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Leaked Iran Cables: Key Findings From Secret Documents

Westlake Legal Group xxpistachio-pics-11-facebookJumbo Leaked Iran Cables: Key Findings From Secret Documents United States Defense and Military Forces Suleimani, Qassim Quds Force Iraq War (2003-11) Iraq Iran Defense and Military Forces Abadi, Haider al-

Details from a trove of secret Iranian intelligence cables were published simultaneously by The Intercept and The New York Times on Monday. The leak exposed Iran’s vast influence in Iraq, detailing the painstaking efforts of Iranian spies to co-opt Iraqi leaders and infiltrate every aspect of political life.

The trove consists of roughly 700 pages of reports and cables written mainly in 2014 and 2015 by officers in Iran’s version of the C.I.A. who were based in Iraq. The documents were sent anonymously to The Intercept, which shared them with The Times.

The Intercept and The Times verified the authenticity of the documents but do not know who leaked them. In encrypted messages, the anonymous source said that he or she wanted to “let the world know what Iran is doing in my country Iraq.”

Here are the key takeaways.

The country has been roiled by deadly antigovernment protests in Baghdad and the Shiite-dominated south for nearly two months. Protesters have called for an end to Iranian influence and corruption. At least 300 people have been killed.

At the same time, tensions are high between the United States and Iran. President Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions last year. The White House has blamed Iran for attacks on Saudi oil facilities, reviewed war plans and rushed ships to the Persian Gulf.

The Trump administration also said it had intelligence showing that Iran was preparing attacks on American targets in Iraq. Iraqi officials are increasingly worried that a provocation on either side could set off a war between the powerful countries vying for dominance in their homeland.

Many of Iraq’s leading political, military and security officials have had secret “special relationships” with Iran, including Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi. The Iranians have long been known to influence Iraqi leaders, many of whom became allied with Iran as exiles battling the regime of Saddam Hussein, but the character of their relationships has rarely been revealed in such detail. The revelations could increase pressure on those officials as protests continue.

Many of the files show that as senior American diplomats met behind closed doors with their Iraqi counterparts in Baghdad and Kurdistan, their conversations were routinely reported back to the Iranians. A top political aide to a former speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, for example, was identified as an Iranian intelligence asset.

Iranian officials also cultivated networks of informants who had once worked for the Americans. After the American withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, many of those informants were jobless and fearful that their work as spies would be revealed.

One former C.I.A. asset, known by the nickname “Donnie Brasco,” offered to sell Iran the locations of agency safe houses, details of weapons and surveillance training, and the names of other Iraqis who had spied for the Americans.

The notion that the Americans essentially handed control of the country to Iran now enjoys broad support, even within the American military.

The cables show how Iran began amassing power in the chaotic aftermath of the 2003 American invasion. Iran quickly moved its best intelligence agents to Iraq, seeking to counter what it saw as Washington’s aggression.

The invasion, of course, became an occupation. The army was dismantled and officials linked to Mr. Hussein’s regime were stripped of their posts, fueling grievances in Sunni communities. As the country descended into sectarian conflict, Shiite communities looked to Iran as a protector.

The cables show how tensions arose between Iranian intelligence units as Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the commander of the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, recruited and mobilized Iraqi militias to defend its interests.

At one point, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the Iranian version of the C.I.A., feared that Iran’s gains in Iraq were being squandered because Iraqis resented the militias. Above all, they blamed General Suleimani, criticizing him for posting photos on social media publicizing his role in the military campaign against the Islamic State.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Iran Intel Leak: Main Takeaways From Secret Cables

Westlake Legal Group xxpistachio-pics-11-facebookJumbo Iran Intel Leak: Main Takeaways From Secret Cables United States Defense and Military Forces Suleimani, Qassim Quds Force Iraq War (2003-11) Iraq Iran Defense and Military Forces Abadi, Haider al-

Information from a trove of secret Iranian intelligence cables was published simultaneously by The Intercept and The New York Times on Monday. The leak exposed Iran’s vast influence in Iraq, detailing the painstaking efforts of Iranian spies to co-opt Iraqi leaders and infiltrate every aspect of political life.

The trove consists of roughly 700 pages of reports and cables written mainly in 2014 and 2015 by officers in Iran’s version of the C.I.A. who were based in Iraq. The documents were sent anonymously to The Intercept, which shared them with The Times.

The Intercept and The Times verified the authenticity of the documents but do not know who leaked them. In encrypted messages, the anonymous source said that he or she wanted to “let the world know what Iran is doing in my country Iraq.”

Here are the key takeaways.

The country has been roiled by deadly antigovernment protests in Baghdad and the Shiite-dominated south for nearly two months. Protesters have called for an end to Iranian influence and corruption. At least 300 people have been killed.

At the same time, tensions are high between the United States and Iran. President Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions last year. The White House has blamed Iran for attacks on Saudi oil facilities, reviewed war plans and rushed ships to the Persian Gulf.

The Trump administration also said it had intelligence showing that Iran was preparing attacks on American targets in Iraq. Iraqi officials are increasingly worried that a provocation on either side could set off a war between the powerful countries vying for dominance in their homeland.

Many of Iraq’s leading political, military and security officials have had secret “special relationships” with Iran, including Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and his predecessor, Haider al-Abadi. The Iranians have long been known to influence Iraqi leaders, many of whom became allied with Iran as exiles battling the regime of Saddam Hussein, but the character of their relationships has rarely been revealed in such detail. The revelations could increase pressure on those officials as protests continue.

Many of the files show that as senior American diplomats met behind closed doors with their Iraqi counterparts in Baghdad and Kurdistan, their conversations were routinely reported back to the Iranians. A top political aide to a former speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, for example, was identified as an Iranian intelligence asset.

Iranian officials also cultivated networks of informants who had once worked for the Americans. After the American withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, many of those informants were jobless and fearful that their work as spies would be revealed.

One former C.I.A. asset, known by the nickname “Donnie Brasco,” offered to sell Iran the locations of agency safe houses, details of weapons and surveillance training, and the names of other Iraqis who had spied for the Americans.

The notion that the Americans essentially handed control of the country to Iran now enjoys broad support, even within the American military.

The cables show how Iran began amassing power in the chaotic aftermath of the 2003 American invasion. Iran quickly moved its best intelligence agents to Iraq, seeking to counter what it saw as Washington’s aggression.

The invasion, of course, became an occupation. The army was dismantled and officials linked to Mr. Hussein’s regime were stripped of their posts, fueling grievances in Sunni communities. As the country descended into sectarian conflict, Shiite communities looked to Iran as a protector.

The cables show how tensions arose between Iranian intelligence units as Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the commander of the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, recruited and mobilized Iraqi militias to defend its interests.

At one point, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the Iranian version of the C.I.A., feared that Iran’s gains in Iraq were being squandered because Iraqis resented the militias. Above all, they blamed General Suleimani, criticizing him for posting photos on social media publicizing his role in the military campaign against the Islamic State.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

No, Mike Pompeo didn’t say we’re prepared to take military action against Turkey if need be

Westlake Legal Group mp No, Mike Pompeo didn’t say we’re prepared to take military action against Turkey if need be Turkey The Blog Saudi Arabia military Mike Pompeo Iran CNBC action

As I write this at 5 p.m. ET, political Twitter is in the process of being scandalized by the latest jolt to U.S. foreign policy, this time supposedly delivered by Mike Pompeo. CNBC is normally a reputable news source so you can understand why this tweet made jaws drop:

Westlake Legal Group 1-1 No, Mike Pompeo didn’t say we’re prepared to take military action against Turkey if need be Turkey The Blog Saudi Arabia military Mike Pompeo Iran CNBC action

Uh, how’s that? Turkey’s a NATO ally, buddy. And although Trump is known for changing his mind, standing aside so that Turkey can bomb our friends the Kurds and then turning around and threatening to bomb Turkey would be fickle and reckless even by Trump standards.

This is how CNBC is framing Pompeo’s comments on its website too, though:

Westlake Legal Group 2-2 No, Mike Pompeo didn’t say we’re prepared to take military action against Turkey if need be Turkey The Blog Saudi Arabia military Mike Pompeo Iran CNBC action

Thinkpieces have already been written in the past hour about the insane, NATO-shattering folly of America going to war with the Turks, all because of what Pompeo supposedly told CNBC this afternoon.

But what did he say, exactly?

“We prefer peace to war,” Pompeo told CNBC’s Wilfred Frost in a taped interview that aired on “Closing Bell” on Monday. “But in the event that kinetic action or military action is needed, you should know that President Trump is fully prepared to undertake that action.”

That’s accurate but misleading. The only way to appreciate how CNBC distorted his comments is to watch the exchange yourself, starting at 4:00 of the clip below.

It’s true that the anchor begins a long question by asking about Turkey and the sanctions the U.S. imposed after Erdogan ordered his invasion of Kurdish-held parts of northern Syria, an ally-vs-ally incursion. But he ends by referencing Iran’s attack on the Saudi oil fields, an enemy-vs-ally conflict . I think he meant to ask, very simply, what America intended to do if Erdogan resumed his offensive against the Kurds after the ceasefire notwithstanding the sanctions in place. What would be the next step taken by the White House to deter the Turks? What Pompeo heard, though, I think, was the reference to Iran and Saudi Arabia and took it as a general question about what America would be willing to do in that particular case and in the region generally to deter enemy powers. So he gave the standard diplomatic answer: We prefer peace, we choose nonviolent deterrents like sanctions first, but we never take the military option off the table.

Since the question began as a question about Turkey, though, and since it’s not crystal clear that Pompeo misunderstood it, CNBC is selling it as the Secretary of State dangling a threat of military strikes on a NATO partner. Er, he is not. In fact, if you watch the last minute or so of the clip, Pompeo reiterates that we disagree with NATO allies all the time on foreign policy (e.g., the Iran nuclear deal) but we nonetheless put aside our differences to work on matters of shared interest. Does that sound like a guy who’s ready to bomb a NATO country because they won’t call off an invasion which the president has spent the better part of a week defending, claiming that all Erdogan wants is to “clean out” Kurdish terrorists from the border area?

It’s silly to chastise the White House for things they haven’t said or done when there’s so much that they have said or done that deserves chastisement. For instance, the Pentagon is reportedly now so worried about Trump blindsiding them with orders for instant withdrawals for which the military is unprepared that they’ve begun drawing up contingency plans for a full evacuation of Afghanistan within weeks just in case the word comes down. Why not an orderly withdrawal with plenty of lead time for the Defense department to do things the right way? Because you never know what mood might strike the president on a given day. We can safely rule out a “bomb Turkey” mood striking him, though. At least anytime soon.

The post No, Mike Pompeo didn’t say we’re prepared to take military action against Turkey if need be appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group mp-300x159 No, Mike Pompeo didn’t say we’re prepared to take military action against Turkey if need be Turkey The Blog Saudi Arabia military Mike Pompeo Iran CNBC action   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Report: U.S. Hit Iran With a Cyber Attack After Saudi Oil Field Was Struck

Westlake Legal Group trump-iran-SCREENSHOT-300x161 Report: U.S. Hit Iran With a Cyber Attack After Saudi Oil Field Was Struck white house washington D.C. War United Nations The Hill Morning Briefing Iran Front Page Stories donald trump cyberwar Cybersecurity communism China Trade Talks China Capitalism Allow Media Exception 2019

Get ready, being this is the future of war.

In the wake of the attack on the Saudi oil fields, it looked like we were going to strike Iran once U.S. intelligence confirmed it was indeed the Iranians. President Trump made some comments that we had enough of the behavior of the regime and it looked like an attack would happen at any minute.

Well, it did, just not how it has happened for the past 30 years. A new report out says that the United State did strike Iran but on the cyber level and not with bombs.

According to The Hill

The U.S. hit Iran with a secret cyberattack after a September strike on two Saudi oil facilities that Washington and Riyadh both blame on Tehran, according to Reuters.

Two U.S. officials told the news service that the operation, which took place late last month, targeted Tehran’s ability to spread “propaganda.” One of the officials said the attack hit physical hardware, but declined to provide further information.

“They must have dreamt it,” Iranian Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi responded, according to Iran’s Fars news agency.

One person’s dream is another person’s nightmare.

The United States has been the target of a number of cyberattacks from Russia, China, and North Korea over the past 10 years. Our dependence on the internet and, quite frankly, our grid are an open target for our enemies. So much so that Trump issued an executive order earlier this year about an EMP attack. Trump issued an executive order to prepare for an EMP attack

So, it is not surprising that the U.S would show a bit of what it can do to Iran to give them something to think about and also to Iran’s pals the Russians and the Chi-coms.

Hopefully, our best and brightest are working to make sure we stay ahead of the curve here and prevent this country’s enemies from striking in the same way. The U.S is incredibly dependent on electronic transactions of numerous types and if that capability went down or the power grid was fried, this country would be tested like never before.

As President Trump showed with this move, we can attack you without dropping bombs on your country.

We need to keep the same thing in mind in this country.

Check out my other posts here on Red State and my podcast Bourbon On The Rocks plus like Bourbon On The Rocks on Facebook and follow me on the twitters at IRISHDUKE2 

The post Report: U.S. Hit Iran With a Cyber Attack After Saudi Oil Field Was Struck appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group trump-iran-SCREENSHOT-300x161 Report: U.S. Hit Iran With a Cyber Attack After Saudi Oil Field Was Struck white house washington D.C. War United Nations The Hill Morning Briefing Iran Front Page Stories donald trump cyberwar Cybersecurity communism China Trade Talks China Capitalism Allow Media Exception 2019   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

U.S. Indicts Turkish Bank on Charges of Evading Iran Sanctions

Westlake Legal Group 15dc-turkeybank-facebookJumbo-v2 U.S. Indicts Turkish Bank on Charges of Evading Iran Sanctions United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Turkey Trump, Donald J Politics and Government Money Laundering Lobbying and Lobbyists Justice Department Iran Halkbank Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Embargoes and Sanctions

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Tuesday sharply escalated economic pressure on Turkey by filing fraud and money-laundering charges against the country’s second-largest state-owned bank, accusing it of helping Iran evade United States sanctions.

The charges against the institution, Halkbank, came as the administration sought ways to project that it was taking a tough line with Turkey after President Trump effectively signaled this month that the United States would not stand in the way of Turkey’s desire to send forces into northern Syria.

Mr. Trump’s willingness to allow the military action has thrown the region into chaos and ignited an intense bipartisan backlash against him at home. As the criticism has mounted, the White House has emphasized the steps it is taking to restrain Turkey’s offensive, including a round of sanctions announced on Monday.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey had repeatedly raised the Halkbank case with Mr. Trump over the past year, urging the United States not to take further action, saying that to do so would unfairly expose Turkey to severe financial risks. One of the bank’s top executives was convicted on related charges last year, and the Justice Department has been reviewing since then whether to pursue the case further as Turkish officials and lawyers pressed the government not to indict the bank.

The charges appeared to catch at least some advisers to Turkey’s government off guard. They were filed by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, which has been investigating the bank’s role in what has been called the largest Iran sanctions violation in United States history, as billions of dollars’ worth of gold and cash were illegally transferred to Iran in exchange for oil and gas.

Justice Department officials said high-ranking government officials in Turkey “participated in and protected this scheme,” with some receiving bribes worth tens of millions of dollars and helping to hide the conspiracy from the scrutiny of regulators in the United States.

“This is one of the most serious Iran sanctions violations we have seen, and no business should profit from evading our laws or risking our national security,” said John C. Demers, the assistant attorney general for national security.

Lawyers and lobbyists representing the bank, including Brian D. Ballard, a friend of Mr. Trump’s and the vice chairman of his inauguration, have been trying for more than a year to persuade the Trump administration not to file charges against the bank, or at least to understand that doing so could threaten the economy of a NATO ally.

Turkish officials had directly made other appeals to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The lobbying campaign led some sanctions experts in Washington to question if the case might have been delayed or dropped.

After Mr. Trump came under intense criticism for choosing to stand aside as Turkey pursued its plan to assert control over a section of northern Syria, he began striking a tougher tone toward Mr. Erdogan, focusing in particular on the threat of harming Turkey’s economy if it put United States military personnel at risk or engaged in atrocities against Kurds in the region.

“I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path,” Mr. Trump said in a statement Monday, shortly before signing an executive order to impose the first set of sanctions.

Representatives for the Turkish government — who in interviews early Tuesday did not give any hint that they knew the criminal charges were imminent — said late in the day that they suspected a link between the new prosecution of the bank and the invasion of Syria.

“The timing is beyond any reasonable coincidence,” said one individual who has been working with the bank, but spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter.

The Justice Department and the White House did not respond to questions about whether the decision was influenced by Turkey’s decision to send troops in Syria.

Mr. Ballard, along with Robert Wexler, a former House Democrat from Florida, and James P. Rubin, a State Department official during the Clinton administration, had each been working at times over the last two years to lobby on the matter, Justice Department filings show. They had reached out in 2018 to the office of Vice President Mike Pence and the State Department, among others.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor and adviser to Mr. Trump, also was involved in the matter in 2016 and 2017, trying to secure the release of one suspect in the case, in a possible prisoner swap with a pastor whom Turkey was holding on espionage charges that the United States claimed were fabricated.

Andrew Hruska, a former federal prosecutor in New York now with the law firm King and Spalding, had also been working on the matter, communicating directly with the Justice and Treasury Departments, on behalf of the bank.

Mr. Erdogan brought the case up with President Trump in November 2018, and his son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, the country’s finance minister, following up a few days later with Mr. Mnuchin, pushing him to closely follow the case.

Lawyers for the bank did not dispute that money was illegally moved through Halkbank to Iran starting around 2012 and continuing through 2016.

But they argued that the moves were largely orchestrated by an Iranian-Turkish gold trader, named Reza Zarrab, who had hired Mr. Giuliani to try to secure his release.

Turkish officials argued that Mr. Zarrab, who then decided to plead guilty to charges and become a witness for the prosecution, had lied to American prosecutors. The Turkish officials said Mr. Zarrab accused the bank and government officials in Turkey of conspiring in the effort as part of an attempt to reduce any time he would spend in prison, after he was arrested by American authorities in 2016.

In January 2018, in part because of Mr. Zarrab’s testimony, a Halkbank executive named Mehmet Hakan Atilla was convicted of violating sanctions as part of the case. At his sentencing in May 2018, a federal judge said that while Mr. Atilla had “unquestionably furthered” the scheme, he was “somewhat of a cog in the wheel” and not “a mastermind.”

These assertions reflected claims made by federal prosecutors that the wrongdoing had reached high into the Turkish government.

But until Tuesday, there had been no public follow-up by the Justice Department, nor any action by the Treasury Department, which separately has the power to impose sanctions on the bank or impose a fine.

The bank was formally charged on Tuesday with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to violate sanctions, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Representatives for the bank said that they feared the charges alone might lead other global banks to limit doing business with Halkbank, and if a multibillion-dollar penalty results, it could threaten the overall viability of the institution.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

U.S. Indicts Turkish Bank on Charges of Evading Iran Sanctions

Westlake Legal Group 15dc-turkeybank-facebookJumbo-v2 U.S. Indicts Turkish Bank on Charges of Evading Iran Sanctions United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Turkey Trump, Donald J Politics and Government Money Laundering Lobbying and Lobbyists Justice Department Iran Halkbank Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Embargoes and Sanctions

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Tuesday sharply escalated economic pressure on Turkey by filing fraud and money-laundering charges against the country’s second-largest state-owned bank, accusing it of helping Iran evade United States sanctions.

The charges against the institution, Halkbank, came as the administration sought ways to project that it was taking a tough line with Turkey after President Trump effectively signaled this month that the United States would not stand in the way of Turkey’s desire to send forces into northern Syria.

Mr. Trump’s willingness to allow the military action has thrown the region into chaos and ignited an intense bipartisan backlash against him at home. As the criticism has mounted, the White House has emphasized the steps it is taking to restrain Turkey’s offensive, including a round of sanctions announced on Monday.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey had repeatedly raised the Halkbank case with Mr. Trump over the past year, urging the United States not to take further action, saying that to do so would unfairly expose Turkey to severe financial risks. One of the bank’s top executives was convicted on related charges last year, and the Justice Department has been reviewing since then whether to pursue the case further as Turkish officials and lawyers pressed the government not to indict the bank.

The charges appeared to catch at least some advisers to Turkey’s government off guard. They were filed by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, which has been investigating the bank’s role in what has been called the largest Iran sanctions violation in United States history, as billions of dollars’ worth of gold and cash were illegally transferred to Iran in exchange for oil and gas.

Justice Department officials said high-ranking government officials in Turkey “participated in and protected this scheme,” with some receiving bribes worth tens of millions of dollars and helping to hide the conspiracy from the scrutiny of regulators in the United States.

“This is one of the most serious Iran sanctions violations we have seen, and no business should profit from evading our laws or risking our national security,” said John C. Demers, the assistant attorney general for national security.

Lawyers and lobbyists representing the bank, including Brian D. Ballard, a friend of Mr. Trump’s and the vice chairman of his inauguration, have been trying for more than a year to persuade the Trump administration not to file charges against the bank, or at least to understand that doing so could threaten the economy of a NATO ally.

Turkish officials had directly made other appeals to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The lobbying campaign led some sanctions experts in Washington to question if the case might have been delayed or dropped.

After Mr. Trump came under intense criticism for choosing to stand aside as Turkey pursued its plan to assert control over a section of northern Syria, he began striking a tougher tone toward Mr. Erdogan, focusing in particular on the threat of harming Turkey’s economy if it put United States military personnel at risk or engaged in atrocities against Kurds in the region.

“I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path,” Mr. Trump said in a statement Monday, shortly before signing an executive order to impose the first set of sanctions.

Representatives for the Turkish government — who in interviews early Tuesday did not give any hint that they knew the criminal charges were imminent — said late in the day that they suspected a link between the new prosecution of the bank and the invasion of Syria.

“The timing is beyond any reasonable coincidence,” said one individual who has been working with the bank, but spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter.

The Justice Department and the White House did not respond to questions about whether the decision was influenced by Turkey’s decision to send troops in Syria.

Mr. Ballard, along with Robert Wexler, a former House Democrat from Florida, and James P. Rubin, a State Department official during the Clinton administration, had each been working at times over the last two years to lobby on the matter, Justice Department filings show. They had reached out in 2018 to the office of Vice President Mike Pence and the State Department, among others.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor and adviser to Mr. Trump, also was involved in the matter in 2016 and 2017, trying to secure the release of one suspect in the case, in a possible prisoner swap with a pastor whom Turkey was holding on espionage charges that the United States claimed were fabricated.

Andrew Hruska, a former federal prosecutor in New York now with the law firm King and Spalding, had also been working on the matter, communicating directly with the Justice and Treasury Departments, on behalf of the bank.

Mr. Erdogan brought the case up with President Trump in November 2018, and his son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, the country’s finance minister, following up a few days later with Mr. Mnuchin, pushing him to closely follow the case.

Lawyers for the bank did not dispute that money was illegally moved through Halkbank to Iran starting around 2012 and continuing through 2016.

But they argued that the moves were largely orchestrated by an Iranian-Turkish gold trader, named Reza Zarrab, who had hired Mr. Giuliani to try to secure his release.

Turkish officials argued that Mr. Zarrab, who then decided to plead guilty to charges and become a witness for the prosecution, had lied to American prosecutors. The Turkish officials said Mr. Zarrab accused the bank and government officials in Turkey of conspiring in the effort as part of an attempt to reduce any time he would spend in prison, after he was arrested by American authorities in 2016.

In January 2018, in part because of Mr. Zarrab’s testimony, a Halkbank executive named Mehmet Hakan Atilla was convicted of violating sanctions as part of the case. At his sentencing in May 2018, a federal judge said that while Mr. Atilla had “unquestionably furthered” the scheme, he was “somewhat of a cog in the wheel” and not “a mastermind.”

These assertions reflected claims made by federal prosecutors that the wrongdoing had reached high into the Turkish government.

But until Tuesday, there had been no public follow-up by the Justice Department, nor any action by the Treasury Department, which separately has the power to impose sanctions on the bank or impose a fine.

The bank was formally charged on Tuesday with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to violate sanctions, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Representatives for the bank said that they feared the charges alone might lead other global banks to limit doing business with Halkbank, and if a multibillion-dollar penalty results, it could threaten the overall viability of the institution.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Who Are the Kurds, and Why Is Turkey Attacking Them in Syria?

Westlake Legal Group 14Kurds-Explainer1-facebookJumbo Who Are the Kurds, and Why Is Turkey Attacking Them in Syria? United States Defense and Military Forces United States Turkey Syrian Democratic Forces Syrian Army Syria Russia Kurds Iran Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

The Turkish invasion of Kurdish-held territory in northern Syria has complicated an already chaotic war.

What began eight years ago as a series of nonviolent protests against the Syrian government morphed into an international conflict, between dozens of local factions, the Islamic State and several foreign countries.

Now, an American ally is attacking a group that fought side by side with American troops for years — and much of the world is reeling from the war’s sudden turn.

Let’s walk through the details of how the Kurds came to be in the center of a dizzying conflict.

Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Syria, making up between 5 and 10 percent of the Syrian population of 21 million in 2011. They live mostly in the north of the country, close to the border with Turkey, alongside Arabs and other ethnic groups. There are also large Kurdish populations in Turkey, Iraq and Iran, but there is no country with a Kurdish majority.

As peaceful demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad descended into an armed civil war in 2011 and 2012, various factions vied for control of Syria. These included pro-government militias, rebels fighting for a more democratic state, Islamist extremists, and militias from ethnic and religious minorities seeking to protect their areas from attack.

Among them were several Kurdish militias, the strongest of which was the People’s Protection Units, known by its Kurdish initials, the Y.P.G.

For several years, the Obama administration resisted calls to play a direct role in the Syrian war, preferring instead to provide funding and training for some rebel groups.

But President Barack Obama changed his mind as the Islamic State took advantage of the chaos of the war to capture vast swaths of Syrian and Iraqi territory.

As Islamic State fighters swept across Syria, the People’s Protection Units emerged as one of the few Syrian armed groups consistently able to take on the extremists. When the international coalition, led by the United States, sought local partners to contain the militants, they saw the Kurdish militia as the safest option.

As the Kurdish militia gradually forced ISIS out of northern Syria — losing an estimated 11,000 troops in the process — it assumed governance of the land it captured. The militia eventually took control of about a quarter of the Syrian land mass, including most of the border with Turkey and areas mostly populated by Arabs and other ethnic groups.

The militia is an offshoot of a Kurdish guerrilla group known as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party that has waged a decades-long insurgency inside Turkey. Turkey and the United States consider it to be a terrorist organization.

Turkey sees Kurdish control of an area so close to its border as a major security threat, and fears that the area could become a haven for dissidents fleeing Turkey — or a springboard for insurgents plotting attacks on Turkish territory.

Turkish hostility to Kurdish groups put the United States in a bind: one American ally, Turkey, a NATO member and a fellow adversary of the Syrian government, was eager to crush another American ally, the Kurdish militia that fought on the front lines against ISIS.

The Obama administration tried to play down the militia’s connections to guerrillas in Turkey, encouraging the group to change its name and enlist more non-Kurdish fighters. The group is now called the Syrian Democratic Forces, and about 40 percent of its fighters are Arab or from other ethnic backgrounds, according to a 2016 estimate by American officials.

American forces also began to act as de facto peacekeepers, conducting patrols of the Turkish border, first on their own, and then in tandem with Turkish troops.

In recent months, the United States persuaded the Kurdish authorities to withdraw forces from the border and dismantle a series of defensive fortifications, as a show of good will to Turkey.

President Trump has long wanted to withdraw American forces from Syria, saying that the United States must avoid “endless wars.” He first ordered a withdrawal in December, but suspended the plan after his defense secretary, Jim Mattis, resigned in protest.

American troops seemed to be in Syria for the long haul, with American commanders assuring their Kurdish counterparts that they would be able to keep the peace in northern Syria for the foreseeable future.

But then Mr. Trump suddenly changed his mind again on Oct. 6 during a phone call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. Then he ordered American troops to leave the border area.

That gave Turkey open access to Kurdish territory, and a force consisting of Turkish troops and their Syrian Arab proxies began an invasion on Oct. 9.

Not entirely.

Initially, American troops withdrew from a relatively small part of the Turkish-Syrian border, redeploying to American outposts in other parts of Kurdish-held Syria.

But amid the chaos of the invasion, in which American troops were almost shelled by accident, the Pentagon has now ordered a complete withdrawal from northern Syria. The retreat will most likely take several days.

A small American base in southern Syria will remain for now.

The Trump administration has threatened to impose economic sanctions on Turkey for its attacks on the Kurds, and on Monday President Trump said that he was halting trade negotiations with Turkey and doubling tariffs on imports of Turkish steel.

The immediate winners were Turkey and its Syrian Arab proxies, who had captured over 75 square miles of previously Kurdish-held territory by the end of the weekend.

The Islamic State might also profit from the instability, since Kurdish-led fighters no longer have the manpower to root out remaining militant cells or to guard roughly 11,000 captured ISIS fighters detained on Kurdish-held territory. The Kurds also operate more than a dozen camps for displaced families, in all holding tens of thousands of people, many of them the wives and children of Islamic State fighters.

The Syrian government is another beneficiary: On Sunday, the Kurdish authorities allowed Syrian troops to return to large parts of northern Syria in which they had no presence for more than half a decade.

Officially, the Syrian Army will just assist the Kurds in their defense of the area, with civilian life still managed by the Kurdish-led administration. But many fear that eventually the Assad regime, and its feared security forces, will take back control.

Russia and Iran, Mr. al-Assad’s main international protectors, are the other winners.

America’s withdrawal from northern Syria allows the two countries to expand their influence in the region. In particular, Russia has emerged as the main power broker in negotiations between the Kurds, Mr. al-Assad and the Turkish government.

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End endless wars? Trump to send 1,800 more U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia after abandoning the Kurds

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And so the betrayal of the Kurds becomes a betrayal of Trump’s fans too. For days he hammered his stupid “end endless wars” talking point on Twitter to defend his decision to retreat from northern Syria before a Turkish onslaught against the Kurds. All I’m doing is keeping a campaign promise, he insisted. I told you on day one that I was going to get American troops out of harm’s way in the Middle East. We’ve spent too much blood and treasure policing these interminable regional conflicts. Pulling out of Syria in time for Erdogan to feed the Kurds into his meat grinder was just a way of putting America first.

There were problems with that argument. For starters, he wasn’t actually withdrawing any troops from Syria. He was moving troops stationed in the north to other parts of the country so that they weren’t in Turkey’s way. No one was coming home. Beyond that, there’s the small matter that he not only continues to support the interminable Saudi war on Yemen, he’s actually doing so over congressional objections. Twice now Congress has passed bills demanding that he end American assistance to the Saudis. Trump has vetoed those bills. Congress is making more of an effort to end U.S. involvement in one particular endless war in the Middle East than Trump is.

But for cripes sake, why would he make his stance on Turkey and the Kurds a matter of “ending endless wars” if he knew he was about to deploy more American troops to the region, specifically 1,800 more to Saudi Arabia? He didn’t have to. Like I said last night, he could have presented the Turkish offensive simply as a war between two allies which required the United States to remain studiously neutral. The Saudis, on the other hand, are pitted against Iran and its proxies, a more traditional conflict between a U.S. ally and a U.S. enemy. We can take sides in that one. Instead he invited all of his fans out on a limb in which the Kurdish betrayal was part of some master policy of extricating ourselves from the region’s problems, only to turn around and saw that limb off by deepening American involvement in the Saudis’ problems.

Stephen “redsteeze” Miller aptly calls this the “Shoot a person on Fifth Avenue and not lose a single supporter” test. Trump’s treating his own fans as rubes in asking them to look at the Saudi deployment in the context of supposedly ending endless wars and think, “Yeah, this all makes sense.”

“Secretary Esper informed Saudi Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Muhammad bin Salman this morning of the additional troop deployment to assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia,” Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathon Hoffman said in a statement Friday. “Taken together with other deployments, this constitutes an additional 3,000 forces that have been extended or authorized within the last month.”

The US has increased the deployment of forces in the region by 14,000 since May

When the Pentagon announced additional deployments after the Saudi attack, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters that the US troops would be “defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defense.”

Remember this dopey soundbite from a few days ago?

What heroic effort did our Saudi friends make at Normandy, apart from continuing business as usual in selling us oil, to justify 1,800 more American troops being sent there now?

The president grasps at whatever rationale is nearest at hand to defend his policies, never mind whether he’s likely to contradict them a day later. Jonathan Tobin hits at a fundamental contradiction of his Middle East policy, and at his foreign policy generally. On the one hand, Trump wants to intimidate America’s enemies into doing his bidding; on the other hand, he’s an isolationist at heart and repeatedly telegraphs his interest in withdrawing abroad, including from longtime bases in places like Japan and Germany. You can “end endless wars” by withdrawing from everywhere and accept the regional consequences from the likes of Iran and China, finding comfort in the fact that at least our boys aren’t in the middle of it. Or you can carry a big stick and keep troops stationed abroad knowing that that creates a risk of being sucked into a major war at a time and place not of your choosing. But pick one.

The problem for Trump is not his willingness to listen to his neo-isolationist instincts. Rather it is that his desire to extricate America from the Middle East cuts against three other key goals of his regional policy: Defeating ISIS, pressuring Iran and scrapping the nuclear deal it signed with the Obama administration, and maintaining strong support for the state of Israel. He couldn’t beat ISIS and seek to isolate Iran and bolster Israel against its enemies while withdrawing from the Middle East. He chose appearing to do the latter over doing the former, endangering the success of his pressure campaign against Iran and potentially giving ISIS the opening it needs to make a comeback in the process…

Seen in this light, the “Normandy Doctrine” is merely an excuse by which any friend of the United States — including the Kurds, who have, despite their small numbers and the danger they have faced, proven both faithful and useful to American regional interests — can be discarded on a whim. Far from an expression of nationalist self-interest, it is a pretext for withdrawal not so much from potential wars but from the policies that will do the most to prevent them. Much like Barack Obama’s ignominious retreats from Syria and Iraq, which Trump has correctly pegged as the primary reasons for the rise of ISIS, the president’s foolish decision to abandon the Kurds may set in motion a chain of events that will drag him or a successor back into war in the Middle East.

Precisely right about the “Normandy Doctrine.” We could justify backstabbing virtually any ally on grounds that “they didn’t help us during [insert previous conflict here].” Even the Brits could be theoretically betrayed for refusing to lend a hand in Vietnam — although that would be an awkward talking point for Trump since he didn’t lend a hand either. Remember, in his eagerness to exploit grievances, the president once reportedly reminded Justin Trudeau during a conversation about U.S. tariffs on Canada that troops from his country once burned down the White House. That’s Trump to the core: He’s never the aggressor, never in the wrong. There’s always some slight or supposed malfeasance by his critic, like the Kurds somehow not showing up for D-Day, to justify his own bad policy in terms of just desserts.

The UN Security Council held a meeting yesterday on Turkey’s assault on the Kurds, by the way. Six members joined together to condemn it. The United States wasn’t one of them.

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NYT: Giuliani, Tillerson clashed over “prisoner swap” with Turkey

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Does this sound like a Tom Hanks movie? If so, let me ruin it for readers with this spoiler: Nothing actually happened in the end. The New York Times reports on an argument in the Oval Office between Rudy Giuliani and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in which Giuliani proposed a prisoner swap with Turkey. The deal would have sent the man behind a notorious Iran-sanctions evasion scheme in exchange for Pastor Andrew Brunson, although you have to read a long way in to find that out:

During a contentious Oval Office meeting with President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in 2017, Rudolph W. Giuliani pressed for help in securing the release of a jailed client, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader, as part of a potential prisoner swap with Turkey.

The request by Mr. Giuliani provoked an immediate objection from Mr. Tillerson, who argued that it would be highly inappropriate to interfere in an open criminal case, according to two people briefed on the meeting.

The gold trader, Reza Zarrab, had been accused by federal prosecutors of playing a central role in an effort by a state-owned Turkish bank to funnel more than $10 billion worth of gold and cash to Iran, in defiance of United States sanctions designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

But at the White House meeting in early 2017, Mr. Giuliani and his longtime friend and colleague, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, pushed back on Mr. Tillerson’s objections.

This looks like an attempt to paint Giuliani as even more of a cowboy/loose cannon than he already is. If so, this movie is about as compelling as, well, Loose Cannons. (If you’ve seen this well-cast stinker, you know what I mean.) As much as that might apply to Ukraine, it doesn’t appear to apply here, especially with the set-up that the NYT supplies. In a battle over legal analysis, I might not pick Giuliani over Tillerson ten times out of ten, but I’d pick Michael Mukasey twelve times out of ten. Giuliani might very well be a loose cannon, but Mukasey most certainly is not.

Furthermore, the issue of Brunson’s detention was a very big problem for Trump, politically and legally. Turkey’s government had targeted him merely for proclaiming Christianity a little too eagerly, in opposition to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s drift towards Islamist governance. Trump’s evangelical supporters demanded action to get Brunson out of prison, and preferably out of Turkey altogether, on top of which the political targeting of an American abroad is indeed a serious diplomatic matter. It’s very telling that the NYT waits until the very last paragraph to reveal the identity of the American for whom Giuliani and Mukasey proposed this swap.

That doesn’t make the Zarrab-for-Brunson swap proposal a good idea, but it wasn’t a ridiculous idea either. It also wouldn’t have been inappropriate for Zarrab’s attorneys, Giuliani and Mukasey, to make that proposal in an effort to work diligently on their client’s behalf. It might have worked to get Brunson out, although Brunson’s supporters might not have appreciated a swap with an actual criminal, nor might Brunson himself, who was reluctant to leave Turkey and his converts. Evangelicals wanted Trump to force Erdogan to release Brunson on Trump’s terms alone, based on the fact that Erdogan was railroading him. Turkey wanted Erdogan dissident Feithullah Gulen, though, not Zarrab, although Erdogan might have taken him as a second option.

In the end, Trump sided with Tillerson — which actually undermines the notion that Giuliani runs Trump to some extent. Zarrab got convicted, flipped on a bigger player who also got convicted, and more than a year later, Trump succeeded in using economic pressure to get Brunson released. Trump even rejected a final demand to waive the billions of dollars in fines imposed on the Turkish bank Zarrab and Mehtmet Hakan Attila used in the sanctions-evasion scheme. This story can therefore be boiled down to this: Attorneys argue for clemency on behalf of client and lose. That’s not even a compelling script for a Lifetime flick.

Giuliani expressed surprise that this was being made into a story at all, but he did give the NYT a casting suggestion:

He likened his efforts — which also included apprising Jeff Sessions, then the attorney general, of what he wanted — to maneuvers during the Cold War to trade enemy spies for Americans detained overseas.

Mr. Giuliani questioned how his actions were any different. “It happened to be a good trade,” he said. “I expected to be a hero like in a Tom Hanks movie.”

Giuliani means Bridge of Spies, but unfortunately his Ukrainian adventures might more closely resemble Volunteers. Regardless, this story is much less than advertised, and not very honestly constructed, either.

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Giuliani Pressed for Turkish Prisoner Swap in Oval Office Meeting

Westlake Legal Group merlin_128860991_515f45cd-79d9-4cb1-8039-df1c6a6e01e9-facebookJumbo Giuliani Pressed for Turkish Prisoner Swap in Oval Office Meeting Zarrab, Reza (1983- ) United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Turkey Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Tillerson, Rex W Sessions, Jefferson B III Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Nuclear Weapons Mukasey, Michael B Iran Giuliani, Rudolph W Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Embargoes and Sanctions Brafman, Benjamin Bharara, Preet Atilla, Mehmet Hakan

During a contentious Oval Office meeting with President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in 2017, Rudolph W. Giuliani pressed for help in securing the release of a jailed client, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader, as part of a potential prisoner swap with Turkey.

The request by Mr. Giuliani provoked an immediate objection from Mr. Tillerson, who argued that it would be highly inappropriate to interfere in an open criminal case, according to two people briefed on the meeting.

The gold trader, Reza Zarrab, had been accused by federal prosecutors of playing a central role in an effort by a state-owned Turkish bank to funnel more than $10 billion worth of gold and cash to Iran, in defiance of United States sanctions designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

But at the White House meeting in early 2017, Mr. Giuliani and his longtime friend and colleague, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, pushed back on Mr. Tillerson’s objections.

Rather than side with his secretary of state, Mr. Trump told them to work it out themselves, according to the two people briefed on the meeting. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

In the end, no such prisoner swap took place. But the episode has opened a new chapter in Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to interject himself into the Trump administration’s diplomacy while at times representing clients with a direct interest in the outcome.

The Oval Office meeting occurred before Mr. Giuliani became Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer for the special counsel’s Russia investigation. In recent weeks, Mr. Giuliani’s campaign to press Ukrainian officials to investigate the son of one of Mr. Trump’s political rivals, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., has thrust him into the middle of the House impeachment inquiry. And on Wednesday, two of Mr. Giuliani’s associates in that campaign were arrested on charges of violating federal campaign finance laws.

Mr. Giuliani, in an interview on Thursday, defended his actions in the gold trader case, which were first reported on Wednesday by Bloomberg.

Mr. Giuliani, well known for his hawkish views on Iran, said he had been willing to represent Mr. Zarrab because the proposed prisoner swap would have secured the release of an American pastor who was being held in Turkey on terrorism-related charges the United States considered fabricated.

He likened his efforts — which also included apprising Jeff Sessions, then the attorney general, of what he wanted — to maneuvers during the Cold War to trade enemy spies for Americans detained overseas.

Mr. Giuliani questioned how his actions were any different. “It happened to be a good trade,” he said. “I expected to be a hero like in a Tom Hanks movie.”

But his involvement, as a private citizen and friend of the president in the months after Mr. Trump passed him over for the role of secretary of state, left some in the administration uncomfortable, given the strained and complicated relationship between the United States and Turkey.

Mr. Giuliani’s moves also ran counter to a long-running American effort to curb Iran’s nuclear program as the United States was trying to punish players, like Mr. Zarrab, who helped the regime evade sanctions.

The case, called the single largest evasion of Iranian sanctions in United States history, revolved around a scheme by the Turkish bank in 2012 and 2013 to send billions of dollars in gold and cash to Iran in exchange for oil and natural gas.

Mr. Zarrab, who has Turkish and Iranian citizenship, was arrested in Florida in March 2016 on a family trip to Disney World, and was accused of an illicit operation that relied on false documents and front companies to move the assets to Iran from the accounts of Halkbank, the second-largest state-owned lender in Turkey.

Getting him out of the United States was a high priority for Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, because Mr. Zarrab had information that would later implicate senior bank officials, as well as Turkish government officials, in the scheme.

Indeed, after the prison swap failed, Mr. Zarrab became a key witness and testified that in 2012, Mr. Erdogan, then Turkey’s prime minister, had ordered that two Turkish banks be allowed to participate in the sanction-evasion scheme.

Mr. Giuliani said that he was brought into the effort by Mr. Muskasey, who had been hired by Mr. Zarrab’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman.

The two men had been pressing their case with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office in early 2017 when Mr. Tillerson joined the conversation, according to the two people briefed on the meeting. Mr. Tillerson, who could not be reached for comment, was surprised to find Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Mukasey at what he thought would be a regular private meeting with the president, the people said.

Mr. Trump asked Mr. Giuliani to tell Mr. Tillerson what he wanted, which prompted Mr. Tillerson’s objections.

Mr. Mukasey’s spokesman did not return a request for comment.

Mr. Giuliani, in the interview on Thursday, disputed the account provided to The New York Times of his discussion with Mr. Tillerson about Mr. Zarrab — and the assertion that Mr. Tillerson replied that such a step was inappropriate. But Mr. Giuliani did not specify what aspects of the account he found inaccurate, saying he could not discuss the meeting because of attorney-client privilege.

“This is a completely malicious story coming from the consistent attack on me to try to destroy my credibility,” Mr. Giuliani said.

He added that at the time, “nobody ever complained” to him from the Trump administration about his role in the case.

Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Mukasey were persistent in the effort. Court filings show that they discussed the matter with State Department officials in Turkey before meeting with Mr. Erdogan himself, and that Mr. Sessions and Preet Bharara, then the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, were informed “on a confidential basis.”

Mr. Giuliani argued in court filings that “none of the transactions in which Mr. Zarrab is alleged to have participated involved weapons or nuclear technology, or any other contraband, but rather involved consumer goods, and that Turkey is situated in a part of the world strategically critical to the United States.”

And Mr. Mukasey, in an April 2017 court filing, asserted that “senior U.S. officials have remained receptive to pursuing the possibility of an agreement.”

But officials at the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan remained opposed to the Zarrab trade, as did Mr. Tillerson. Mr. Giuliani, in the Thursday interview, said he wasn’t sure why the proposal fell apart.

What’s clear is that Mr. Zarrab pleaded guilty in October 2017 to the charges, and became a key witness in federal criminal cases prosecuted in New York that led to the conviction of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, an executive at Halkbank.

During Mr. Atilla’s criminal trial in late 2017, the judge overseeing the case criticized Mr. Giuliani’s role in trying to secure Mr. Zarrab’s freedom, noting that such a move might benefit Iran.

“Most respectfully, the Giuliani and Mukasey affidavits appear surprisingly disingenuous in failing to mention the central role of Iran in the indictment, and indeed, failing to mention Iran at all in their affidavits,” the judge, Richard M. Berman, said, citing statements in which the men suggested Mr. Zarrab’s release might help the United States.

Mr. Atilla was sentenced to 32 months in prison. But he was released early from jail in July and then returned to Turkey, where he was greeted at the airport like a hero in Istanbul by Turkey’s treasury and finance minister, Berat Albayrak, who is also Mr. Erdogan’s son-in-law. Mr. Zarrab’s whereabouts have not been disclosed by the United States government.

The American pastor, Andrew Brunson, was also released, without a trade involving Mr. Zarrab, in October 2018. The move was credited with an overall improvement in relations between Mr. Trump and Mr. Erdogan.

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