May 16, 2006, - 2:47 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Only in America do we help and promote those who help and promote our enemies.
Today’s Detroit Free Press has a report on a “Spiffed Up Gas Station,” by consistently clueless reporter Julie Edgar.
What’s she clueless about, this time? Well, she does a whole story promoting a new Shell gas station right near where I live, owned by Shakir Alkhafaji.
As I’ve written numerous times–and as has been reported in her own newspaper (check the Free Press database, Julie)–Alkhafaji made all of his dough by trading with Saddam Hussein in the oil-for-food scam. He’s one of only three Americans to do so (one is Samir Vincent, who already pled guilty to Federal charges, and the other is oil billionaire Oscar Wyatt). Not a peep about this in the story, though.
Here’s what I wrote, in 2004, about Alkhafaji (in my review of “Fahrenheit 9/11″), and it’s just the Cliff’s Notes version:
Jim McDermott was on the take from Saddam Hussein. McDermott was one of three Congressmen who went on Saddam’s propaganda tour of Iraq in Fall 2002. The trip was funded by Life for Relief and Developmen (LRD), a “charity” which laundered money to terrorist group Hamas’ Jordanian operation. LRD is funded in part by Shakir Al-Khafaji, a man who did about $70 million in business with Saddam through his Falcon Trading Group company (based in South Africa). LRD’s Iraqi offices were raided by US troops last week, and the Detroit-area “charity” is suspected of funding uprisings, such as the one in Fallujah. Its officials bragged of doing so at a recent private US fundraiser.
Mr. Alkhafaji, one of two [DS: since I wrote this, the number has risen to three] Americans named in Iraqi newspapers as a participant in Saddam’s “Oil for Food” scam, gave Congressman McDermott $5,000 in October 2002 for McDermott’s legal defense fund in a lawsuit against him.
(LRD and Alkhafaji were under investigation by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) in Detroit, until Special Agent in Charge Brian Moskowitz a/k/a “Abu Moskowitz” came to town and ended these investigations. Something to do with their close relationship with his buddy, “former” terrorist and FBI Award Revokee Imad Hamad. Ditto for FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel Roberts, whose Detroit office was also investigating Alkhafaji.)
The gas station, which I previously knew was an Alkhafaji enterprise, is one of many of his Saddam-profits-financed projects I see on my daily drives around town. He also owns an Italian restaurant nearby and numerous other ventures. All of them paid for by Saddam’s money. His various campaign contributions, mostly to liberal Democrats, were seen as Saddam’s contributions. Alkhafaji was Saddam’s Democrat in America (his Republican was another Detroit area Iraqi expat).
In 2003, I asked Alkhafaji to do an interview on my radio show, but he insisted on seeing the questions. After I faxed them, he was suddenly “at a funeral in Iraq,” even though I saw him at a local gas station pumping gas into his car. (Since he is a Shi’ite who betrayed Shi’ites for money from Saddam, he cannot go back to Iraq. The Shias would kill him for being a traitor. Of note, his brother was murdered by Saddam, but he continued to do biz with Saddam, anyway.)
Again, not a hint of any of this in Julie Edgar’s Detroit Free Press article. She’s more interested in his fancy
Syrian limestone and columns on the facade, granite-topped, custom-made cabinets throughout, ceramic-tiled bathrooms . . . .
Gee, sounds just like one of Saddam’s palaces. Only he’s on trial. And Shakir Alkhafaji is free, living just miles from me. Thanks to our hands-off feds. And reporters who are dazzled by luxe architecture, but not phased by financial dealings with a mass murderer enough to mention it.
But many of his fellow former Iraqis in Detroit are angry. They keep pointing me to his Alkhafaji’s many ventures asking why. Why has he escaped prosecution, when he made millions in blood money from Saddam, in violation of our laws?
That’s the question the Detroit Free Press needs to revisit. But they’re too busy writing about palatial gas stations.
So, Julie, will that be regular or unleaded?
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