutors in New York City had been on the tail of the Alavi Foundation. Yet, after Clinton left office, they donated to his and Hillary’s foundation. Hmmmm…..