Friday, July 6, 2012

Foreign Influence in American Politics—Imad Ramadan in Virginia

Foreign Influence in American Politics—Imad Ramadan in Virginia
Originally appeared in BigPeace, July 2011

 By Kent Clizbe

As I’ve advocated for some time now, the American political system needs to better vet our candidates. Barack Obama was allowed to pass through without providing basic details about his background. Is vetting of Republicans/conservative candidates any better?

Imad “David” Ramadan is running for the Republican nomination for the House of Delegates in Virginia’s 87th district. After a few years of generous donations to Virginia Republicans, Ramadan made his move. Investing an estimated $500,000 in his campaign, hiring out-of-state consultants, and pulling the strings of his obligated donation recipients, Ramadan appeared to believe he is owed the seat.

A friend of mine, active in the Northern Virginia Tea Party asked me to look in Ramadan’s background. Just over 40 years old, Ramadan has lived in the US for about 20 years. Public records show that he arrived in the US, on a student visa, and never went back to Lebanon. He had married a fellow Lebanese and declared bankruptcy in 1994. Then he suddenly opened a business after 2001, and became an “international business consultant.” With no apparent business experience, he bragged on his website that he served “a select group of clients.” He claimed to be the head of a law firm (though he’s not a lawyer). He claimed to represent an American women’s gym chain in India and “the Middle East.”

On the streets of Beirut, it’s well known that Imad’s Lebanese wife, Ghanda Abdul Rahman Zoghbi is the daughter of Lebanese Army General Abdul Rahman Zoghbi. General Zoghbi, now retired was a Shia member of the General Security Service (GSS).

According to, the GSS is “one of Lebanon's three intelligence services and cooperates very closely with Syrian Intelligence. The duties of the General Security Service include identifying potential dissidents and maintaining internal and external national security. These broad objectives are primarily achieved though media censorship, control of foreign visitors, and active pursuit of banned parties and organizations. The General Security Service's wide range of powers and close relationship with Syrian Intelligence lead many to believe that it is behind the majority of mysterious disappearances that occur in Lebanon.”

Newspaper articles quote him bragging that he landed in Egypt during the revolution this spring, to sell women’s gym franchises. And yet, while his apparent business interests were all overseas, Imad Ramadan, was pouring donations into the Virginia Republican Party, and the Loudoun County Republican Committee.

After establishing those details, I told my friend that only Ramadan himself could clarify the questions about his background. My friend arranged to meet Ramadan.

The first thing that struck me about Imad Ramadan, when I met him on a July morning was how timid he was without a retinue. I’d arrived early, and greeted him with a handshake when he entered the café, by himself. He didn’t slow down, but kept moving, directly to the bathroom.

Fifteen minutes later, when he had yet to emerge, I realized that he was scared of me. Only later did I learn why. Finally, he emerged from the potty, at exactly the same time that two supporters arrived. He was comfortable enough to sit down, but not yet ready to talk. Moments later, another Ramadan man arrived, the former chairman of the Loudoun County Republican Committee, shaved head, air of disdain and all.

Now, Ramadan was ready to talk. And did he talk! First he let me know that he had my number! “Why did you bring him,” Ramadan said to my friend, gesturing at me, as if I was some sort of indelicate item the cat had dragged onto the porch. “I know he’s a CIA profiler,” Ramadan went on. Ah ha! Now he revealed two things--the depth of his ignorance first (there’s no such thing as a CIA profiler), but much more interestingly, the depth of his fear. I was immediately interested—what did he have to fear?

The conversation went downhill from there. In essence, Ramadan practiced the tactics that I recognize well from interviewing candidates and agents. The tactics are also practiced by covert action operators around the world, when their misdeeds are uncovered: Admit nothing. Deny everything. Make counter-accusations, or “Andemca.”

Ramadan’s diatribe began with accusations against shady “haters” with shady intentions of fund-raising who were making wild accusations against him. But he quickly shifted to accusations against his primary opponent, who my friend evidently supported.

After a long interchange of Ramadan attacking his opponent (issues included the church she attended, and topics of discussions at meetings she’d attended), I finally had to interrupt his diatribe. I explained that I did not know his opponent, but as a fellow conservative, I was concerned about Ramadan’s allegations of unfair accusations made against him. And that as a fellow Muslim, I was especially concerned about the religion-based attacks he claimed to suffer. I told him that I was interested in getting to the bottom of these issues, and that it would help me to understand his background.

Whoa! Another flash of fear. He decided that it was time to spring what he seemed to consider his ultimate weapon:  “So, are you a conservative?” Ramadan slyly asked me. “Of course,” I answered. He theatrically produced a smart phone. Peering at the screen, he asked “Did you vote in the 2008 Democrat primary?” I answered, “Sure did. It was Rush Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos. There was no contest in the Republican primary, so the idea was to disrupt Obama’s chances by voting for Hillary.”

But Ramadan had stopped listening after “Sure did.” He assumed an arrogant air of superiority and dismissed anything I had to say, playing to his assembled peanut gallery of supporters. This is one arrogant dude, I thought. Since I am not a politician, I have absolutely no need to put up with an arrogant attempt to besmirch me. Nor do I need to tolerate a patronizing attitude. I’ve lived too long, sacrificed too much, and fought too many enemies to put up with twaddle from a twit. 

He made me quite angry. His silly research to reveal that I’d voted in the Democrat primary didn’t bother me at all. I’m proud to have participated in the ingenious attempt to give the PC-Progressives a taste of their own medicine, since they had done the same to Republican primaries in other states.

What did make me angry was Ramadan’s air of superiority as he refused to make eye contact, dismissing me as a non-entity, under the pretense that my voting in the Democrat primary made me an unworthy interlocutor for someone of his stature.

To make a long story short, here’s my assessment of this Republican candidate. This assessment is based on nearly three decades of dealing with foreigners, many of whom meant to harm America, and many of whom attempted to deceive me. I’m an expert in deception detection, and in assessing personalities.

Mr. Ramadan is hiding something. I don’t know what it is. But he is unwilling to share very important details of his life. In my experience, those who practice “Andemca” include: PC-Progressives, criminals, intelligence agents, little children who’ve done something wrong, or others who have something to hide.

A sincere conservative candidate, who is suffering unfair, bigoted attacks would gladly help other conservatives understand his background and beliefs, so that they could help to counter the bigots. When that candidate instead practices inflammatory attacks and makes ridiculous accusations in response to a simple query about his background, the hackles on the back of my neck stand straight up. Something’s not right.

Ramadan, from what I can make out, is the scion of a Lebanese Shi’a family. He told me that his father paid for him to attend university in Virginia. It would be very interesting to hear more details about these issues. The Lebanese Shi’a are the backbone of the terrorist organization, Hezbollah (The Party of God).

Earlier this year, Congressman Darrell Issa (R, CA)  introduced the Hezbollah Anti-Terrorism Act. The act ensures that no American aid to Lebanon will enter the hands of Hezbollah. Congressman Issa said, "Hezbollah is a terrorist group and a cancer on Lebanon. The Hezbollah Anti-Terrorism Act surgically targets this cancer and will strengthen the position of Lebanese who oppose Hezbollah."

Evidently, Ramadan’s generous contributions, spread around liberally in Republican circles come from his “successful businesses.” Small women’s gyms are not known to generate much cash, so it would appear that Ramadan’s revenue stream must flow from his “international businesses.”

Since he refused to discuss any details about his background, all that’s known is that he has an interest in a “law firm,” maybe based in Lebanon. It seems that he is also active in “immigration consulting.” What is that? As someone who has interviewed hundreds of applicants, and made decisions on immigration matters, this interests me.

When I asked him directly about his own immigration experience, explaining that my wife and I had met as classmates when she was a foreign student, Ramadan blew a gasket. He launched into a classic Andemca tirade, culminating with, “You probably want to see my birth certificate, right? You’re a birther!” Turning to his friends he chortled, “He’s a birther!”

Who is David Ramadan? What is his real background? I wish I could tell you.

After the above experience, I was motivated to try to answer the question. After a couple weeks of due diligence, and the coincidental uncovering of a covert influence operation against American Republicans, not only do I not know who David Ramadan is, but now even more questions are unanswered.

Part 2: Questions for David Ramadan—Who is Imad “David” Ramadan?

Imad Afif Ramadan (aka: “David” Ramadan) is a native of  Blat, Lebanon. He is a Shia Muslim. Shia is a sect of Islam. In Blat, Shia Muslims are split evenly between Hezbollah and Amal supporters.

In Lebanon, there are two main Shia political and military factions. Each is financed and supported by a foreign power, Iran or Syria. Both have used terrorist tactics against their enemies.

The Amal (Hope) movement is financed and directed by the Syrian dictator. Hezbollah (the Party of God) is financed and directed by the Iranian Shia Islamic Republic.

By the time Imad (“David”) Ramadan was 19, when he left his native Lebanon, Amal and Hezbollah were heavily engaged in a horribly destructive civil war. But Hezbollah and Amal sometimes cooperate. In 1985, when Imad Ramadan was 15, Lebanese Shia terrorists hijacked TWA flight 847.

(Above) Lebanese Shia outreach to American airline pilot of Flight TWA 847

After murdering US Navy diver, passenger Robert Stethem, the Hezbollah hijackers forced TWA 847 to Beirut. The remaining passengers were removed from the plane and distributed throughout the city. Hezbollah carried out the hijacking, but Amal imprisoned the hostages, hiding them in safehouses in Shia areas of Beirut. Sixteen year-old Imad Ramadan claims he was going to school in Beirut that year.

Imad Ramadan, on his campaign website, lists his business experience. He says he “travels extensively to Bahrain, Egypt, India, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).”

Imad also says that he is the “Chairman of RAMA Legal; a boutique Law Firm specializing in Corporate Law, Intellectual Property, Franchising, and Real Estate servicing the Middle East.”

Imad also claims to be CEO of two women’s gym franchising companies, one in India, and one in the “Middle East.”

In Imad’s recent campaign mailing to the district, he claimed that his family, “scraped together” money to send him to America for school. Yet Lebanese sources report that the Ramadan family in Lebanon is quite wealthy. Imad’s father, Afif, was a lawyer. Afif  opened a chain of clothing stores in Dahya, in the southern suburbs of Beirut,  on Moawad Street by Bir el Abed-Chyah. Dahya is currently the command & control center of Hezbollah in Beirut. Afif is known to travel frequently between Dahya and America.

Imad claims to have been a busy student since he arrived in the USA in 1989. He claims that he completed both a BA and an MA at George Mason University in Virginia, finishing in 1994. But that was not enough schooling for Imad. On his business website Imad claims that he also “completed graduate studies at Oxford University (Oxford, England), the American Graduate School of Business (Geneva, Switzerland), Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD) and Georgetown University (Washington DC).”

With no apparent business activity in Virginia, the source of Ramadan’s apparent wealth seems to be foreign. It seems that his background, his interests, his business, his clients, are all overseas.

Imad’s timeline in America is murky at best. He claims that he arrived in 1989, as a student. On his LinkedIn profile, he claims that he has been active in Virginia Republican politics since 1989. Foreign students are strictly prohibited from participating in American politics.

Imad’s citizenship status is murky as well. According to public records, Imad Ramadan married a fellow Lebanese, Ghanda Abdul Rahman Zoghbi on Dec. 30, 1994, in Alexandria, Virginia, while he was a graduate student. Just the month before, in Nov. 1994, court records show that Imad Ramadan declared bankruptcy.

Imad claims that he is now (2011) married to “Christie Wray” of Franklin, Virginia. Efforts to find evidence of Imad’s divorce from his first wife, the daughter of a Lebanese military intelligence general, were unsuccessful.

To continue what appears to be a pattern, Imad’s current residence location is unclear too.

Naturalized American citizen Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, was arrested in Alexandria, Virginia in July 2011. The FBI charged Nabi Fai was an “unregistered agent” of a foreign, Muslim intelligence service, or a spy.

Americans must be aware of covert foreign influence in our political system. Mr. Fai’s apparently decades-long scheme had one purpose — to hide foreign involvement in Fai’s efforts to influence U.S. government policies. A foreign government intelligence service funneled millions through Fai so he could contribute to U.S. elected officials. His largest identified donations went to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

I am an expert at detecting deception. One of the signs of lying is attacking a questioner. This is a favorite tactic of PC-Progressives. Imad (“David”) Ramadan demonstrated this tactic when I tried to ask him questions in person. Imad apparently had something to hide, because he made wild accusations, and refused to carry on a conversation.

If I had the chance to talk to Imad again, here are some questions that would help Virginia’s voters better understand this enigma from Blat:

·         What is Imad’s connection to the Lebanese intelligence service, the GSS? Does he meet with, report to, or otherwise have communications with the Lebanese intelligence service?

·         Does Imad meet with, report to, or have any other communications with any foreign intelligence services?

·         Does Imad meet with, report to, or have any other relationship with his father-in-law, the Lebanese intelligence officer?

·         What is Imad’s connection to Lebanon now? Does Imad still have a Lebanese passport? Does he have any other passport besides an American one? Which passport does Imad Ramadan use to travel to the Middle East?

·         When and how did Imad become an American citizen? Was his first wife a US citizen?

·         What happened to the first Mrs. Ramadan? Where is she now?

·         Where and when did he marry Christie Wray?

·         What were the circumstances of Imad’s 1994 bankruptcy? Why would a foreign student declare bankruptcy in America? If he was going to college, what debts did he run up?

·         Since he repudiated his debts in 1994, how did he finance his further studies in Switzerland, England, Baltimore and DC? How did he raise money for his businesses?

·         Are Imad and his family aligned with the Shia terrorist group Hezbollah? Or is Imad aligned with the Shia militia Amal?

·         Does Imad receive funding from Lebanon? How much and from whom?

·         Does Imad receive funding from other Middle Eastern countries? How much and from whom?

·         Who are Imad’s customers in other Middle Eastern countries?

·         Has Imad ever acted as a registered, or unregistered, agent of a foreign government? If so, which government?

·         Where do Imad’s loyalties lie? In his home country, in his clients’ countries, or in America?

·         Where exactly does Imad live? How long has he lived in the 87th district?

It’s unlikely that I’ll ever have another chance to ask Imad these questions. But if anyone else has a chance, it would be interesting to hear his answers.

Vetting of candidates for American public office is crucial. Democrats have historically been lax in allowing foreign influence to creep into their campaigns. In 1996, 22 people were convicted of covert influence activities—fraud, foreign funding of the Clinton/Gore campaign. Several others fled the country. Republicans and conservatives expect our candidates to hold to a higher standard.

Is the Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai case an aberration? Is Imad Ramadan following the new template?

Is foreign influence in Republican campaigns to be expected from now on?  

Kent Clizbe, former CIA counter-terrorism ops officer is the author of Willing Accomplices: How KGB Covert Influence Agents Created Political Correctness, Obama’s Hate-America-First Political Platform, and Destroyed America, counter-intelligence research and analysis that reveals the roots of today’s PC-Progressives.

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