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Chicago Connection: Zimbabwe Lobbyists Arrested in Attempt to Influence Obama

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On August 10, 2013 @ 2:27 pm In The Point | 3 Comments

This is what happens when you commit a lobbying crime before you put in the money. Then the Chicago connection doesn’t work for you anymore.

They called themselves the “Chicago connection” and appeared confident that their contacts with Illinois politicians would help persuade newly elected President Barack Obama to lift longtime economic sanctions against leaders in Zimbabwe, according to federal charges unsealed Tuesday.

“The Chicago connection NEVER surrenders or forgets its friends,” a criminal complaint quoted one of the men as writing in a 2009 letter to the head of Zimbabwe’s national bank.

Looks like the only friends the Chicago connection has pay up front. Also they should have known that the Chicago connection runs over its friends as soon as they become inconvenient.

Just ask Jeremiah Wright.

The two, Prince Asiel Ben Israel and C. Gregory Turner, were charged with violating federal law by lobbying on behalf Zimbabwe’s longtime president, Robert Mugabe, whose violent and oppressive regime has been the target of U.S. economic sanctions since 2003.

According to the charges, Ben Israel and Turner attempted to persuade undisclosed federal and state government officials — including an Illinois state senator and two U.S. representatives from Chicago — to push for the lifting of the sanctions. The two reached a consulting agreement with Zimbabwe officials to be paid $3.4 million, authorities charged, but it was unclear whether they received any money.

If they had, they wouldn’t be arrested. Prince Asiel Ben Israel appears to be a leader of the Black Hebrew (non-Jewish) cult.

Ben Israel founded the group the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem. The group believes that African Americans descend from Israelites, that Israel is part of Northeastern Africa and that one day they will return to the Holy Land. They are influenced by black civil rights leaders and writers and consider themselves to be nationalists.

They maintain a vegan diet and are known to own a chain of vegan or vegetarian restaurants throughout the country.

Ben Israel owned Soul Vegetarian restaurant on Chicago’s South Side.

Israel, previously known as Ben Carter was a factory worker from Chicago. He claimed that the angel Gabriel appeared to him in a vision and told him to lead African Americans back to the promised land. Carter changed his name to Ben Ammi Israel and founded the Chicago chapter of the African Hebrew Israelites.

In the 1980’s, Asiel was found guilty of selling stolen airline tickets and using fraudulent credit cards. The convictions were overturned and Asiel pleaded to a lesser charge.

Asiel admitted to having four wives.

I leave you with this compelling Asiel video.


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