March 12, 2008, - 12:46 pm
The “Chiquita Mike” Chertoff Connection: Relatives of Five Slain Missionaries Sue U.S. Company for Financing Terrorists
By Debbie Schlussel
Families of five U.S. missionaries slain by Colombian terrorists sued Chiquita Brands International, Inc., accusing the company of secretly financing terrorist group FARC.
But Chiquita’s financing of terrorist groups is not just an accusation. It’s something Chiquita admitted . . . to Michael “Serpenthead” Chertoff, as I noted last year. “Serpenthead” a/k/a “Chiquita Mike” was in 2001, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division. And he deliberately looked the other way.
He met with his cronies, who were then running Chiquita and who told him of the continuing payments. And, even though the group was on the State Department terrorist list, he did nothing about it, deliberately ignoring the situation. The payments, with Serpenthead/Chiquita Mike’s knowledge, continued for about another year.
Given that, it’s a disgrace that the controversy lasted but a day and that this man who allowed terrorism financing and pay-offs to continue heads the Department of “Homeland Security.” Hello . . . ? Oh, and–surprise! surprise!–the Justice Department, last year, decided not to criminally prosecute the Chiquita execs for paying off terrorists because they’d call Serpenthead to the stand, and it would be embarrassing. Yup, that’s “justice”.
It’s too bad this suit was only filed now. That means that on a judicial timetable, the case will not go to trial until after President Obama takes office, at which time Chertoff will be gone from DHS. It would have been nice to see the relatives of those killed by the terrorists Chertoff’s buds paid off put Serpenthead on the stand while he still pretended to be running America’s security.
But, mark my word, this case will be embarrassing for Chertoff, as it should be. That this man, who allowed American executives to pay protection money to murderous thugs, heads any law enforcement agency is a disgrace.
And it makes you wonder which other terrorist groups got and still get pay-offs with the Serpentheads tacit approval. Hezbollah? HAMAS? Islamic Jihad? Don’t put it past him.
He should be behind bars. I would say he’s their “bitch.”
But I’ll be nicer about it. He’s their “chiquita.”
*** Just a reminder/flashback. Here are a couple of excepts from major newspapers on Chertoff’s acquiescence to pay-offs to terrorists. From the Wall Street Journal:
On April 24 [,2003], [Chiquita head] Mr. [Roderick] Hills . . . went to the Justice Department with Messrs. Olson and Urgenson and Ms. Harris to report the payments. Among those attending was Mr. Hills’ longtime acquaintance Michael Chertoff, then in charge of the Justice Department’s criminal division [DS: he was Assistant U.S. Attorney General] and now chief of the Homeland Security Department. Mr. Hills and Mr. Chertoff were colleagues at the law firm of Latham & Watkins LLP in the early 1980s, when Mr. Hills already had been a White House counsel and SEC chair and Mr. Chertoff was still a junior attorney. . . .
Mr. Hills and Mr. Olson left the meeting confident that Mr. Chertoff had deferred a decision about whether payments [DS: TO A TERRORIST GROUP!] could continue, according to lawyers familiar with the case. Ten additional payments were made between May and September totaling about $134,000, according to court filings. . . .
Mr. Taxay [a Justice Dept. attorney on the case] declined to comment, as did Mr. Chertoff through a spokesman. . . .
Chiquita made half a dozen more payments totaling more than $145,000 through February 2004.
From the Washington Post:
On April 24, 2003, a board member of Chiquita International Brands disclosed to a top official at the Justice Department that the king of the banana trade was evidently breaking the nation’s anti-terrorism laws.
Roderick M. Hills, who had sought the meeting with former law firm colleague Michael Chertoff, explained that Chiquita was paying “protection money” to a Colombian paramilitary group on the U.S. government’s list of terrorist organizations. Hills said he knew that such payments were illegal, according to sources and court records, but said that he needed Chertoff’s advice. . . .
Chertoff, then assistant attorney general and now secretary of homeland security, affirmed that the payments were illegal but said to wait for more feedback, according to five sources familiar with the meeting.
Justice officials have acknowledged in court papers that an official at the meeting said they understood Chiquita’s situation was “complicated,” and three of the sources identified that official as Chertoff. They said he promised to get back to the company after conferring with national security advisers and the State Department about the larger ramifications for U.S. interests. . . .
Sources close to Chiquita say that Chertoff never did get back to the company or its lawyers.. . . And Chiquita kept making payments for nearly another year. . . . Chiquita’s executives left the meeting convinced that the government had not clearly demanded that the payments stop.
Tags: America, assistant attorney general and now secretary, Attorney General, board member, Chair, chief, Chiquita International Brands, Chiquita Mike, counsel, Department of Justice, Department of State, Dept. attorney, former law firm colleague, Hizballah, Islamic Jihad, junior attorney, King, Latham & Watkins LLP, law, law enforcement agency, Michael Chertoff, Obama, official, Olson, paramilitary group, President, Roderick M. Hills, Securities and Exchange Commission, spokesman, State Department, Taxay, the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, U.S. government, United States, USD, Wall Street Journal, White House