Ostreicher Arrest Case Draws Attention of Congress
A congressional subcommittee finally took up the plight of Jacob Ostreicher, a Hasidic Jew imprisoned in Bolivia on allegations of complicity in drug activity. The charges are believed to be without substance, orchestrated by Bolivia’s unscrupulous and corrupt government in order to grab hold of the millions of dollars in capital and profits Ostreicher’s company stood to gain off its rice harvesting operations in Bolivia.
Two days ago, the United States congressional subcommittee on human rights discussed Ostreicher’s ordeal under the auspices of Rep. Crhis Smith (R) who represents Lakewood, New Jersey — a locale where Ostreicher once lived. Along with Smith, New York Democratic congressmen Velasquez and Nadler were also present on behalf of their Haredi-saturated districts in Brooklyn.
The congressmen heard testimony from Ostreicher’s wife and daughter regarding Ostreicher’s condition in the Bolivian prison and the circumstances leading up to his arrest and its aftermath. Ostreicher’s wife –dressed modestly, including a wig, in accordance with Ultra-orthodox Jewish custom– recounted a detailed chronology of events, many of which were scheduled court dates that had been cancelled for no apparent reason thereby causing anguish and hardship on family members and prolonging the trial process. Ostreicher’s married daughter took the micerophone afterwards and immediately burst out in tears while reading prepared remarks regarding her father’s suffering in lawless prison conditions (where there are no guards inside the prison complex and some prisoners are killed or commit suicide).
The most poignant testimony, however, emanated from a former FBI agent by the name of Steve Moore who had extensively researched Ostreicher’s case, including visiting him in prison and even being forced to pay an additional bribe in order for Moore’s prisoner tour guide –who had only killed one person– to “protect” him. Moore gave expert testimony that there isn’t even a smoking gun pointing to any crime having been committed, let alone evidence that Ostreicher’s is the perp. According to Moore, the charges of money laundering are merely a ruse to justify the confiscation of private property and curry favor from the Bolivian masses who are sympathetic to socialist forms of government.
Upon prodding by a congressman whether a touch of anti-semitism may be at play, Moore responded that the President of Bolivia may be trying to ingratiate himself with the Brazilian president who in turn is in good terms with the “anti-semitic” Iranian government. He added that Ostreicher’s socio-ethnic attributes –white, Jewish, American– make him a convenient target.
While the hearing seemed to be bipartisan, there was a subtle overtone of partisanship with Smith emphasizing repeatedly that the Democratic State department under Hillary Clinton’s administration declined his invitation to appear before the committee. Smith accused the state department of not doing enough to help Ostreicher achieve a speedy and fair trial. As aptly elucidated by Moore, the state department was not willing to get itself involved too deeply in this case at the expense of more pressing matters that are higher up on its priority list. Diplomatic officials are not rewarded for solving problems, said Moore. They are told to strive to avert or ignore such pitfalls as Ostreicher’s that may lead to a worsening in diplomatic relations.
FailedMessiah.com suspects that Smith and the Ostreicher family are coordinating their actions with the intent to embarrass the Obama administration. The infamous 5WPR firm seems to have been hired for this purpose and they reportedly solicited paid attendance at the hearing on Craigslist to generate buzz about it. Analysts agree that there is little the subcommittee hearing will accomplish to actually free Ostreicher, since the state department has already done everything it reasonably can to help Ostreicher, short of escalating the case into open hostility, an act which wouldn’t be warranted following routine protocol. The United States does NOT have regular diplomatic relations with Bolivia.
A coach bus was hired by friends/family of Mr. Ostreicher to ferry folks from Brooklyn to Washington for the hearing. The coach left Borough Park at 4:00 a.m. in the morning and made a stopover in Lakewood before arriving in Washington at 10:00 a.m. barely in time for the hearing. A tour of the Holocaust Museum and other sites in Washington was promised to travelers but wasn’t quite delivered due to time constraints.
Audio of the hearing may be accessed on Failed Messiah: http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2012/06/live-ostreicher-hearing-10-am-eastern-456.html