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Tag Archive: Saddam Hussein


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‘It’s not even a close call’: Ted Cruz insists the Middle East was a safer place when dictators Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi were alive

  • The presidential candidate, 44, said US should focus on its own security
  • Said Middle East was more secure when Iraq and Libya dictators were alive
  • Cruz said Libya was now a ‘chaotic war zone ruled by radical Islamic terrorists’

Ted Cruz believes the Middle East was a safer place before the US helped to overthrow tyrants Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, it has been reported.

The Texas senator, a Republican presidential candidate, said America should focus on its own security rather than toppling dictators abroad.

He said it was ‘not even a close call’ when asked whether the Middle East was more secure when Gaddafi and Hussein were dictators of their respective countries.

 

Ted Cruz believes the Middle East was a safer place before the US helped to overthrow Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, it has been reported

Ted Cruz believes the Middle East was a safer place before the US helped to overthrow Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, it has been reported

Cruz said the toppling of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had shown the US has not learned lessons from history

Cruz said the toppling of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had shown the US has not learned lessons from history

In an interview with MSNBC, Cruz told Joe Scarborough: ‘Now, what has been a mistake – and we’ve seen a consistent mistake in foreign policy – is far too often, we’ve seen Democrats and a lot of establishment Republicans in Washington get involved in toppling Middle Eastern governments.

‘And it ends up benefiting the bad guys. It ends up handing them over to radical Islamic terrorists,’

He described Syrian president Bashar Assad as a ‘monster’ but warned that ISIS extremists would sweep further across the country were he to be overthrown.

He said: ‘My view, instead of getting in the middle of a civil war in Syria, where we don’t have a dog in the fight, our focus should be on killing ISIS. Why? Because ISIS has declared war on America. They’re waging jihad.’

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Kerry’s cosy dinner with Syria’s ‘Hitler’: Secretary of State and the man he likened to German dictator are pictured dining with their wives at Damascus restaurant before civil war broke out

Kerry pictured around a small table with his wife and the Assads in 2009

  • Assad and Kerry lean in towards each other, deep in conversation 
  • Picture taken in February 2009 when Kerry led a delegation to Syria
  • Kerry yesterday compared Assad to Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein

By Anthony Bond and David Martosko

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An astonishing photograph of John Kerry having a cozy and intimate dinner with Bashar al-Assad has emerged at the moment the U.S Secretary of State is making the case to bomb the Syrian dictator’s country and remove him from power.

Kerry, who compared Assad to Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein yesterday, is pictured around a small table with his wife Teresa Heinz and the Assads in 2009.

Assad and Kerry, then a Massachusetts senator, lean in towards each other and appear deep in conversation as their spouses look on.

A waiter is pictured at their side with a tray of green drinks, believed to be lemon and crushed mint.

 

Cosy: This astonishing photograph shows the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his wife having an intimate dinner with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and his wife in 2009

The picture was likely taken in February 2009 in the Naranj restaurant in Damascus, when Kerry led a delegation to Syria to discuss finding a way forward for peace in the region.

While President Barack Obama has softened his military threat against Syria by putting the question to Congress and guaranteeing at least a week’s delay, Kerry remains outspoken about the dangers posed by the Syrian regime.

He said that Assad ‘has now joined the list of Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein’ in deploying chemical weapons against his own people.

Kerry said Sunday that the U.S. now has evidence that sarin nerve gas was used in Syria and that ‘the case gets stronger by the day’ for a military attack.

Speaking out: US Secretary of State John Kerry last week said the U.S. knows ‘with high confidence’ the Syrian regime used chemical weapons in an attack

Couple: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is pictured with his British-born wife Asma Assad

Under pressure: Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, is pictured in a meeting yesterday. Kerry has described him as a ‘thug and murderer’

During a passionate speech in Washington last Friday, he called Assad a ‘thug and murderer,’ and urged the world to act. ‘History would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator,’ Kerry insisted.

And today in a call to 120 Democratic congressmen Kerry called Assad a ‘two-bit dictator’.

The Obama administration has placed the Syrian chemical weapons death toll on the outskirts of Damascus at 1,429 people – far more than previous estimates – including more than 400 children.

SEVEN MILLION SYRIANS DISPLACED

The head of the U.N. refugee agency in Syria says seven  million Syrians, or almost one-third of the population, have been displaced by the country’s civil war.

Tarik Kurdi said that five million of the displaced are still in Syria while about 2 million have fled to neighboring countries.

He says two million children are among those directly affected by the war.

Kurdi says U.N. assistance has been a ‘drop in the sea of humanitarian need’ and that the funding gap is ‘very, very wide.’ He says international donors have sent less than one-third of the money needed to help those displaced by the war.

More than 100,000 Syrians have been killed since an uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad erupted in 2011.

Kerry has said he is confident that Congress will give Obama its backing for an attack against Syria, but the former Massachusetts senator also said the president has authority to act on his own if Congress doesn’t give its approval.

While Kerry stopped short of saying Obama was committed to such a course even if lawmakers refuse to authorize force, he did say that ‘we are not going to lose this vote.’

Congress is scheduled to return from a summer break on September 9.  House Speaker John Boehner has said a vote will likely take place that week.

Senator John McCain said on Sunday that Assad will be ‘euphoric’ about Obama’s decision to wait for Congress before scrambling his bombers.

And after a meeting with Obama at the White House today the senator said it would be ‘catastrophic’ if the vote was lost on the House of Representatives floor.

The French parliament could act sooner. A debate is scheduled Wednesday on taking action on Syria, as President François Hollande has come under increasing pressure to seek legislative approval for joining the U.S. in any attack.

On Saturday evening, centrist UDI party leader Jean-Louis Borloo insisted that ‘like the U.S. president, who decided to consult the U.S. Congress in the name of democratic principles, the French president must organize, after the debate, a formal vote in parliament.’

What was once considered a certain three-pronged attack on Syria from the U.S., France and the UK was reduced to a bilateral affair on Thursday, as Britain’s parliament shot down Prime Minister David Cameron’s request for involvement in a strike against Assad.

A day later, Kerry began flattering France as America’s ‘oldest ally,’ in hopes of ensuring that Paris didn’t follow London’s lead.
Hundreds died in the alleged chemical attacks on Wednesday, including many women and children Horrific: Hundreds died in the alleged chemical attacks, including many women and children

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault now says he will share top-secret intelligence with his nation’s parliament on Wednesday.

 
Read More Here

 

 

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New Docs Detail U.S. Involvement in Saddam’s Nerve Gas Attacks

Foreign Policy

Abby Ohlheiser Aug 25, 2013

The U.S. knew about, and in one case helped, Iraq’s chemical weapons attacks against Iran in the 1980’s, according to recently declassified CIA documents obtained by Foreign Policy. Their detailed timeline, also constructed with the aid of interviews with former foreign intelligence officials, indicates that the U.S. secretly had evidence of Iraqi chemical attacks in 1983. The evidence, FP writes, is “tantamount to an official American admission of complicity in some of the most gruesome chemical weapons attacks ever launched.”

Ever since last week’s devastating evidence of chemical attacks in Syria, analysts have looked for benchmarks to predict the U.S.’s response. On Sunday, a U.S. official suggested that the U.S. is moving closer to possible military action in the country as the U.S. has “little doubt” that an “indiscriminate” chemical attack took place. Officials are reportedly looking to the 1998 air war on Kosovo for a precedent — a similar humanitarian crisis in the face of virtually no chance of a U.N. Security Council resolution to authorize use of force, thanks to dissent from Russia. And while Foreign Policy’s additional reporting places the Iraq situation in contrast to today’s debate over Syria, the details reveal just how sharply, in the past, the razor of U.S. interests in the Middle East has cut: “it was the express policy of Reagan to ensure an Iraqi victory in the war, whatever the cost,” the report explains. And apparently, that went up to and including helping Saddam Hussein gas Iran.

 

 

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Gaddafi, Britain and US: A secret, special and very cosy relationship

Classified files lay bare the ties between the nations

Britain helped to capture one of the leading opponents of the Gaddafi regime before he was sent back to be tortured in Libya, according to a secret document discovered by The Independent on Sunday in the offices of Moussa Koussa, then Muammar Gaddafi’s spymaster.

London’s involvement in the rendition of Abdel-Hakim Belhaj, currently the military commander of rebel forces in Tripoli, is revealed in the letter from an MI6 officer. In it, he reminds Mr Koussa that it was British intelligence which led to the capture of Mr Belhaj, then leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, before he was sent to Libya in the rendition process by the Americans.

The senior UK intelligence official, whose identity is not being revealed by The Independent on Sunday for security reasons, then sought information obtained from the Islamist leader by “enhanced interrogation technique”. Mr Belhaj had revealed that he was tortured during questioning.

The letter refers to Mr Belhaj by his nom de guerre, Abu ‘Abd Allah Sadiq, and reads in part: “The intelligence about Abu ‘Abd Allah was British. I know I did not pay for the air cargo [Mr Belhaj]. But I feel I have the right to deal with you direct on this and am very grateful to you for the help you are giving us.”

The senior UK intelligence official wrote: “This was the least we could do for you and for Libya to demonstrate the remarkable relationship we have built over recent years… I was grateful to you for helping the officer we sent out last week. Abu ‘Abd Allah’s information on the situation in this country is of urgent importance to us.”

So close had the relationship become that several Western European intelligence agencies were using the services of MI6 to approach the Libyans for help with their own terrorist suspects. The Swedish, Italian and Dutch services sought the help of the UK agency in liaising with Tripoli. A sign of the warmth of the relationship between British intelligence and their Libyan counterparts is shown in the stream of letters from London to Tripoli, headed “Greetings from MI6” and “Greetings from SIS”.

Although the documents, which we have not been able to independently verify, relate to the years when Tony Blair’s government was in power, they threaten to undermine the UK’s relations with the new Libyan administration, the Transitional National Council (TNC). Last night one Conservative MP accused Blair’s government of “aiding and abetting” the Gaddafi regime.

Most of the papers were found at the private offices of Moussa Koussa, the foreign minister, regime security chief and one of Gaddafi’s chief lieutenants, on Friday afternoon. Rebel fighters had been inside the building and paperwork was strewn on desks and the floor amid broken glass. The building was locked up on the orders of the TNC yesterday morning.

Mr Koussa, who defected after the February revolution and spent time in the UK, left to take up residence in the Gulf after demands that he face police questioning over the murder of Libyan opposition figures in exile, the Lockerbie bombing and the killing of the policewoman Yvonne Fletcher. In a sign of the importance of the British connection, MI6 merited two files in Mr Koussa’s office, while the CIA had only one. UK intelligence agencies had played a leading role in bringing Gaddafi’s regime in from the cold.

The documents reveal that British security agencies provided details about exiled opposition figures to the Libyans, including phone numbers. Among those targeted were Ismail Kamoka, freed by British judges in 2004 because he was not regarded as a threat to the UK’s national security. MI6 even drafted a speech for Gaddafi when he was seeking rapprochement with the outside world with a covering note stressing that UK and Libyan officials must use “the same script”.

The Libyan government sought the services of British intelligence in attempting to block asylum applications by opponents of the regime. One document, regarding an application for refuge by a man with the initials SRA-Z (name withheld by The IoS for security reasons), led to a response from British officials. “It is not the practice of the UK government to comment on possible asylum cases.”

However, the intelligence agency then sought to gain information about the applicant. The letter, addressed to “Dear Friends”, said: “We are sorry we can’t be more helpful in this case but we must comply with this practice. We… would welcome hearing from your service why you are interested in Mr A-Z so we could consider what action we might wish to take should we become aware of him.”

Other documents show urgent requests for information about Abu Hamza al-Libi, said to be a senior al-Qa’ida operative who had travelled to the UK from Italy and the Netherlands to collect forged UK passports destined for Iran. Al-Libi was suspected of being involved in a plot to carry out a cyanide attack in Rome in 2002. He was detained in Britain, but freed in January 2010. He is believed to have died in a motorbike crash in London eight months later.

Ben Wallace, a Conservative MP, said the last government should be made to answer publicly for “conspiring” with Gaddafi’s regime. The former military intelligence officer said: “Giving countries like this information they can use to oppress their people and break international law amounts to aiding and abetting the Gaddafi regime. We need to get to the bottom of how far British officials and ministers went to assist the Libyans to do their job of suppressing their own people. We might hand information like this over to our allies, but we would be confident they would use it lawfully. You can’t have that confidence with Gaddafi.”

Britain’s extraordinary rekindling of relations with Libya did not start as Mr Blair sipped tea in a Bedouin tent with Gaddafi, nor within the walls of the Travellers Club in Pall Mall – although this “summit of spies” in 2003 played a major role. It can be traced back to a 1999 meeting Mr Blair held with the man hailed as one of the greatest to have ever lived: Nelson Mandela, in South Africa.

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John Kerry Sarin Was Used In Syria By Assad. Meet The Press

Les Grossman

Published on Sep 1, 2013

john kerry says assad used sarin gas on his people,john kerry joins meet the press to talk assad use of sarin on civilians,

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Kerry: Samples from Syria tested positive for sarin

Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that samples collected by first responders after the reported August 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria have tested positive for the nerve agent sarin.

“In the last 24 hours, we have learned through samples that were provided to the United States that have now been tested from first responders in east Damascus and hair samples and blood samples have tested positive for signatures of sarin,” Kerry said on NBC’s Meet The Press. “So this case is building and this case will build.”

Sarin is a man-made chemical warfare agent considered the most toxic and fast-acting of its kind. The odorless, colorless nerve agent interferes with an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase, which controls nerve signals to the muscles.

Secretary of State John Kerry tells David Gregory on Meet the Press that all signs suggest that Syrian leader Bashar Assad used the nerve agent in his alleged chemical weapons attack.

Kerry said the use of chemical weapons puts Syrian President Bashar Assad in the same category as the world’s most bloody dictators.

“Bashar Assad now joins the list of Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein [who] have used these weapons in time of war,” he said.

Kerry’s statement comes the day after President Barack Obama announced that he will seek congressional authorization for a military strike in Syria. The U.S. has said it has “high confidence” in intelligence assessments that show the chemical weapons attack that killed over 1400 people – including hundreds of children – was launched by the Syrian regime.

The former Massachusetts senator said Sunday that he believes Congress will pass a measure to authorize the use of force in Syria.

Read More Here

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Syria: why would Assad invite a Western intervention by using WMDs in a war he was winning?

Crazy, yes. Stupid, we don’t know.

Woah! Hold your horses, Barack. Before we go to war with Syria can we be absolutely surely sure that we’ve got our pretext right? Only we’ve made a horrible mistake about WMDs before…

The official UK/US narrative on the conflict in Syria is this. Last year, we drew a red line in the sand: if the regime uses chemical weapons then it makes itself a legitimate target for military action. Last week, it apparently did just that – murdering hundreds of people, including children, in a suburb of Damascus. John Kerry described this slaughter as defying “any code of morality”, and he demanded “accountability” from the Assad regime. There could, he insisted, be no doubt that the government is culpable – and anyone saying otherwise is a tool of cold blooded killers. Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war, etc, etc.

Kerry’s narrative is full of holes. First, we’ve yet to ascertain that chemical weapons really were used by Assad – specifically we’ve not determined a) what kind of WMDs they were or b) who actually did it. The situation is complicated by how difficult it’s proving to get to the site of the attack to carry out tests. But this is a war zone, and forensic tests take longer and are more complicated to execute when you’re surrounded by people trying to blow each other up. So it’s going to take time.

Second, why would the Assad regime do something so stupid? It must know that by using chemical weapons it would isolate itself from any international support and invite a Western military response. More importantly, Assad was already winning the war – so why bother to use WMDs during the last lap to victory? Indeed, the only people who have anything to gain by Assad using chemicals are the rebels, because that would internationalise the conflict in a way that they have long lobbied for.

Third, why is the West obliged to act even if Assad did use chemical weapons? We are not under any such treaty obligations and the subject sure doesn’t feature as a trigger for war in the US constitution. The red line itself has slimmed and thickened over time. When Obama first laid it down, it was thin to the point of invisible, quote:

Read More Here

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Kerry’s case for Syria attack fictitious

US Secretary of State John Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry
Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:11AM GMT
By Gordon Duff

In May, this year, Turkish police arrested “Syrian rebels” caught in the act of carrying weaponized Sarin gas to Syria. However, the source of the Sarin was never revealed, those arrested disappeared and nothing was mentioned again.”

Today we heard American Secretary of State John Kerry give his compelling case for war on Syria. His story was compelling, perhaps even theatrical. It also rang of fiction.

It was a convenient narrative about the Assad government, which is popular among the Syrian people, a government clearly winning against a brutal and unpopular foreign-dominated insurgency.

Real intelligence is a mosaic, each source graded as to historical reliability and import. When enough pieces don’t come together or an unwanted outcome results, intelligence “fusion centers” cut out “bad facts” and amplify or invent “good ones.”

Kerry’s intelligence on Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons goes further, down the slippery slope of a detailed narrative, a “cooked” story, perfectly timed, containing the right anecdotal details, a classic “deception and cover” tale right out of the Mossad book of deception.

I can’t imagine how Kerry could keep a straight face; perhaps it is embalmed with Botox.

Behind the story
In May, this year, Turkish police arrested “Syrian rebels” caught in the act of carrying weaponized Sarin gas to Syria.

They were arrested as reported on all world news sources. However, the source of the Sarin was never revealed, those arrested disappeared and nothing was mentioned again.

However, during this time frame, UN inspectors investigated five episodes of chemical weapon use and were able to conclude that “rebel forces” were responsible.

Secretary Kerry has erased this event from his memory, erased it from his “mosaic.”

“If it doesn’t fit, use a bigger hammer.”

Narrative problems
In order to sound credible, Kerry quoted exact numbers of adults and children killed. Exact numbers always sound best, or so 99.372514% of experts I have questioned tell me.

Kerry described “textbook” symptoms of Sarin gas exposure, but all of the photos supplied failed to demonstrate any of the symptoms.

Sarin victims are invariably found in pools of vomit, their bladders and bowels emptied, befouling their clothing.

By the time bodies are moved for careful photographic exploitation, lividity sets in, leaving the skin pearly white or deeply bruised, even blackened, on areas where blood settles.

As Kerry noted, death by Sarin gas is a horror, but the only photos clearly reflecting “death by Sarin” are from May 2013 and tied to Sarin gas used by rebel forces.

Related Interviews:

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Nafeez Ahmed was the original Muslim 9/11 truth scholar. His book The War on Freedom – the earliest work of its kind – made a 9/11 truther of Gore Vidal. He is also a star contributor to the book I edited, 9/11 and American Empire v.2.

Nafeez’s controlled demolition of the war-criminal BBC, reproduced below, nicely complements Tony Rooke’s moral victory over the BBC in Monday’s court case.

-KB


 

Seven Myths About the Iraq War: How BBC Newsnight failed journalism on the 10 year anniversary of the invasion

 

by Nafeez Ahmed

Veterans Today

As a participant in BBC Newsnight special, “Iraq – 10 Years On“, I found myself feeling slightly miffed at the lack of real debate on the crucial issues.

On the one hand, Newsnight presented a number of narratives of the war and its aftermath as ‘fact’, which are deeply questionable. On the other, there were no serious, factually-grounded criticisms of the war, despite a diverse panel which included people who did not support it.

As author of a major book on the war and its historical context, Behind the War on Terror: Western Secret Strategy and the Struggle for Iraq, as well as co-author of a new report, Executive Decisions: How British Intelligence was Hijacked for the Iraq War, I consider myself to be reasonably informed. Yet BBC Newsnight failed almost entirely to bring any of these issues to light.

What follows is my Newsnight-inspired Iraq War Myth-Busting exercise, based on what was, and wasn’t, discussed on the show.

MYTH 1. Sectarian violence has increased in postwar Iraq because sectarianism has always existed in Iraq, and the removal of Saddam allowed it to erupt

One of the first Newsnight bloopers started with a short introductory clip from John Simpson, the BBC’s World Affairs Editor. Amongst other things, Simpson talked about the rise of sectarian Sunni-Shi’a violence in postwar Iraq, and argued that while Saddam’s regime had clamped down on sectarian divisions, regime change effectively unleashed those previously suppressed divisions and allowed them to worsen.

This was the first of many oversimplifications about the escalation of sectarian violence in Iraq. The reality, as pointed out on the show by my colleague in the audience, anthropologist Professor Nadje al-Ali, is that prior to the war, generic sectarian antagonism was unheard of in Iraqi society. Although Saddam’s regime was unequivocally sectarian in its own violence against Shi’as and Kurds, as a mechanism of shoring up the Ba’athist regime, Iraqis did not largely identify in sectarian terms. As one Iraqi blogger living in Baghdad noted:

“I always hear the Iraqi pro-war crowd interviewed on television from foreign capitals (they can only appear on television from the safety of foreign capitals because I defy anyone to be publicly pro-war in Iraq)… They go on and on about Iraq’s history and how Sunnis and Shia were always in conflict and I hate that. I hate that a handful of expats who haven’t been to the country in decades pretend to know more about it than people actually living there. I remember Baghdad before the war- one could live anywhere. We didn’t know what our neighbors were- we didn’t care. No one asked about religion or sect. No one bothered with what was considered a trivial topic: are you Sunni or Shia? You only asked something like that if you were uncouth and backward. Our lives revolve around it now. Our existence depends on hiding it or highlighting it- depending on the group of masked men who stop you or raid your home in the middle of the night.”

Missing from the BBC Newsnight discussion was the fact that the Bush administration planned from the outset to dominate Iraq by pursuing the de facto ethnic partition of the country into three autonomous cantons. The private US intelligence firm, Stratfor, reported that the US was “working on a plan to merge Iraq and Jordan into a unitary kingdom to be ruled by the Hashemite dynasty headed by King Abdullah of Jordan.” The plan was “authored by US Vice President Dick Cheney” as well as “Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz”, and was first discussed at “an unusual meeting between Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan and pro-US Iraqi Sunni opposition members in London in July” 2002.

Under this plan, the central and largest part of Iraq populated largely by Sunnis would be joined with Jordan, and would include Baghdad, which would no longer be the capital. The Kurdish region of northern and northwestern Iraq, including Mosul and the vast Kirkuk oilfields, would become its own autonomous state. The Shi’a region in southwestern Iraq, including Basra, would make up the third canton, or more likely it would be joined with Kuwait.

Ultimately, of course, the specific detail of this plan did not come to fruition – but the ‘divide-and-rule’ imperial thinking behind the plan was implemented. As one US Joint Special Operations University report documented, “US elite forces in Iraq turned to fostering infighting among their Iraqi adversaries on the tactical and operational level.” This included disseminating and propagating al-Qaeda jihadi activities by “US psychological warfare (PSYOP) specialists” to fuel “factional fighting” and “to set insurgents battling insurgents.”

Pakistani defence sources thus reported in early 2005 that the Pentagon had  ”resolved to arm small militias backed by US troops and entrenched in the population,” consisting of “former members of the Ba’ath Party” – linked up with al-Qaeda insurgents – to “head off” the threat of a “Shi’ite clergy-driven religious movement.” Almost simultaneously, the Pentagon began preparing its ‘Salvador option’ to sponsor Shi’ite death squads to “target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers” – a policy developed under the interim government of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

Ironically, the same Allawi also made an appearance on Newsnight via Baghdad, rightly criticising the current government for failing to incorporate an inclusive, non-sectarian political process. But Newsnight didn’t bother to ask him about his role in engendering the very sectarian violence he now criticises by sponsoring death squads.

MYTH 2. We went to war in Iraq based on a legitimate parliamentary process, even if lots of people demonstrated against it – most Brits approved the war according to polls

When an audience member asked why the British government still went to war despite the millions of people who protested against it, Independent columnist John Rentoul argued that the war was in fact an example of proper democratic process – because ultimately the MPs voted for it. He pointed out that we don’t run democracies based on “mob rule” – i.e. just because people protesting in the street  don’t want something – but on the basis of consensual parliamentary procedures. To this, host Kirsty Wark added that 54% supported the war according to opinion polls at the time.

Really?

In mid-March, before the war, “just 26% of the public was saying in mid-March that they approved of British involvement without a ‘smoking gun’ and a second UN vote, while 63% disapproved.” It was only once the bombs began to drop that public opinion drifted slightly in favour of the war. Where did Kirsty Wark’s 54% figure come from?

Disingenuously, it comes from an ICM poll which “found a persistent majority against the war, reaching a low point of 29% support (and 52% oppose) in February. Support then rose to 38% in the final pre-invasion poll (14-16 March, the same weekend as MORI’s) and jumped to 54% just a week later, with the war only a few days old.

Kirsty’s 54% claim applies after the war – before the war, the majority of the British public was overwhelmingly opposed to the invasion, a fact which was not reflected in the parliamentary process.

And of course, since then, opposition to the war continued to grow dramatically.

MYTH 3: The Iraq War was, at worst, a colossal cock-up, simply because we didn’t have good intel on the ground about WMDs etc. So we didn’t really go to war on the basis of a lie, we went to war because our intel was wrong.

As I tried to point out in my brief intervention on the show, this whole debate about whether the public approved the war or not to some extent misses the point – which is that the Iraq War was ignited on the basis of false claims about Saddam’s WMD. Those false claims were promulgated by senior American and British officials precisely to manipulate public opinion, and pressurise the political system into a pre-made decision to go to war, irrespective of the UN, irrespective of international law, and irrespective of whether WMD really existed.

It’s this fact which ultimately brings to light the extent to which our political system, certainly when it comes to foreign policy decisions, is broken, and has yet to be repaired. The historical record confirms that all the intelligence available to British and American security services, including information passed on through the UN weapons inspections process throughout the 1990s, confirmed unequivocally that Saddam had no functioning WMDs of any kind.

Amongst the intelligence available to the allies was the testimony of defector General Hussein Kamel, Saddam’s son-in-law and head of Iraq’s WMD programmes. He provided crates of documents to UN weapons inspectors, as well as authoritative testimony on the precise nature of the WMD programmes that Saddam had embarked on in preceding years. He was even cited by senior officials as the key witness on the threat posed by Saddam’s WMD’s. What these same officials conveniently omitted to mention is that Gen. Kamel had also confirmed to UN inspectors in 1995 that Iraq had destroyed its entire stockpile of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and banned missiles, in 1991, shortly before the Gulf War – exactly as Saddam had claimed. Yet such intelligence was ignored and suppressed.

MYTH 4: The decision to go to war was based on a legitimate parliamentary process, legal advice from the Attorney General, as well as consultations with the UN.

In reality, the decision to go to war was made jointly by senior American and British officials prior to any democratic process, behind closed doors, and irrespective of evidence or international law. This is confirmed by a range of declassified official documents.

A leaked policy options paper drafted by officials in the Cabinet Office’s Overseas and Defence Secretariat (8th March 2002), records that:

 

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Published on Feb 6, 2013

DemocracyNow.org – Ten years ago this week, a defining moment occurred in the Bush administration’s push to invade Iraq. On February 5, 2003, then Secretary of State General Colin Powell addressed the United Nations Security Council. His message was clear: Iraq possessed extremely dangerous weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein was systematically trying to deceive U.N. inspectors by hiding prohibited weapons. A decade late, we host a debate between Powell’s former aide, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson — who prepared the UN speech, only to later renounce it — and media critic Norman Solomon, author of “War Made Easy.”

“I don’t believe the hype about that having been the ultimate presentation that led us to war with Iraq,” Wilkerson says of Powell’s speech. “George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and others had decided to go to war with Iraq long before Colin Powell gave the presentation. It added to the momentum of the war. … Frankly, we were all wrong. Was the intelligence politicized in addition to being wrong at its roots? Absolutely.” In response, Solomon says, “We were not all wrong. Many experts and activists and researchers from the get go in 2002 were saying that the administration case for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was full of holes. … So now to say, ‘Well it wasn’t just us at the administration, other people believed it’ — people believed it because they were propagandized by the administration with massive assistance from the mass media.”

To watch the entire weekday independent news hour, read the transcript, download the podcast, search our vast archive, or to find more information about Democracy Now! and Amy Goodman, visit http://www.democracynow.org.

Democracy Now!, an independent global news hour that airs weekdays on 1,100+ TV and radio stations Monday through Friday.

Global Research,

Bush1_Hitler

“I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. We have definitely adopted the position at the Peace Conference of arguing in favour of the retention of gas as a permanent method of warfare…. I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes.” (Winston S. Churchill, 1874-1965, from War Office  minute, 12th May 1919.)

As the sabre rattling against Syria gets ever louder, the allegations ever wilder and double standards, stirring, plotting and terrorist financing (sorry: “aiding the legitimate opposition”) neon lit, it is instructive to look at the justifications presented by US Administrations for a few other murderous incursions in recent history.

This month is the twenty third anniversary of the US invasion of Panama on 20th December 1989, as Panamanians prepared their Christmas celebrations. A quick check reminds the late Philip Agee recalling President George H.W. Bush telling the American people that the threat from Panama (pop: 3,571,185 – 2011) was such that: “our way of life is at stake.” Agee referred to this in his aptly named talk “Producing the Proper Crisis.”(i) Apt then as now. Nothing changes.

The aim of the invasion was to capture the country’s leader General Manuel Noriega and, of course, to: “establish a democratic government.” Regime change.

With the approaching transfer of control of the Panama Canal to Panama (originally scheduled for 1st January  1990) after a century of US colonial stewardship, America wanted to ensure it was in the hands of malleable allies.

Noriega a CIA asset, since 1967 (ii) who had also attended the notorious School of the Americas, at Fort Benning, Georgia, came to power with US backing, but seemingly his support for the US was cooling. To encapsulate a long story, the US kidnapped him and sentenced him to forty years in jail.

Plans to invade were called: “Operation Prayer Book.” It was later re-named “Operation Just Cause”, with General Colin Powell commenting that it was a moniker of which he approved as: ”Even our severest critics would have to utter ‘Just Cause’ whilst denouncing us.” (Colin Powell, with Jospeh E. Persico: “My American Journey”, 1995.)

All military marauding should simply be called: “Operation Silly Name 1, then 2,3,4” etc., until the numbers finally run out.

Twenty seven thousand US troops backed by Apache helicopters decimated much of the small country, with a defence force of just three thousand. George Bush Snr., said he was removing an evil dictator who was brutalizing his own people  (sound familiar?) and that the action was needed to:” protect American lives.” It was also to: “defend democracy and human rights in Panama” – and to “protect the Canal.” Surprise, eh?

Manuel Noriega was released from US jail in 2007, extradited to France which had awarded him the country’s highest honour, The Legion d’honneur in 1987. He remained in jail in France until December 2011, when he was returned to Panama, where he is still imprisoned.

In the near forgotten Panama decimation (unless you are Panamanian) the densely populated, poverty stricken neighbourhood of El Chorillo was incinerated by American actions to such an extent that it became named “Little Hiroshima.”

One woman charged that: “The North Americans began burning down El Chorillo at about 6.30 in the morning. They would throw a small device in to a house and it would catch on fire – then they would move to another, they burned from one street to the next, coordinating the burning on walkie-talkies.”

A US soldier was recorded stating: “We ask you to surrender … if you do not, we are prepared to level each and every building.”

“Everything that moved they shot”, said a city resident.

The dead were consigned to mass graves with witnesses stating that US troops used flame throwers on the dead, noting the bodies shriveling as they burned. Others were bulldozed in to piles.(iii)

There was worse. As the current self righteous, if contradictory statements flow from Washington and Whitehall about Syria’s unproven chemical weapons, proven facts relate to America’s.

“From the 1940s to the 1990s the United States used various parts of Panama as a testing ground for chemical weapons, including mustard gas, VX, sarin, hydrogen cyanide and other nerve agents in … mines, rockets and shells; perhaps tens of thousands of chemical munitions.” (William Blum: Rogue State, 2002.)

Further, on departing Panama at the end of 1999 they left: “many sites containing chemical weapons. They had also: “conducted secret tests of Agent Orange in Panama …” In the 1989 invasion, the village of Pacora, near Panama City: “was bombed with (chemicals) by helicopters and aircraft from US Southern Command, with substances that burned skin, caused intense pain and diarrhea.”

Many analysts felt that Panama was the testing ground for Iraq.

Nine months after the poisoning of Panama, on Hiroshima Day 1990, the strangulating US-driven embargo on Iraq was enforced by the UN, after the US Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie had given the green light for Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait, after Kuwait’s considerable provocation and financial and geographical destabilization.(iv.)

The hype over chemical and other weapons went in to overdrive, leading Saddam Hussein to comment: “I am afraid, one day, you will say ‘You are going to make gunpowder out of wheat.’ ”

Thirteen months after Panama, America led a thirty one country coalition to “reduce Iraq to a pre-industrial age.” The only chemicals released from Iraq were the poisonous mix from the bombed pharmaceutical and fertilizer factories, the car manufacturing plants and the factories of Iraq’s entire industrial base, including the compounds holding the chemical and biological substances, including medical ones, sold to Iraq by the US, UK Germany and others over the previous decades, sales ironically, still ongoing at the time of the onslaught. (v.)

Highly toxic and radioactive substances were introduced into Iraq however, in the form of up to seven hundred and fifty tonnes of chemically toxic and radioactive depleted uranium munitions (DU) which have a toxic “half life” of 4.5 billion years. Iraq’s litany of deformed, still born, aborted babies, infants born with cancers, the tiny graves, silent testimony to weapons of mass destruction of unique wickedness. Iraq was bombed for forty two days and nights.

The hyped chemical weapons alleged to have been manufactured by Iraq were, of course, never deployed.

On 24th March 1999, NATO began to liberate Kosovo from Serbia. (US Silly Name: Operation Noble Anvil) Kosovo had an estimated ten trillion dollars worth of “inexhaustible” minerals in the Trebca mines.

The “liberation” was seventy eight days of relentless bombardment, including use of depleted uranium weaponry. Twenty thousand tonnes of bombs were dispatched. Destroyed systematically were communications centres, fuel depots, airports, traffic communications, trains, markets, the Chinese Embassy – China was against the attack, NATO, resoundingly unconvincingly, said they had the wrong map. And of course, the media centre. Murdering journalists is now another routine, unaccountable war crime.

Before the attack, the Pentagon stated that the Army of Yugoslavia possessed at least two kinds of poisonous gasses, with the facilities to produce them. The US Department of Defense warned Slobodan Milosevic the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army : “If Belgrade uses poisonous gasses sarin and mustard gas against NATO, the response of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will be devastating.”

Oddly, after the air strikes began, NATO mentioned not one word to indicate that it was attacking Serbia’s US-stated capacity to produce chemical weapons. (Zagred Globus, 16th April 1999, pp 18-19.)

The industrial scale destruction, however, left the Trebca mines unscathed.

   On 14th August 2000, nine hundred heavily armed British, French, Italian, Pakistani and KFOR troops were landed from helicopters at the mines. Managers and workers tried to fight them off and were beaten, tear gassed with plastic bullets used. The resisting staff were arrested.

UN papers described the action as: “ … induction of democratization in Kosovo.” The attack in fact, paved the way for selling of the mines -containing “the inexhaustible” estimated 77,302,000 tons of coal, copper, zinc, lead, nickel, gold, silver, marble, manganese, iron ore, asbestos and limestone “to name a few” – to private foreign groups. (News reports, websites.)

 

Read Full Article Here

“Zero Dark Thirty”: The latest in Obama propaganda

by Jim Fetzer

 

Here are four stories that didn’t make the mainstream news. They range from some you will find easy to believe to some you’ll find incredible.  One of them explains the staged photograph taken in the White House of Obama and others watching the fabricated raid on the “Osama compound”, which is being promoted in the brand new propaganda film, “Zero Dark Thirty”.

If you want to know more about the fabrication of 9/11 and you’re tired of the lies we’ve been told or want new independent information, you’ll want to check out The Vancouver Hearings, which were held June 15-17 at the Denman Theatre, 1737 Comox Street in Vancouver. Most of the presentations are linked to the titles of the speakers’ presentations. The “official account” of 9/11 has been destroyed just as thoroughly as were the Twin Towers!

Story 1: The “collapse” that wasn’t a collapse

Videos show Flight 175 completely entering the South Tower before it explodes, when that should have happened on contact. Would you believe that Pilots for 9/11 Truth has studied air/ground communications and discovered that Flight 175 was in the air but over Pittsburgh at the time?

Did you know the fires in the towers did not burn hot enough nor long enough to cause steel to weaken, much less melt? Have you noticed those buildings are blowing apart in every direction rather than falling to the ground – that they did not collapse?

Story 2: The first death of Saddam Hussein

How about the hanging of Saddam Hussein? You probably saw it on television. It was widely broadcast at the time. But Saddam Hussein, his two sons and about 60 members of his general staff were killed on April 7, 2003.

Chris Wachter, a B-1 bomber pilot, took them out with 2 JDAM bombs at a restaurant on the outskirts of Baghdad. He was lionized when he returned to his base, put on CNN, awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, and honored by The Rev. Robert Schiller at The Crystal Cathedral on May 25, 2003.

 

 

The following day, he was flown back to Langley, VA, home of the CIA, and told that, while they admired his flying skill, “officially,” Saddam had gotten away. Killing the leader of a foreign nation had been made illegal by executive orders from three presidents: Reagan, Carter and Ford. So they put one of his doubles in a spider hole, “found him” and then tried him and hung him on December 30, 2006. Almost no one noticed the difference.

Story 3: The second death of Osama bin Laden

Everyone knows that Barack Obama took out Osama bin Laden during that daring raid on his compound in Pakistan, right? There was a famous photograph of Obama, Biden and Hillary watching as it went down.

However, Leon Panetta, Director of the CIA, explained there had been no coverage for the first 20-25 minutes and these assaults only take five minutes or less. Osama bin Laden actually died of medical complications on December 15, 2001 and was buried in an unmarked grave.

 

Read Full Article Here

3,000 US troops secretly return to Iraq via Kuwait

US troops (file photo)

US troops (file photo)

According to our correspondent, the US troops have secretly entered Iraq in multiple stages and are mostly stationed at Balad military garrison in Salahuddin province and al-Asad air base in al-Anbar province.

Reports say the troops include US Army officers and almost 17,000 more are set to secretly return to Iraq via the same route.

All US troops left Iraq by the end of 2011, after nine years of occupation, as required by a 2008 bilateral security agreement between the two countries. The troops left Iraq for the neighboring Kuwait.

Washington decided to pull out all its troops from Iraq after Baghdad refused to grant legal immunity to the remaining US soldiers.

Washington claims that the only US military presence left in Iraq now is 157 soldiers responsible for training at the US Embassy, as well as a small contingent of marines protecting the diplomatic mission.

US-led forces attacked Iraq in 2003 and toppled Saddam Hussein on the pretext of possessing weapons of mass destruction. But no WMD was ever discovered in Iraq. At the peak of the US-led military operation in Iraq, there were 170,000 US troops and more than 500 bases in Iraq.

More than one million Iraqis were killed as the result of the US-led invasion and subsequent occupation of the country, according to the California-based investigative organization Project Censored.

HM/PKH/SS

Wars and Rumors of War

Power Struggle  : Special Interests  –  History

Maliki takes over Iraq’s security services

IRAQ WARS

by Staff Writers
Baghdad (UPI)

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a longtime friend of Tehran, has systematically infiltrated his operatives into the country’s intelligence services, rebuilt by the CIA after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 as a buttress against Iranian influence.

These services are a crucial component in what is increasingly seen as Maliki’s intention to establish himself as the supreme power in Iraq as it drives to become one of the world’s energy superpowers.

“The institutionalization of a new Iraqi intelligence apparatus after the fall of Saddam Hussein has been a tumultuous process,” observed the U.S. global security consultancy Stratfor.

Since the Americans began reshaping the intelligence services that Saddam had built into the most formidable pillar of his brutal regime, there’s been a struggle between the majority Shiites, many of whom lean toward Shiite Iran, and the Sunni minority that was the backbone of Saddam’s Baathist regime — and its security services.

The Americans found, as they had in Germany after World War II, that they needed the experienced operatives of the ousted regime to create new intelligence structures, in 1945 to combat the Soviet Union, after 2003, to counter an expansionist Iran.

They brought back hundreds of Sunni veterans of Saddam’s General Security Service and the many other branches of his elaborate intelligence network.

That didn’t sit well with the Shiites, who were empowered after Saddam’s downfall.

The core of the new system is the Iraqi National Intelligence Service, organized and funded by the CIA, and the Ministry of State for National Security.

The INIS, established in 2004, was initially headed by a Sunni, a former air force general named Mohammed Abdullah Shahwani who defected from Saddam’s regime in 1990 and played a key role in an ill-fated, CIA-backed plot to topple Saddam in 1996.

He recruited hundreds of former Baathists, with the CIA’s blessing. Many were veterans of Saddam’s infamous General Intelligence Directorate, which became Iraq’s leading foreign intelligence service, and in particular Department 18, which ran operations against Iran.

When Maliki was elected prime minister in 2006, the dominant Shiites sought to sabotage the Sunni-dominated INIS.

Maliki brought one of Saddam’s former generals, Sherwan al-Waeli who after the dictator’s fall played an increasingly important role in Maliki’s Shiite Ad-Dawa party. He built up a large cadre of supporters within the MSNS and by 2009 has built up a force of 1,500-2,000 intelligence operatives to rival Shahwani’s 1,200-strong INIS.

Informed sources say the Maliki-controlled MSNS runs as many as 20,000 personnel, giving the premier, who also controls the defense and interior ministries, power unrivalled since Saddam Hussein’s heyday.

The MSNS strength cannot be independently verified. But Stratfor observes the department “has expanded quickly to serve as a regime intelligence service” along the lines of Saddam’s Special Security Service.

The SSS, headed by his youngest son Qusai, was established in 1982 as a presidential intelligence service to protect the dictator. It had agents in every other intelligence and security organization in Iraq.

The pro-CIA Shahwani, who resisted Maliki’s personal takeover of the security services, resigned under pressure as INIS chief in 2009 after dozens of his men had been killed, either by rival Iraqi organizations or Iran’s intelligence apparatus.

Shahwani claims 290 of his officers were killed in 2004-09. Since then “the competition between the INIS and MSNS due to factional allegiances has only grown,” Stratfor observes.

INIS officers claim Maliki’s regime has issued arrest warrants against another 180. Stratfor reports “500 INIS officers have been killed and 700 imprisoned since 2004.

“The INIS appeared to mount a response in 2009, when Shiite sources within the INIS reported that MSNS personnel also were being assassinated,” it said.

“They claim the culprits were the hard-line former Baathist officers reinducted into the INIS.”

This internecine warfare is exposing Iraq to untold dangers as it wrestles with persistent security challenges as Iran’s influence increases following the U.S. withdrawal.

That could jeopardize Iraq’s economic future and its potential energy power.

“Instead of institutionalizing and focusing on threats to Iraq, the intelligence services have been fighting and focusing on threats to the regime,” Stratfor noted.

“Al-Maliki and other Shiite leaders will now try to enforce complete authority over all the Iraq’s intelligence services but it remains to be seen how well they can perform.”

 

Related Links
Iraq: The first technology war of the 21st century

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History :  Politics – War on terror

Q&A: what is the MEK and why did the US call it a terrorist organization?

The MEK cut a ‘swath of terror’ in the Middle East, but leaders have worked hard to convince the west they are peaceful now

    mek iraq

    About 2,000 members of the MEK currently live at a camp near Baghdad – but the organisation refuses to shift another 1,200 from a former training camp. Photograph: Hadi Mizban/AP

    Why did the US designate the MEK a terrorist organization in 1997?

    The MEK’s supporters say it was banned as a move by the Clinton administration to appease the Iranian government. The US state department, which decides which groups to include on the list of designated terrorist organisations, points to a long and bloody history.

    The MEK ran a bombing campaign inside Iran against the Shah’s regime the 1970s. The targets were sometimes American, including the US information office, Pepsi Cola, PanAm and General Motors. The group routinely denounced Zionism and “racist Israel”, and called for “death to America”.

    A state department report in 1992 identified the MEK as responsible for the killing of six Americans in Iran during the 1970s. They included three military officers and three men working for Rockwell International, a conglomerate specialising in aerospace including weapons, who were murdered in retaliation for the arrest of MEK members over the killings of the US military officers.

    The MEK was an enthusiastic supporter of the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran following the Iranian revolution. It called the eventual release of the American hostages a “surrender”.

    After falling out with Iran’s new rulers, led by Ayatollah Khomeini, the MEK launched a bomb campaign against the Islamic government. In 1981, it attacked the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party, killing 74 senior officials including the party leader and 27 members of parliament. A few months later it bombed a meeting of Iran’s national security council, killing Iran’s president and the prime minister.

    The state department described the MEK as cutting a “swath of terror” across the country in the following years and of “violent attacks in Iran that victimize civilians”.

    “Since 1981 the [MEK] have claimed responsibility for murdering thousands of Iranians they describe as agents of the regime,” the report said.

    The bombings continued into the 1990s including one at Khomeini’s tomb and against oil refineries.

    Who supported the MEK?

    After the MEK leadership fell out with the Islamic regime it fled first to Paris. France expelled the MEK leader, Masud Rajavi, in 1986. The group then ran into the arms of Iran’s enemy, the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein. Iraq helped arm the MEK’s thousands of fighters with artillery, guns and tanks and housed them in three camps near Baghdad and along the border with Iran. Baghdad also supplied money.

    saddam hussein MEKSaddam Hussein helped arm the MEK’s fighters. Photograph: APThe MEK’s armed wing, the National Liberation Army (NLA), conducted raids into Iran during the last stages of the Iran-Iraq war. It also became a tool of Saddam Hussein’s campaign of internal oppression.

    “The NLA’s last major offensive reportedly was conducted against Iraqi Kurds in 1991 when it joined Saddam Hussein’s brutal repression of the Kurdish rebellion,” the state department report said.

    The last major act of violence committed by the MEK in the west was in 1992 when it stormed Iranian diplomatic missions in the US, Britain, Canada, Germany, France and Switzerland. The assault was in response to an Iranian air force bombing raid on an MEK base in Iraq.

    Wouldn’t the killing of Americans, calls for the destruction of Israel and supporting Saddam Hussein be enough to scare off any American politician from ever supporting the MEK?

    The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 changed everything for the MEK. Its fighters at Camp Ashraf, near the Iranian border, and other sites near Baghdad were disarmed by the Americans. The MEK leadership moved swiftly to distance itself from Saddam Hussein, emphasizing its opposition to the Islamic government in Tehran and casting its supporters as selfless and long suffering supporters of freedom and democracy. From then on the MEK reinvented itself in American eyes.

    Until the 1990s it was known as the People’s Holy Warriors of Iran, but that’s not the kind of name to win support in the west these days so it tweaked the name.

    Two decades ago, the state department identified the MEK as running what it called “a determined lobbying effort among western parliamentarians”.

    “To conduct its propaganda campaign the group has established offices through western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and the Middle East,” it said. “Through such efforts, the (MEK) attempt to transform western opprobrium for the government of Iran into expressions of support for themselves”.

    The MEK leadership has played on opposition to the present Iranian leadership, which is in part bound up with concerns among US politicians over Tehran’s nuclear program and fears for Israel’s security, to bury its past by portraying itself as a democratic and popular alternative to the Islamic regime.

    “Exploiting western opprobrium of the behavior of the current government of Iran, the (MEK) posit themselves as the alternative. To achieve that goal, they claim they have the support of a majority of Iranians. This claim is much disputed by academics and other specialists on Iran, who assert that in fact the MEK have little support among Iranians,” it said.

    The state department report quotes an American journalist as saying of the MEK: “They hope to transform their public image in America from terrorists to freedom fighters”.

    It appears to have been largely successful in that. Few of the MEK’s American backers appear to know the detail of its past, particularly the scale of its killing and the depth of its hostility to the US and Israel. Instead it described as a loyal and useful ally. Supporters say that it was the MEK that first provided the US with information about Iran’s nuclear programme.

    Has the MEK changed?

    It has certainly abandoned violence, at least for now. But that is in part because it was forcibly disarmed by the US army in Iraq. It also recognizes that since 9/11, bombing attacks by a mostly Muslim organization are not likely to win it friends in the west.

    In exile, the MEK leadership established the National Council of Resistance which has evolved into what the group calls a parliament in exile.

    But the MEK is far from democratic. It is autocratically run by a husband and wife, Masud and Maryam Rajavi, who the state department say have “fostered a cult of personality”.

    In its 1992 report on the MEK, the state department said the group’s leadership “never practices democracy within their organization”.

    “Many Iranians who have dealt with MEK members assert that the [MEK] suppress dissent, often with force, and do not tolerate different viewpoints. The [MEK’s] credibility is also undermined by the fact that they deny or distort sections of their history, such as the use of violence or opposition to Zionism. It is difficult to accept at face value promises of future conduct when an organisation fails to acknowledge its past,” the report said.

    So what is the likelihood of the MEK being unbanned?

    As part of their campaign, the MEK’s supporters have won a federal court order requiring the state department to make a decision on whether the group should remain on the designated terrorist list by October 1.

    Some pro-MEK activists have interpreted that as a foregone conclusion that the state department will have to delist the organisation. They have been bolstered by its unbanning in Europe.

    The MEK’s well financed and organized lobbying campaign has placed enormous pressure on the state department to delist the group. But the state department has warned the MEKthat its status will in part be decided over whether it obeys a demand to leave its main camp in Iraq. Its refusal, so far, to move remaining supporters from Camp Ashraf – where it used to train its paramilitary fighters – to a former US military base near Baghdad is said by the state department to be a significant obstacle to delisting the group.

    The MEK has moved 2,000 of the 3,200 people who were living in Camp Ashraf but refuses to shift the rest. The MEK has portrayed the issue as a humanitarian one to its sympathizers in Washington, saying that all that remains in Camp Ashraf are families and that conditions in the Baghdad camp are inadequate. They say it is effectively a prison – even going so far as to call it a concentration camp – and alleged they will be vulnerable to violence from the Iraqi government and forces.

    Some US officials say that those refusing to leave shows that the MEK has not really abandoned its past.