President Obama Violated The Law With His Ransom Payment To Iran

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Andrew McCarthy via,

The president hoped to camouflage what he knew to be against the law in his dealings with Iran. Did it ever occur to President Obama to ask why he couldn’t just cut a check to the Iranian regime?

Outrage broke out this week over the revelation that Obama arranged to ship the mullahs piles of cash, worth $400 million and converted into foreign denominations, reportedly in an unmarked cargo plane. The hotly debated question was whether the payment, which the administration attributes to a 37-year-old arms deal, was actually a ransom paid for the release of American hostages Tehran had abducted.

It is a waste of time to debate that point further. The Iranians have bragged that the astonishing cash payment was a ransom — and Obama has been telling us for months that we can trust the Iranians. The hostages were released the same day the cash arrived. One of the hostages has reported that the captives were detained an extra several hours at the airport and told they would not be allowed to leave until the arrival of another plane — inferentially, the unmarked cargo plane ferrying the cash. The reason American policy has always prohibited paying ransoms to terrorists and other abductors is that it only encourages them to take more hostages. And, as night follows day, Iran has abducted more Americans since Obama paid the cash. No matter how energetically the president tries to lawyer the ransom issue, if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck...

More worth examining is why the transaction took the bizarre form that it did. To cut to the chase, I believe it was to camouflage — unsuccessfully — the commission of felony law violations.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the Justice Department strongly objected to the cash payment to Iran. As we shall see, that should come as no surprise. What is surprising is the Journal’s explanation of Justice’s concerns: Department officials, it is said, fretted that the transaction looked like a ransom payment. I don’t buy that. It is not a federal crime to pay a ransom; just to receive one. Our government’s stated disapproval of paying ransoms is a prudent policy, not a legal requirement. The Justice Department’s principal job is to enforce the laws, not to ensure good policy in foreign relations. It seems far more likely that Justice was worried that the transaction was illegal.

If they were, they had good reasons.

At a press conference Thursday, Obama remarkably explained, “The reason that we had to give them cash is precisely because we are so strict in maintaining sanctions and we do not have a banking relationship with Iran.” Really Mr. President? The whole point of sanctions is to prohibit and punish certain behavior. If you — especially you, Mr. President — do the precise thing that the sanctions prohibit, that is a strange way of being “so strict in maintaining” them.

Now, the sanctions at issue exclude Iran from the U.S. financial system by, among other things, prohibiting Americans and financial institutions from engaging in currency transactions that involve Iran’s government. Contrary to the nuclear sanctions that Obama’s Iran deal (the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” or JCPOA) attempts to undo, the sanctions pertinent here were imposed primarily as a result of Iran’s support for terrorism. That is significant. In pleading with Congress not to disapprove the JCPOA, Obama promised lawmakers that the terrorism sanctions would remain in force.

Terrorism-related sanctions against Iran trace back to the early 1980s, shortly after the jihadist regime overthrew the shah, stormed the American embassy, took hostages, and triggered Hezbollah’s killing sprees. But the sanctions most relevant for present purposes stem from President Clinton’s 1995 invocation of federal laws that deal with national emergencies caused by foreign aggression.

Clinton concluded that Iran had caused such an emergency by, among other things, “its support for international terrorism.” Note that this was even before Iran killed 19 members of the U.S. Air Force in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia.

To this day, Iran remains on our government’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. Clinton’s state-of-emergency declaration has been annually renewed ever since. Let that sink in: Notwithstanding Obama’s often shocking appeasement of Tehran, he has been renewing the state of emergency since 2009 — most recently, just five months ago. Indeed, it is worth noting what the Obama State Department’s latest report on “State Sponsors of Terrorism” has to say about Iran. This is from the first paragraph:

Designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1984, Iran continued its terrorist-related activity in 2015, including support for [Hezbollah], Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. In 2015, Iran increased its assistance to Iraqi Shia terrorist groups[.] . . . Iran used the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to implement foreign policy goals, provide cover for intelligence operations, and create instability in the Middle East. The IRGC-QF is Iran’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.

It is due to this atrocious record that Congress pressed Obama to maintain and enforce anti-terrorism sanctions, which the administration repeatedly committed to do. This commitment was reaffirmed by Obama’s Treasury Department on January 16, 2016, the “Implementation Day” of the JCPOA. Treasury’s published guidance regarding Iran states that, in general, “the clearing of U.S. dollar- or other currency-denominated transactions through the U.S. financial system or involving a U.S. person remain prohibited[.]” (See here, p.17, sec. C.14.) I’ve added italics to highlight that it is not just U.S. dollar transactions that are prohibited; foreign currency is also barred. Obama’s cash payment, of course, involved both — a fact we’ll be revisiting shortly.

Treasury’s guidance cites to what’s known as the ITSR (Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations), the part of the Code of Federal Regulations that implements anti-terrorism sanctions initiated by President Clinton under federal law. The specific provision cited is Section 560.204, which states:

The exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of any goods, technology, or services to Iran or the Government of Iran is prohibited. [Emphasis added.]

The regulation goes on to stress that this prohibition may not be circumvented by exporting things of value “to a person in a third country” when one has “knowledge or reason to know that” such things are “intended specifically for supply, transshipment, or reexportation, directly or indirectly, to Iran or the Government of Iran.”

To summarize, the anti-terrorism sanctions are still in effect, a fact the administration has touted many times. Obama conceded at his press conference both that these sanctions are still in effect and that they applied directly to his $400 million pay-out to our terrorist enemies. But here’s the president’s problem: While he is correct that the sanctions barred him from sending Iran a check or wire transfer, that is not all they forbid — not by a long shot. They also make it illegal to do what he did.

As noted above, the sanctions prohibit transactions with Iran that touch the U.S. financial system, whether they are carried out in dollars or foreign currencies. The claim by administration officials, widely repeated in the press, that Iran had to be paid in euros and francs because dollar-transactions are forbidden is nonsense; Americans are also forbidden to engage in foreign currency transactions with Iran.

Obama had our financial system issue U.S. assets that were then converted to foreign currencies for delivery to Iran. Both steps flouted the regulations, which prohibit the clearing of currency of any kind if Iran is even minimally involved in the deal; here, Iran is the beneficiary of the deal.

The regs further prohibit supplying things of value to Iran, regardless of whether it is done “directly or indirectly.” Expressly included in the “indirect” category are transfers of assets to another country with knowledge that the other country will then forward the assets, in some form, to Iran. That’s exactly what happened here, with Obama pressing the Swiss and Dutch into service as intermediaries.

Although these regulations leave no room for doubt that their point is to prevent and criminalize things like sending $400 million in cash to the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, the ITSR adds another reg for good measure. Section 560.203 states:

Evasions; attempts; causing violations; conspiracies: . . . Any transaction . . . that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this part is prohibited. . . . Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this part is prohibited.

By his own account, President Obama engaged in the complex cash transfer in order to end-run sanctions that prohibit the U.S. from having “a banking relationship with Iran.” The point of the sanctions is not to prevent banking with Iran; it is to prevent Iran from getting value from or through our financial system — the banking prohibition is a corollary. And the point of sanctions, if you happen to be the president of the United States sworn to execute the laws faithfully, is to follow them — not pat yourself on the back for keeping them in place while you willfully evade them. The president’s press conference is better understood as a confession than an explanation.

Oh, and there is also Section 560.701, which makes clear that willful violations of the regulations constitute serious felony offenses under federal criminal law — punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

I hope you’re not lawed out, because there are a couple of other criminal statutes to consider.

The first is the law against providing material support to terrorists, Section 2339A of the federal penal code. It says that anyone who provides resources — including “currency or monetary instruments” — to a person or entity with knowledge that they are to be used in the preparation or carrying out of terrorism offenses is guilty of a serious felony. I’ve italicized “knowledge” to underscore that intent is not required; to be guilty, you just need to know.

As we note above, the Obama administration has just reaffirmed that Iran remains a state sponsor of terrorism. Moreover, as our editors recounted in Friday’s National Review editorial:

[Secretary of State] John Kerry even admitted in January that funds channeled to Iran as part of the nuclear deal would “end up in the hands of the IRGC [Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps] or other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists.”

No doubt: The IRGC’s Quds Force is a formally designated terrorist organization, as, of course, is Hezbollah, Iran’s forward jihadist militia with which the IRGC colludes. And as Tom Joscelyn recently pointed out, Iran continues to harbor members of al-Qaeda (three of whom were just formally designated as terrorists).

In sum, the Obama administration has provided Iran with $400 million under circumstances in which it well knows that at least some of this cash will be used for terrorism. Indeed, as the editors point out, by providing the money in cash, Obama makes it more likely that it will be used for terrorism: Iran likes to deny its complicity in jihadist acts; so now, flush with cash, it can fund atrocities without leaving a paper trail.

The second law involves money laundering, criminalized by Congress in Section 1956 of the penal code. There are several prohibited varieties of money laundering. It can be a crime, for example, to conduct a financial transaction involving money used to facilitate unlawful activity. And if money is transferred outside the United States, it can be illegal to use it to promote criminal activity.

As we’ve seen, both currency transmissions to Iran and the provision of material support to terrorism are unlawful activities. The administration has conducted a financial transaction (in fact, several transactions: the issuance of the assets, their conversion into foreign currency, and the transmission to Iran) which facilitated both currency transfers to Iran and Iran’s certain use of the money to support terrorism. Plus, the money was shipped outside the United States before being transferred to Iran and before Iran will use it to promote terrorism. Money-laundering cases often boil down to proof of intent; but there clearly are multiple grounds on which to investigate whether the laws have been transgressed.

The circumstances of Obama’s enormous cash transfer to our terrorist enemies raise serious questions about whether American policy against paying ransoms to terrorists has been flouted. But that should not obscure a more fundamental issue: The president has violated the law.

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Jane Sheppard's picture

If $hillary can skate. Why can't he!?

gargoylian's picture
gargoylian (not verified) Jane Sheppard Aug 19, 2016 9:34 PM

It's all because Obama didn't bomb Iran like IsraHell wanted.

38BWD22's picture



Obama and Hillary lie.  Obama and Hillary break the law.  Impunity!

The word "impunity" was invented for them...

So what.  The MSM does not care.


Welcome to America v 2.0

GUS100CORRINA's picture

I used to believe there was a chance to save America, but I no longer believe America can be saved.


May America R.I.P.


Lawlessness will now be part of the landscape.




NoDebt's picture

Oh, my God, Obama did something <gulp!> illegal??  Jezuz, somebody should do something about that!

<crickets, same as the last 7-1/2 years>


Lurk Skywatcher's picture

Laws are for little people.

wee-weed up's picture



"Huh! And ain't nobody gonna call me on it either... not Congress, not the MSM...

So I can do what ever the fuck I want...

And then I can even tell the American people bald-faced lies about it to boot!

Hey, is this a great country, or what!

Impeachment? Pffftt! Ha! What's dat? You jokin' right?"

    -- Obozo

Polemos's picture

Even the laws of physics become more violable with every passing day. The entropy of the universe's matter inexorably decreases:

The entire evolution of the star is toward a condition of greater order, or lower entropy. It is easy to see why. In a hydrogen star, each nucleon can move willy-nilly along its own trajectory, but in an iron core groups of 56 nucleons are bound together and must move in lockstep. Initially the entropy per nucleon, expressed in units of Boltzmann's constant, is about 15; in the presupernova core it is less than 1.
--Bethe, Hans A.; Brown, Gerald. How a Supernova Explodes. Scientific American, May 1985, p. 56

In Boltzmann's definition, entropy is a measure of the number of possible microscopic states (or microstates) of a system in thermodynamic equilibrium, consistent with its macroscopic thermodynamic properties (or macrostate). Potential (spiritual) states are microstates; actual (material) states are macrostates. Thus the progressive decrease in matter's entropy leads to a situation in which ever-lesser spiritual efforts cause ever-bigger material changes, which eventually allows of psychokinesis:

What is happening to our world is ingression of novelty toward what Whitehead called "concrescence", a tightening gyre. Everything is flowing together. The "autopoetic lapis", the alchemical stone at the end of time, coalesces when everything flows together. When the laws of physics are obviated, the universe disappears, and what is left is the tightly bound plenum, the monad, able to express itself for itself, rather than only able to cast a shadow into physis as its reflection.
--McKenna, Terence. Archaic Revival. 1992,%20Terence%20-...

new game's picture

let there be light, but which wave length? the random path of the neutron is interupted and will continue. this phenomena can not be explained...

eforce's picture

So a bombing happens, US fingers Iran and we are just meant to sit back and believe that?

The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) eforce Aug 20, 2016 11:42 AM

Obama has violated the law in one way or another at least once every month that he has been in office.  I've called for his impeachment on blogs and with my Senators and Congressman for years without any result.

We are getting close to needing to shut this government down and start over as the Constitution provides for.


logicalman's picture

The US calling Iran a terrorist state is a bit like Hitlery calling a shoplifter a thief

Wackford Squeers's picture

To the ZH barkeep -- I'll have whatever Polemos is having.

monad's picture

Terence was cool. I am not cool. 

I do not see any State projects at my level. I'm good with this because you fucking chimps just aren't ready.

For me.

And Fuck You stupid women. This your fault, for fucking dummies.

Try that out fauxapenguin.

McCormick No. 9's picture


Well, back to the subject...

Outrage at the cash-drop is like...I don't know, a pedophile aghast at beastiality.

Obama is so completely corrupt and illegal, where does this even sit on the scale? How does dropping cash to the Iranians compare to the direct supply of weapons, cash and other materiel to ISIS?

ISIS and Iran are enemies. The corruption is a such a deafening level that I'm not even concerned with it. But the confusion and incompetence...that should be the issue. If someone's going to be corrupt, they at least could be good at what they do But Obama (and Hillary) are so completely fucking incompetent, so utterly out of their depth that it- the buffoonery- is a far worse problem than the corruption and disregard for the law.

Stupid people should obey the law. They should recognize that they are not smart enough to do illegal things. Only very smart, very capable people should go around breaking laws.

Oh, well, we have the worst of both worlds, corrupt, stupid losers for leaders. We are so fucked on every level, it really is just amazing that the shit-show goes on the way it does, and doesn't just utterly collapse. I mean, someone, somewhere is doing their job well, but who is it? Milo Minderbinder?

Jim in MN's picture

This is your fault, for VOTING FOR fucking dummies.

FIFY K then thx

monad's picture

Physics is for every body.

SpinDrift's picture


Obummer: "Whatcha gonna due sompin foooz?"

Tax Payer: (too tired from working to survive to think straight) "Why I am going to ask the d
Department of (NO)Justice to investigate in hopes that by looking to the same fetted cesspool of corruption and moral indifference called the "legal system" I may, by some miracle, actually obtain some justice!"

Fuxk it. Watch your top knot and hope the storm passes soon.

Offthebeach's picture

I once was sent to a course on control of population in Soviet countries. I asked about lines at goods/food stores and was told that if they wanted, and Soviets had no problem with mass production and distribution of what the leadership wanted, there would be abundent pork, shoes, and such. So, why? It tied up the populations time. Standing in line, shortages were not a failure, but a feature of methods of control.

Until recently, and still mostly, methods of control of the American masses has been through trivial and childish mass media, sports and such. Why have lines when you can have sheeple in front of flatscreen watching pretty colors. Clown noise music, fake emotional feelings for celebrities you will never meet.
Plus you get to sell sheeple junk and continue to slave them through poverty and indebtedness.

Same same only different

Forward Soviets and Pie Hole American Wal-Mart Consumers!

gonetogalt's picture

That business of tying up people's time standing in lines is still used. Here it's the system. Lines to pay anything, long lines for the simplest things. In line you don't complain because you're talking to strangers. Employees, one day a week wasted standing in line. So hire 6 to do the work of 5.

Bernardo Gui's picture

What's wrong with listening to clown noise music? 

Librarian's picture

President Obama Violated The Law

You mean, that Obama violated a portion of the law that applies to the rest of us.

That's a different thing entirely, you see.

Some people are created more equal than others.

Study it out.

balolalo's picture

It is all corruption at USA Government Inc. 

And if you think Trump isn't going to feed from the trough than you are an ignorant buffoon.

There were jews who supported Hitler, Africans who sold slaves, serfs who supported their European blue-blood kings, and young men/women who died on their swords for God, King, or Country.  All fools. 

There is no real choice.  The USA is a land of false choices.  When president Kennedy can be assassinated, 9/11 perpetrated, and the Federal reserve's destruction of the US economy... all deliberate and inside jobs... there are no real choices.  Hillary is an insider, but trump is the worst kind of insider... a billionaire.  

And trump's billionaire club doesn't want you in it. 

YES, you, the fool, the ignorant and petulant child, who thinks if Trump wins you will some day be a billionaire too.  STOP LIVING IN A FANTASY.  It is never going to happen, and your precious America, the one you want to be great again, will recede farther and farther into the history books. 

Sheeps for slaughter.  baaa.  baaa. 

401K of Dooom's picture

But just remember, that you have to keep the money flowing to the elderly because that money is theirs!  They paid into it and they will damn well get it all back.  Even if they live another hundred years and collect money they are not entitled to, while living in big -brothers paradise.

August's picture


I turn 66 in a few weeks, am finally gettin' onto that big gubmint tit, and yo ain't nevah gettin' me off! 

Keep those check rollin' my way, suckas! 

If you need me, I'll be on the beach.....

retired dude's picture

Congratulations!  Enjoy the beach.

Lore's picture

Day by day, we inch closer to that one, truly system-buckling scandal that will open the floodgates. 

McCormick No. 9's picture

No, you're wrong. 911 proved that. There is no scandal at this point that will cause the poeple to rise up. They will only rise up if they get hungry, and even then, if food is available, and the price is to give total allegiance to the state, that is what people will do- this whole thing will go only one way, towards a global totalitarian system.

So what are you going to do? You can;t stop the trend. Everybody wants this. They want the violence and terror to end. TPTB will gin up the chaos to a fever pitch and then offer a solution- a Messianic solution that everyone will fall over themselves to accept.

You will too. Mark my words, when the new day of hope and change dawns, you will run joyously into the burgeoning light, even if all it is is the flash-burst of a megaton explosion.

The only thing that can stop you from the mass deception is a knowledge of a reality that lies just under the surface of the illusion. That reality is Jesus Christ. Get on your knees and get your shit together.

Pope Clement's picture

No dude get off those serf toughened knees. JC is not historical but a literary and war time propaganda screed of the Flavian Roman Caesars to help subdue the fierce messianic Jews who were giving them fight lumps and not rolling over easily. A turncoat Jewish commander was adopted into the Flavian family, a good writer/propagandist who became a principal author of the gospels which he said was composed for slaves and scum. Probably more effective than Edward Bernays in that Christianity and the Pontus Maximus overseer brought in millenia of serfdom, divine right of rulers and much other horseshit. Try youtubing or reading Caesar's Messiah and maybe Shakespeare's Messiah. Yes the Shakespeare author knew about the fraud....

Lore's picture

Sadly, I'm inclined to agree. Whatever Jesus was really like seems buried under layer upon layer of programmatic class-conscious obfuscation and manipulation. It's fascinating, if harrowing.  More stands revealed, the deeper you dig.  All the major re-legions serve the NWO. 

logicalman's picture

The real question is not what Jesus was like, it's was Jesus real?

Religion is just one of the more effective divide-and-conquer/control methods that psychopaths have used since humans left the hunter-gatherer lifstyle behind.


crazzziecanuck's picture

It's not limited to Obama and Hillary, either.  Republicans have broken the law constantly too and have been enablers of Democratic lawbreaking too**.  Thing is, the law is for "little people."


** Think about how the GOP failed to ask the important questions over Benghazi.  Instead, they chose to focus on questions of the video and it's influence when they should have been up in arms about how Libya was flooding Syria with weapons so Obama and his crew could fund Syrian Jihadis and get around the Leahy Law which forbids weapons sales to countries at war.  The reason the GOP didn't ask those questions is that they approved of that kind of lawbreaking ... for the greater good.

WorkingFool's picture

America 1776 - 1962 Rest In Peace

Let's just be honest and break this in New America and the New USSR.  And let's get started on that today.   

McCormick No. 9's picture

America 1776-1788 (Date Constitution ratified and Articles of Confederation annuled)

America 1776-1861 (Date Lincoln decided to achieve a military solution aganst the seceeding States)

America 1776-1913 (Federal Reserve Amendment)

America 1776- 1963 (Kennedy Assassinated)

America 1776- 2001 (Patriot Act)

America- a great idea that never really ever had a chance.

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) 38BWD22 Aug 20, 2016 7:36 AM

Look at this!

Biden's house before Hillary visit and after.

Why does she need sidewalk handrails?

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

So let me get this straight. Obama provided material aid to a terrorist nation. That makes him a terrorist.

Well, no worries! I'm sure that Loretta Lynch will be bringing charges in the morning. Oh, that's right, she can't. Well, I'm sure that the House of Representatives will impeach him immediately and the Senate will convict him post haste.

"Calling Mr. Ryan! Calling Mr. Ryan! Has anyone seen Paul Ryan?!?"


You mean he's going to get away with it? /sarc

MedTechEntrepreneur's picture

Oh fuck off moron. "israhell" what are you like 12 years old with the reasoning development of a 5 year old?

falconer's picture
falconer (not verified) Jane Sheppard Aug 19, 2016 9:35 PM

I thought the $400M was from back when the Shah bought US weapons but then his ass got kicked out so we just froze the $?

eatthebanksters's picture

And nothing is going to happen to him and he knows it.  The Congressional Republicans are to weak between Ryan and McConnell to challenge Obama.  Obama also doesn't care since he's a lame duck president.  His thinking is that if the cracker republicans fuck with him then his brothers and sisters will turn out enmasse to support Hillary so he is going to do whatever he wants.  This fucker is poisonous, pompous, arrogant, self absorbed and just a plain cocky prick.  Karma is gonna be a bitch for him I think.

IridiumRebel's picture

He could rape Paul Ryan's wife on the Senate floor and the MSM would talk about his gilded manhood and prowess of form as he raped consequences.

Secret Weapon's picture

More inclined to rape Paul Ryan than his wife. 

crazzziecanuck's picture

Funny how that's the same argument Democats used about their inability to go after Bush and all his war criminal buddies.  Then, when Obama came to office, the GOP were stark raving mad about his use of Executive Orders while they remained silent in the Bush years.

Pollitics is 99% bullshit now.  I guess people think that the greater good is served by partisan lies.  Leo Strauss must be proud.

salvadordaly's picture

'Law.. LOL

You are exactly right, some what.

There is no law "for them"

Us, yes there is law, and you better not over step that fucking law one bit or you will pay!

You are watching this country "rapidly" developing into a dictatorship by a lawless class of Law making people. Do as we fucking say serf, and not as we do!

It is not going to change. In fact it will get worse. They do not even hide it any more. It will continue, untill a RESET occurs. I hope that all of you are prepairing for that. Every little step counts.

Polemos's picture

A reset will internalize the bondage.

In a star, hydrogen nuclei first become gravitationally compressed--bound externally. When the pressure reaches a critical level, the hydrogen nuclei fuse into a smaller number of helium nuclei, which are more bound internally. The fusion diminishes the external pressure, because in accordance with Avogadro's law, all gases at the same temperature and pressure contain the same number of molecules per unit volume, and if the number of molecules drops, so does the pressure.

So, a reset or fusion will decrease the number of "human molecules" and thus will decrease their external bondage. However, the fusion will internalize the hitherto external bondage--each of the new "human molecules" will perceive freedom as understood necessity.

The universe develops in accordance with the minimum total potential energy principle, which is the maximum total bondage principle.

Therefore, each "liberating" reset makes the total bondage/enslavement deeper.

PT's picture

falconer:  That's what I thought too, and no-one seems to answer your question.

The milkman drops off your milk.  You owe the milkman two dollars.
You tell the milkman that you won't give him his two dollars because he still hasn't returned your lawnmower that he borrowed six months ago.
The milkman returns the lawnmower, you pay him his two dollars.

What kind of idiot would pay the two dollars without demanding the lawnmower?
What kind of scumbag would take the milk and not pay the two dollars, even after return of the lawn mower?  (Okay, in this example a bottle of milk could be considered six months "rent of the lawn mower" but that's irrelevant when translated back to real world events).

Not a fan of BO or this series of events but I can't quite see the "ransom" angle.  Unless they can put up better arguments, there's good reason why BO "walks" on this one.

PT's picture

Unless, of course, the real reason you didn't pay for the milk was because the milk bottle was smashed.

If the $400M had never been paid due to breach of contract or non-delivery of goods or services, and was never ever going to be paid, but now suddenly is deemed to be "owed", well that changes everything.