MORNING GLORY: A Jathran-ian Tale of Intrigue, Oil Assets and Hypocrisy

 

Petroleum Facilities Guards which seized control.. 'Libya lost $68 bln in oil revenue since 2013 -NOC I News by Country I Reuters'

“Petroleum Facilities Guards which seized control..” ‘Libya lost $68 bln in oil revenue since 2013 -Reuters’  HERE

 

A 26 January 2016 update from the Authors:   On the 25 January 2016 Reuters reported that the National Oil Company–NOC chairman stated that over the last three years Libya has lost $68 Billion in lost oil revenues.

National Oil Corp Chairman Mustafa Sanallah “blamed most of Libya’s loss in oil revenue on Petroleum Facilities Guards which seized control over key export facilities of Zueitina, Ras Lanuf and Es Sider.”

Ibrahim Jathran is the head of those “Petroleum Facilities Guards which seized control over key export facilities of Zueitina, Ras Lanuf and Es Sider.”

 Mr. Jathran  actions are the subject of this article.  His US Government FARA documents are in our 21 January 2014 article The Ari Ben-Menashe – Ibrahim Jathran Documents Filed with the US Government.

__________________________

Our 2 April 2014 article: MORNING GLORY: A Jathran-ian Tale of Intrigue, Oil Assets & Hypocrisy
SAADI GADDAFI 'Videotapes and oil ports - Al-Ahram Weekly'

SAADI GADDAFI ‘Videotapes and oil ports – Al-Ahram Weekly’ HERE

Intrigue:

Recently, we have witnessed a compelling confession detailing the plot by remnants of the defunct regime (Saadi Gaddafi) aligning with the destabilizing separatist movement of Ibrahim Jathran.  We have had old faces of the regime-turn-revolution-alliance collaborating with new international state actors in an attempt to destabilize the fledgling Libyan democracy.   The vortex of this intrigue is the tanker,  Morning Glory.   Swirling around the ship are facts generating questions. Are the tanker’s owners – Emirati or Saudi; why was the Panamanian registry banner exchanged for North Korean flag of convenience; why are the ship’s documents arranged/managed by an Egyptian company; and why is a 36,000-ton-tanker-recently sold, once roaming the Gulf, now in the Mediterranean with a Pakistani crew.  Further, because of the Morning Glory fiasco, we witnessed a Libyan Prime Minister depart (Ali Zeidan) and an American Navy Seals’ special ops mission resulting in the commandeering of the oil tanker.  All of this intrigue culminated in a Security Council resolution demanding the contents of the Morning Glory’s hold to be delivered to the internationally recognized legal owners, the Libyan Government.  Our PDF copy: SAADI GADDAFI ‘Videotapes and oil ports – Al-Ahram Weekly’

Oil Assets:

Morning Glory’s oil assets valued at $35 million could change Libya’s political landscape by sustaining the cash-starved separatist movement of Ibrahim Jathran as it desperately tries to pay its soldiers so they maintain control the seized oil ports.  Opposing Jathran is the Libyan government which is hampered by security/financial issues because of the seized ports.  The Libyan Government must stop the separatist movement from obtaining finances in-order to leverage a negotiated end to the seized ports.

As the issue of the oil tanker Morning Glory moves from the politicians to the attorneys;  be it prosecutors, judges or maritime lawyers, who are vying for the tanker’s detainment or return, an aspect within the narrative must now be discussed and remedied by the US Government.  We offer the Ari Ben-Menashe and Ibrahim Jathran documents,  which will be the basis of our discussion.

 

Hypocrisy: the Cards the US Government held to their Chest

One could argue from an anti-federalist stance, President Obama did the right thing by the Libyan people with the navy seals’ operation, but it should be known the United States Government is not entirely guilt-free in this issue.  Branches of the US Government KNEW that this scenario would likely occur.  More disturbing is that the US Justice (DOJ) and State (DOS) Departments had given PRIOR ACCEPTANCE to the stated lobbying actions of Ibrahim Jathran’s agents.

Note that we are not implying that these Departments knew or aided in the specifics, such as the date, tanker name and registry, but both Departments KNEW and ACCEPTED that it was in line with US National Security, for the Jathran’s agents to seek buyers and arrange logistics for the oil under his control.

We refer to an attached consultancy agreement in the FARA registration statement 6200 filed with the US Government on 11th December 2013.   This registration statement and another related one were approved by the US Government in January 2014.  We refer to point 1 of page 1 of the attached consultancy agreement between Ibrahim Jathran and the Government of Cyrenaica’s representative Abdul Hamid El Kezza and Ari Ben-Menashe, president of the consultancy firm of Dickens & Madson (Canada), Inc.:

…..In addition, we shall strive to provide you with economic aid by solicit:.!rig buyers for your oil when the need arises as well as tankers for the transport of oil…

Registration Statement 6200’s approval came after a review was completed by the Justice Department’s “FARA Registration Unit of the Counterespionage Section (CES) in the National Security Division (NSD) which is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Act.”   As the 6200’s consultancy agreement was reviewed by the NSD’s Counterespionage Section (CES) under FARA rules it was also forwarded to the State Department for review.   Note, this is shall as the legal term, meaning what is mandatory.

(b) The Attorney General shall, promptly upon receipt, transmit one copy of every registration statement filed hereunder and one copy of every amendment or supplement thereto filed hereunder, to the Secretary of State for such comment and use as the Secretary of State may determine to be appropriate from the point of view of the foreign relations of the United States.  Failure of the Attorney General so to transmit such copy shall not be a bar to prosecution under this subchapter.

FARA REGULATIONS: DOJ & DOS knew and approved of #6200 & 6202

FARA REGULATIONS: DOJ & DOS knew and approved of #6200 & 6202  HERE

 

At the State Department, the FARA regulations affirm that the Secretary of State determines if these statements are “appropriate from the point of view of the foreign relations of the United States.”   As the registration statements with attached consultancy agreement were approved, one can conclude that the DOS accepted without objection the registration of two agents working on behalf of Mr. Jathran to seek buyers and arrange logistics for the oil under his control.

Therefore, with DOS prior knowledge and acceptance of the stated actions of Mr. Jathran’s agents, the DOS press statement rings just a bit disingenuous. We are not saying that in her press conference Ms. Psaki personally knew, but as DOS spokesperson she should have known that in mid-December two Libya-related FARA Registration Statements came to the DOS and left ACCEPTED as “appropriate from the point of view of the foreign relations of the United States.”

The official March 9th DOS press statement:
Statement on Illicitly Obtained Oil from Libya / Violation of Libyan Law
The United States is deeply concerned by reports that a vessel sailing under the name Morning Glory is loading a cargo of illicitly obtained oil at the Libyan port of As-Sidra. This action is counter to law and amounts to theft from the Libyan people. The oil belongs to the Libyan National Oil Company and its joint venture partners. These partners include U.S. companies in the Waha consortium. Any oil sales without authorization from these parties places purchasers at risk of exposure to civil liability, penalties and other possible sanctions in in multiple jurisdictions.

 

The Foreign Alien Registration Act.

Back-stepping, we need to examine what is FARA for this discussion.   We refer to their website.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) was enacted in 1938. FARA is a disclosure statute that requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities. Disclosure of the required information facilitates evaluation by the government and the American people of the statements and activities of such persons in light of their function as foreign agents. The FARA Registration Unit of the Counterespionage Section (CES) in the National Security Division (NSD) is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Act.

 

The FARA statements related to Jathran & Government of Cyrenaica: the Specifics

We chose to place these documents on our site because Mr. Jathran held a press conference to deny their existence.  We thought the people of Libya should see the actual documents as they read the published details.

6200 was Received by NSD/FARA Registration Unit 12/11/2013 1:23:14 PM

Ari Ben-Menashe, President and Director of Dickens & Madson Canada, Inc filed this registration statement as an application to be an agent to represent the Cyrenaica Transitional Council, Ibrihim Said al-Jathran, Political Bureau of Cyrenaica and Usama Buera.

6202 was Received by NSD/FARA Registration Unit 12/20/2013 5:22:18 PM

Patrick B. Hughes, a shareholder in Adams Jones Law Firm, P.A, a Wichita, Kansas firm that “concentrates in the areas of real estate, business and employment, litigation, estates and family law” , filed this registration statement as an application to be an agent to represent the Government of Cyrenaica, Ibrahim al Jathran, and Usama Buera, through Dickens & Madson Canada, Inc.

A relevant addition on Ari Ben Menashe:

The prominent Canadian philosopher and Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at York University, Dr. Howard Adelman has given his critical insight into the issue of Libyan Assets Recovery for which we thank him.  Dr. Adelman wrote this passage discussing Ari Ben Menashe’s past connections to the American Government.  Interesting considering Mr. Menashe links to the US government and that he has been working constantly as a lobbyist in Libya since 2013.   At present he is now simultaneously working for two Libyan political factions.  More intriguing is that while working as Ibrahim Jathran’s agent the April 2014 Morning Glory oil tanker incident occurred as a direct result of Mr. Menashe’s stated lobbying activities.   Dr. Adelman writes:

“The bottom line, of the three questionable agents in the race to recover the stolen loot, Menashe is by far the most experienced. After his service to Mossad, he went on to help ensure the election of Ronald Reagan in the fight against Jimmy Carter. He traces his résumé back to the election of Ronald Reagan for he was the agent who went to Tehran to persuade the government to continued holding the American hostages until after the election, thereby ensuring that Carter continue to bear the Scarlet letter of his inability to get the hostages returned while Reagan would enjoy the glory as part of his inauguration. Menashe was central in the Iran-Contra scandal and earlier in the plot to abduct Mordechai Vanunu from London and have him returned to Israel where Venunu spent decades in prison. Menashe’s apparent biggest handicap is that he has ostensibly been employed by the nominal government in Benghazi associated with al-Qaeda and, other than IS, least acceptable to Egypt, Russia and the U.S.   Read More…

Dr. Adelman’s site is Howard Adelman, Politics, philosophy, film, and other things… 

 

The Story and details of 6200 and 6202:

The story of Mr. Jathran’s decision to hire an international consultant broke on the 6th January 2014 with the National Post article.  The most important element of these statements and what binds them, is the attached consultancy agreement in 6200.  Both statements refer to it and both applicants, Mr. Ben-Menashe and Mr. Hughes recognize that they are bound by and are subject to the scope of work within that agreement.

From 6202: Point 7 of Exhibition B
Patrick B. Hughes, an attorney with Adams Jones Law Firm, P.A. provides services to Dickens & Madson Canada, Inc. with respect to various matters. One of those matters is Dickens & Madson Canada, Inc.’s role under its Consultancy Agreement with the Government of Cyrenaica, (Registration No. 6200)….

US Government- FARA 6200 Consultancy Agreement Point 1 of page 1

US Government- FARA 6200 Consultancy Agreement Point 1 of page 1  HERE

 

For our discussion we refer to point 1 of page 1 of the consultancy agreement of 6200. It was signed between Ibrahim Jathran and the Government of Cyrenaica’s representative Abdul Hamid El Kezza and Ari Ben-Menashe, president of the consultancy firm of Dickens & Madson (Canada), Inc.  To view the entire agreement, please refer to our website or the FARA site.   In this point, Mr. Ben-Menashe of Dickens & Madson Canada, Inc., details the services that will be provided:

1. Our lobbying services shall consist of maintaining
such contacts with the executive and/or the legislative
branches of the. aforesaid government or governments or
other institutions as you shall in consultation with us,
deem advisabie, in order to urge the institution and/or
maintenance of legislative and/or executive policies
favorable to your movement, and the elimination or
prevention of such policies unfavorable to your movement.
In particular, we shall strive, among other* goals, to gain
political recognition for your government from the Russian
Federation, to strengthen your military forces by providing
you grants for military equipment and training from various
governments. In addition, we shall strive to provide you
with economic aid by solicit:.!rig buyers for your oil when
the need arises as well as tankers for the transport of
oil. We shall also strive to assist you in developing your
private sector activity both locally and internationally.
We shall, upon your payment and registration of this
contract, provide you for your movement, with a grant oil
seventy five million ($”’5,000,000.00) US dollars from the
Russian Federation per your instruction.

Besides the arranging the of the sale of oil, among other services provided by Mr. Ben-Menashe and Mr. Hughes are lobbying for international recognition, military aid and training, and aiding in the receipt of a grant for $75 million from the Russian Federation.

 

Obvious Errors in 6200 and 6202 which are a Basis to be Revoked

As of this publishing, our review of the documents found that 6200 and 6202 are still rife with blatantly obvious omissions and misleading statements of facts.  One does not need to be lawyer to recognize that these documents have intentional omissions.  And if we can see the omissions why wouldn’t the FARA Registration Unit?

Let’s start by examine together the most obvious example.  In both applications, “8b” of Exhibit A, notice that the last two questions are left unanswered.  The choice of “Yes” or “No” was not filled in.  Further, in statement 6200 the word “Unknown” was intentionally typed in.
6200

Ari Ben-Menashe's US Government document filed on behalf of Ibrahim Jathran

Ari Ben-Menashe’s US Government document filed on behalf of Ibrahim Jathran

6202

Ari Ben-Menashe's US Government document filed on behalf of Ibrahim Jathran

Ari Ben-Menashe’s US Government document filed on behalf of Ibrahim Jathran

With the addition of “Unknown”, Mr. Ben-Menashe cannot attribute their omission to simple oversight.  Rather, the intentional addition of “Unknown” is indication of what seems to be an intentional attempt to deceive the US Government.

Further, the questions left blank in “8b” are referring to “financing and subsidizing by a foreign government…”  As we know from the previously mentioned point 1 of page 1 of the consultancy agreement, Mr. Ben-Menashe informed his client that they will be receiving $75 million from a foreign government, in this case, the Russian Federation.  Thus, this statement appears to become a willful act of making a false statement of material fact.

So, if we can spot the obvious omission, we ask again, why didn’t the Foreign Registration Unit?  Here are the penalties for knowingly lying to the US government.  From the FARA site:

ENFORCEMENT AND PENALTIES
Any person who willfully violates any provisions of this Act or any regulations thereunder, or in any registration statement or supplement thereto or in any other documents filed with or furnished to the Attorney General under the provisions of this Act willfully makes a false statement of a material fact or willfully omits any material fact required to be stated therein or willfully omits a material fact or a copy of a material document necessary to make the statements therein and the copies of documents furnished therewith not misleading, shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for not more than five years. For some offenses the punishment shall be a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.

FARA Registration Unit's Enforcement

FARA Registration Unit’s Enforcement  HERE

There are punishments and fines.  But, what is the likelihood of an indictment or conviction?  “Since 1966 there have been no successful criminal prosecutions under FARA and only 3 indictments returned or information filed charging FARA violations”, so the odds of being convicted or even having someone look at you crossed-eyed, are slim.   This would explain Mr. Ben-Menashe and Mr. Hughes actions and motivations.   What explains the US Government actions or lack there of?   Why allow the applicants to violate the US government’s own regulations?

 

The US Policy for Libya: its Insincerity

It seems there are only two explanations for why the US Government would violate their own regulations to approve these obviously deceptive registration statements:  staff in both DOJ and DOS signed off without reading them OR it seems the United States Government is operating within an evolving agenda with respect to Libya.

Well, we can say with certainty that the oversight and negligence are not to blame.   In fact, we can say with certainty that these registrations statements were approved based on an American agenda.  Oversight and deniability can not be an excuse because FARA Registration Unit was notified about the invalidity of the statements.

An aside: please note that an American agenda will not be the source of speculation in this discussion as it would be just that, speculation.  Merely, the acknowledgement that one exists is enough for this discussion. 

When approached with a detailed assessment of the obvious misleading statements, discrepancies and omissions in both applications #6200 and #6202, the FARA Registration Unit acknowledged but still upheld the approval of the registration statements.   An excerpt from the FARA Registration Unit:

From: FARA.Public [mailto:FARA.Public@usdoj.gov]

Disclosure of the required information facilitates evaluation by the Government and the American people of the statements and activities of foreign agents.

Accordingly, Dickens & Madson Canada, Inc., and Adams Jones Law Firm, P.A. are registered foreign agents, and their registrations are available for public examination.

We hope you find this information useful. Thank you for your interest in FARA.

Regards

FARA Registration Unit staff

We would like to reiterate that the office of FARA Registration Unit Chief Heather Hunt, herself a lawyer, reaffirmed the approval of the two agents for Mr. Jathran & the Government of Cyrenaica.  In other words, the FARA Registration Unit found that the actions of Mr. Jathran’s  agents were STILL  “appropriate from the point of view of the foreign relations of the United States.”   The net-result is that Mr. Ben-Menashe and Mr. Hughes are still in business and working for their clients.

 

The Legacy of Morning Glory, the Integrity of Libya Oil Assets and a Remedy

On the 19th of March, the United Nations Security Council passed a Security Council resolution with teeth which assures the integrity of the Libyan Oil assets and gave member nations authorization to enforce the resolution by allowing them to “board ships suspected of carrying oil from Libyan rebel-held ports.”   This is the US response to the UN resolution.  We found Ambassador Power’s speech so positive in a time when all we see is that Libya is on the brink of...  that we would like to publish the entire statement:

Statement by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on Security Council Resolution 2146 on Libya, March 19, 2014.       AS DELIVERED

Libya is in the midst of a difficult political transition after more than 40 years of dictatorship. We stand with those working to build a brighter, democratic future for the Libyan people, and strongly support Libya’s efforts to strengthen security, protect human rights, and grow the country’s economy. Good stewardship of Libya’s oil resources is critical to supporting Libya’s successful democratic transition. Libya’s oil revenue funds the vast majority of the country’s budget, allowing the government to provide security, deliver basic services, and invest in the Libyan people. Theft of Libyan oil is theft from the Libyan people.

Today’s resolution will make such theft much more difficult. This measure will allow the international community to impose sanctions on any vessels transporting crude oil without authorization. States are now required to prohibit transactions with respect to such oil on designated vessels. Designated vessels carrying unauthorized Libyan oil are now barred from using any bunkering services or ports. Member States are now authorized to take the necessary and appropriate measures to intervene and secure the return of designated vessels to Libya. These enforcement measures signal to the people and government of Libya that the international community supports Libya’s sovereignty and its right to manage its own natural resources.

The United States supports Libyan efforts to address transparently and inclusively all matters of national concern. We urge all UN Member States to swiftly implement the provisions of this resolution in order to deter the actions of those who seek to steal Libyan oil.

After the resolution was passed, Ms. Power tweeted:
Samantha Power AmbassadorPower on Twitter 1

An inspirational speech and tweet by Ambassador Samantha Power, but further remedial action is required for these words not to ring hollow.  If Ambassador Power and the United States truly wish to strengthen the Libyan Government’s hand in negotiations with Ibrahim Jathran & the Government of Cyrenaica, then Mr. Jathran must realize that all doors are closed to him.

We reference the fact that the consultancy contract is still valid and in effect.   As such Ari Ben-Menashe and John Hughes are able to CONTINUE WORKING on their clients’ behalf.  OTHER lobbying services beside the sale of oil covered in the consultancy agreement include:

  • • shall consist of maintaining such contacts with the executive and/or the legislative branches of the. aforesaid government
  • • governments or other institutions as you shall in consultation with us, deem advisabie, in order to urge the institution and/or maintenance of legislative and/or executive policies favorable to your movement, and the elimination or prevention of such policies unfavorable to your movement
  • • we shall strive, among other* goals, to gain political recognition for your government from the Russian Federation, to strengthen your military forces by providing you grants for military equipment military training from various governments.
  • • We shall also strive to assist you in developing your private sector activity both locally and internationally.
  • • provide you for your movement, with a grant oil seventy five million ($”’5,000,000.00) US dollars from the Russian Federation per your instruction

One could argue that Mr. Jathran and his associates continue to linger because of his agents’ assurance for military aid/training, Russian Federation recognition & financial assistance.  This is in spite of the stance the world community has taken toward the Government of Libya.

Therefore, to truly help the Government of Libya, the US Government must show a coordinated foreign policy toward Libya laterally through each US Department.   That is, the State Department must revoke their acceptance for 6200 and 6202, as it is NO LONGER “appropriate from the point of view of the foreign relations of the United States.”

Therefore, the remedy is for FARA Registration Unit Chief Heather Hunt to revoke the approval of FARA #6200 and #6202.  In such the Libyan people could then begin to realize Ambassador Power’s wish for them…

….We stand with those working to build a brighter, democratic future for the Libyan people, and strongly support Libya’s efforts to strengthen security, protect human rights, and grow the country’s economy…..

A Note from the Authors: we remind the Libyan Foreign Ministry that it is their right to voice disapproval to the American Government.  Further, we suggest that the Libyan Foreign Ministry file a request with the US State Department that FARA registration statements 6200 & 6202 be revoked as they interfere with Libyan domestic politics and security. 

Ari Ben-Menashe's US Government document filed on behalf of Ibrahim Jathran

Ari Ben-Menashe’s US Government document filed on behalf of Ibrahim Jathran

6200 – Ari Ben-Menashe / Ibrahim Jathran – US Government Document -PDF

6202 – Ari Ben-Menashe / Ibrahim Jathran – US Government Document -PDF

 

Post Script
In Libya the rhetoric is reaching a crescendo which means an end is coming with both sides of the Jathran issue threatening an escalation of violence.  As Libyan lives are at risk on both sides, we will provide links to related parties for our readers to voice an opinion.
  • Mr. John P. Carlin
  • Acting Assistant Attorney General
  • For National Security
  • National Security Divison
  • nsd.public@usdoj.gov
Ibrahim Jathran and the Government of Cyrenaica’s FARA registered agents

 

Parts of this op/ed article is reproduced in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and is for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

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