Democracy where? Hersh on US-MEK ties
Posted by Charles II on April 10, 2012
Amy Goodman: … Although the revelation that the U.S. government directly trained the MEK comes as a surprise, it’s no secret the group has prominent backers across the political spectrum. Despite it’s designation as a “terrorist” organization by the State Department for 15 years, a number of prominent former U.S. officials have been paid to speak in support of the MEK. The bipartisan list includes two former CIA directors, James Woolsey and Porter Goss; former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge; New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani; former Vermont Governor Howard Dean; former Attorney General Michael Mukasey; former FBI Director Louis Freeh; former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton; and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.
Seymour Hersh:…there’s no question, this sort of training that was going on. It was going on at a place called the Nevada Nuclear Security or National Security Test Site. It’s a former site for World War—post-World War II nuclear testing of weapons, testing of nuclear weapons. And it’s off-limits to people. And it’s—there’s an air base there. God knows what went on there. My own guess is rendition flights also flew into that air base in ’02, ’03. There’s some evidence for it. But certainly, the groups of MEK were flown in secretly by, I presume, the Joint Special Operations Command.
We’ve been actively involved, beginning in the Cheney-Bush days, of encouraging insurrection inside Iran—whether it’s aimed at regime change or not isn’t clear; I doubt that—but basically, blowing up things, etc.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the bombs that were used in the assassinations?
SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, they’re most interesting bombs. They’re limpet bombs, Marine limpet bombs. They’re designed—they have a special charge, and they’re designed to go inside. … if you want to blow up something underwater, you have to have a charge that explodes inward to cause water to rush in, etc. And these kind of very sophisticated charges have been used by the MEK in the assassinations.
… It’s a very sophisticated shape charge. And there’s no question that some of the best mines in the Navy mine-making business were—some of that information was obviously passed on, whether directly to the MEK or through Israeli assets, or explicitly how. (emphasis added)
The latter point is interesting, because shaped charges are what we accused the Iranian government of giving to Iraqi insurgents. Is it possible that the information we gave the MEK ended up as quite literal blowback against American troops? That’s one of the possible eventualities of supporting terrorists… just as happened in Afghanistan with the Mujahedeen, which was the precursor to Al Qaida.
Howard Dean has been remarkably reckless in supporting the MEK. Ed Rendell has been shameless. (And, as the interview with Hersh illustrates, Romney has been clueless). But this illustrates the “there aren’t two political parties” problem. Senior figures associated with both parties have supported what the government has designated as a terrorist group. While there’s no evidence that Obama has continued to train the MEK, and there’s no evidence to show that the US is supplying hit lists to it, there’s no question that the US is not dealing with the MEK as it would deal with any other terrorist group. It may be funding it and it is even possible that it is directing its activities.
And, of course, it illustrates the problem with our media, where the government can be engaged in covert warfare, and the only journalists who notice are old school journalists, who won’t be with us forever, from The New Yorker and Democracy Now.
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