Almost exactly a year ago, the media world was abuzz when as we reported then, a picture posted by Ansar al-Din Front, an Islamic extremist brigade, and which promptly went viral showed a Ford F250 truck with a "Mark-1 Plumbing" decal on the door and a militant standing in the bed firing the anti-aircraft gun.
And while most moved on quickly from this story, for one person the picture had a dramatic and scarring effect: the owner of said Mark-1 Plumbing company, a Texan by the name of Mark Oberholtzer, who as many know by now, is suing a Texas Ford dealership (Charlie Thomas Gord) for more than $1 million in financial losses and damages to his company's reputation, as a result of this pickup truck which he once owned, ending up with Islamic militants fighting in Syria's civil war.
As CNN summarizes, "all Mark Oberholtzer wanted to do was upgrade his ride. What he got instead was a world of trouble from half a world away."
"By the end of the day, Mark-1's office, Mark-1's business phone, and Mark's personal cell had received over 1,000 phone calls from around the nation," Oberholtzer's lawyer wrote in the lawsuit, filed December 9 in Harris County, Texas. "These phone calls were in large part harassing and contained countless threats of violence, property harm, injury and even death."
Oberholtzer said this wouldn't have happened if the dealership had just removed the decals before the truck was resold, as he had demanded, thus serving as the basis for his lawsuit (attached below).
But while we commiserate with Mr. Oberholzer, and wish him prompt restitution of damages as a result of unnecessary harassment, a far more important question is just how did Mark's 2005 Ford F250 Super Duty end up in under the control of the Islamic State.
The answer would be critical, as it will provide a factual, tracable answer how it is that ISIS is if not funded (we know already revealed a critical part of that story), then supplied with equipment and perhaps weapons.
The answer is stunning.
This is what the plaintiff states in his lawsuit:
According to a CARFAX Vehicle History Report (see Exhibit B), the vehicle was listed as a dealer vehicle sold at a Texas auto auction on November 11, 2013. On December 18, 2013 the vehicle was exported from Houston, Texas and imported to Mersin, Turkey.
And here is the proof straight from CARFAX, provided in Exhibit B of Oberholzer's lawsuit:
And the transaction history, with the relevant final clue highlighted:
Presenting Mersin, Turkey, a stone's throw from the infamous port of Ceyhan and about a hundred miles from the territory of the Islamic State:
Here is what happened:
- On October 23, 2013, Mark Oberholtzer entered into a transaction with Charlie Thomas Ford, in which he traded-in his old 2005 Ford F-250 pickup truck for a newer 2012 Ford F-250 pickup truck.
- Promptly thereafter, the vehicle was listed as a dealer vehicle sold at a Texas auto auction on November 11, 2013
- Less than a month later, on December 18, 2013 the vehicle was exported from Houston, Texas and imported to Mersin, Turkey.
- Less than a year later it was in the documented possession of the Islamic State.
So once again the "missing link" supplying ISIS emerges as none other than Turkey.
For those to whom the Turkey-ISIS connection comes as a surprise, we urge you to reread:
- Meet The Man Who Funds ISIS: Bilal Erdogan, The Son Of Turkey's President
- ISIS Oil Trade Full Frontal: "Raqqa's Rockefellers", Bilal Erdogan, KRG Crude, And The Israel Connection
- Russia Presents Detailed Evidence Of ISIS-Turkey Oil Trade
And while NATO-member Turkey supplying ISIS with funding, supplies, weapons or equipment is hardly groundbreaking news, the Ford "clue" poses new and important questions, such as:
- who is the Turkish party that ordered and paid for the Ford truck's transfer to Turkey, and subsequently received compensation from the Islamic State in the subsequent resale?
- which is the US party which transacts with Turkish counterparts, who ultimately ship US products to Islamic State fighters?
- is the US party aware that its Turkish counterparty has dealings with ISIS
- what is the role of the US government in all of this, because it would be surprising that an administration that has sworn it would crack down on all outside assistance to the Islamic State would be unaware that "made in the USA" trucks ended up in the Islamic State by way of its faitful NATO ally, Turkey.
- how many other such vehicles sold in the US and exported to Turkey, have made their way to the Islamic State
We are confident that it will be relatively easy for any aspiring reporter to track down the US-based exporter of the Ford truck (and thus recipient of Turkish funds), just as it will be facile to uncover who was the Turkish buyer who signed the receipt invoice in Mersin, Turkey. What may be more difficult to uncover is whether the governments of the US and Turkey, respectively, were or are appraised about transactions such as this one, and if not, then why not?
We hope to be able to answer as many of the above as possible in the very near future.
The full Oberholtzer vs Charlie Thomas Ford lawsuit is below.