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Yesterday, Bink wrote:

Howard Dean, a long-time friend of this site, has appeared on a list of high-profile Washington Insiders who have been providing material support to an Iranian terrorist group in exchange for cold, hard cash.
I've been in Washington for nearly 30 years. While there are lots of politicians I can readily see exchanging their access for "cold, hard cash," (hello Heath Shuler!) Howard Dean isn't one of them.

As Mark Twain allegedly said, "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." In this case, the truth isn't nearly as interesting as the original story of politicians committing criminal acts.

According to Laura Goldman, who writes the Naked Philadelphian blog, she spoke to a source who was on calls with the State Department when it asked for help with MEK.

Writes Goldman:

This source, who is in a position to know, said, "Every week or two for the last three months, I have been on the calls with Ambassador Dan Fried, who was appointed by the State Department to deal with MEK, asking for our help in moving members of the MEK from the camp in Ashraf to Camp Liberty."

Ambassador Fried's official mandate within the State Department is to relocate Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

So what is the deal with the OFAC investigation of Ed Rendell? According to Goldman's source:

He suspects the Treasury Department subpoenaed Rendell now because of a looming State Department court deadline. For more than two years, the MEK has been suing in federal court to be removed from the terror watch list. The State Department has repeatedly delayed providing their explanation for keeping the MEK on the terror watch list or offered any evidence that they are still terrorists. The judge, fed up with the slow pace of their answers, insisted on a March 26 deadline.
Alan Dershowitz has filed a brief on behalf of the MEK. He has told Goldman that the situation at the camp is "a humanitarian disaster."

In late December 2011, Ashraf residents agreed to move to Camp Liberty, a former U.S. military base near Baghdad to be interviewed by the UN refugee agency as a prelude to their transfer to third countries. The conditions were little better than a ghetto:

With no running water, no electricity at night, vipers roaming free, no access to doctors or lawyers, and excrement from the broken sewage plant running around the dwellings like a stream, any comparison between Camp Liberty and hell was wholly appropriate.

The residential area of Liberty is surrounded by 4 meters-high concrete walls and Iraqi armed forces roam all over the area around the clock. The place fits the description for a prison perfectly.

Howard Dean's position has always been that America must keep its word to the MEK.

Goldman's source believes that the pending court case will mandate that the State Department remove the MEK from the terror watch list in the United States, as has been done in European Union. The British and French governments also removed MEK from their watch lists.

Concludes Goldman:

If the MEK is soon removed from the terror watch list, all of the the recent media hullabaloo will have been naught. Rendell and the other politicians helping MEK will have been wrongly smeared.

If that is indeed the case, I hope Glenn Greenwald and everyone else who smeared Rendell, Dean and other politicians as "paid shills" devote as many column inches to apologies as they did to their accusations.

Thu Mar 15, 2012 at  9:24 AM PT: Documents that Show Rendell and MEK Politicos Are Being Slimed

Over at Naked Philadelphia blog, Laura Goldman has posted about documents she received that shed a different light on politicians helping MEK.

The first two documents are the American government promise of protection given to each individual MEK member if he disarmed.

The third document is a letter from Major General Miller, deputy commander of the multinational forces in Iraq, reiterating the US government promise that MEK members are protecting under the Geneva convention.

In her post yesterday, Goldman's source speculated that the OFAC investigation of Ed Rendell was timed because of a March 26 court of appeals deadline. Goldman has linked to the court order, quoting NCIS Special Agent Gibbs: "I don't believe in coincidences."

Read the documents at

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

    by mini mum on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 05:10:28 PM PDT

  •  they won't go to jail (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And they know this, it's clear they know they are above the law for them to be breaking it by aiding and abetting terrorists in such a blatant manner.

    Which is too bad, the world would be a better place with Rendell in Gitmo.

  •  Maybe I missed it, but I don't see where (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, Simplify, BradyB, chipmo

    you established that any of the following are false:

    1.  The MEK is a terrorist organization.

    2.  Dean et al. have aided and abetted the MEK.

    3. Dean et al. have been handsomely compensated for doing so.

    I'm willing to believe that any or all of these are false, but I need some evidence, given that credible sources like NIAC Insight have contended otherwise.

    •  To answer your questions: (0+ / 0-)

      1. MEK has sued for the past 2 years to get off the FTO list. Brig. Gen. David Phillips, former commander of all police operations in Iraq, which included the protection of Camp Ashraf, could not find any evidence that MEK was involved in terrorist activities. (The NBC story offers speculation but no evidence that MEK is currently engaged in terrorist activities.)

      2. If you adopt Greenwald's myopic worldview, they've aided & abetted the MEK.  The purpose of this column was to refute the allegation of material support; the request for assistance from the State Department mitigates material support charges.

      3. Justin Elliott's information was based on someone else's information; he has no firsthand knowledge of how much Dean was compensated. (Dean responded to Elliott's allegations.)

      NIAC is another story and its activities have raised questions that remain unresolved.

      Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

      by mini mum on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 05:44:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hrm... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        1. Obviously "proof" is going to be hard to come by given the area where these people work and the highly cultish nature of their organization.  But there must be one heck of a conspiracy to make all of these "speculative" reports sprout up out of nowhere.  And it's not like the US is the only not-very-friendly-with-Tehran country to treat the MEK as a terrorist organization.  Also, you're linking to the Washington Times.  Please try to find a real source.

        2. He's certainly providing a level of support well beyond the level that has been used to justify imprisoning Americans who dared to work with "terrorist" organizations that didn't have such powerful support in Washington.  

        3. Elliott also responded to Dean's response, and I have to say his case seems pretty solid:  

        4.  Seriously, Kyl and the Washington Times (again)?  The linked piece suggests no issues with NIAC beyond its having committed the grave sin of advocating a relatively sane Iran policy.

        You seem to want to make this about Greenwald, but this is information that's been in the public eye for some time.  

        If Dean is being accused of a specific crime, then as a matter of law, he is innocent until proven guilty. But he is entitled to no such presumption when he is simply accused of being an unscrupulous shill shilling unscrupulously.  Indeed, given his actions, I would have to say the onus is on him to clear his name from that charge.

        •  he didnt commit a crime (0+ / 0-)

          An element of the crime is that he coordinated with the group, and he didn't.  Greenwald dishonestly elides the difference between MEK and its US supporters.

        •  Your comment relies on hearsay (0+ / 0-)

          1. You're assuming that MEK is a cult. If you want a better source than, here is Brig. Gen. Phillip's statement in the June 21, 2005, Congressional Record, page E1299.

          2. Again, nothing has been established to determine the level of support exceeded justifying imprisoning Americans who have been jailed on these charges.

          3. Again, Elliott's response lacks firsthand knowledge of his subject and his response simply repeats much of what he said in the original story.

          4. The link to Kyl was Politico. Sadly, Sen. Kyl didn't release the letter as a press release. I wish he had.

          Your assumption that Howard Dean is shilling unscrupulously. He hasn't done anything that requires him to clear his name from any charge and only speaks to your lack of familiarity with Howard Dean.

          Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

          by mini mum on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 05:13:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  they were paid by other groups, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mini mum, VClib

      not MEK, so there's no crime.

  •  stop meddling (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Just do it. Everything you think is so clever and devious makes things worse. Let the people in the Middle East make their own decisions and stop funding these shady groups. If they have any support from their own people, they'll make it, and own it, on their own.

    Remember Chalibi?

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson

    by Karl Rover on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 05:32:38 PM PDT

  •  devoting column inches (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askyron, Spoc42

    to apologies isn't something we're likely to see in this century.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 05:39:10 PM PDT

    •  Particularly (0+ / 0-)

      Since Glenn Greenwald seems to think he is above reproach.

      Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

      by mini mum on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 05:47:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Missing the point of the entire conversation (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilK, BradyB, chipmo

        The point is that the government can declare whomever they want to be terrorists and then criminalize anyone else helping them in the slightest way, and that the government only applies this ridiculously oppressive legal construct to powerless Muslims and not to members of the political class. Can we try to go after that assault on our liberty please?

        The point isn't whether Dean supports a "terrorist" organization. The outrage expressed here isn't productive to making America a better country. it's just an attack on Greenwald.

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 06:56:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not true. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          dean didnt break the law, and any argument predicated on that false claim is equally false.

        •  No (0+ / 0-)

          The US government actively solicited their assistance with MEK. That in itself suggests some amnesty is provided.

          Since social media has a multiplier effect, and Greenwald flogged his column through Twitter, I see no reason why Greenwald and others shouldn't be held accountable for their erroneous claims, especially when a knowledgeable source has rebutted them.

          Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

          by mini mum on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 07:06:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Guess we'll just keep oppressing Muslims (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PhilK, chipmo

            and letting our rights be obliterated. Clearly other things are more important.

            Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

            by Simplify on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 07:19:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That comment (0+ / 0-)

              speaks directly to your handle.  I suppose you are equally unbothered by the NYPD's baseless surveillance of Muslims?

              Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

              by mini mum on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 05:16:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Could someone explain how MEK the org relates (0+ / 0-)

    to the individuals who are in the camp and might need assistance?  Is the MEK still enforcing ideological discipline among these people?

    Where are we, now that we need us most?

    by Frank Knarf on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 06:26:32 PM PDT

    •  The individuals are MEK members (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Frank Knarf

      When the last American combat troops left Iraq, they left behind about 3,500 Iranians being held inside Camp Ashraf near Baghdad. They are members of Mujahedin e-Khalq, or MEK, a group that seeks to overthrow the current Iranian regime.

      However, the U.S. also lists MEK as a terrorist group, which, as I pointed out, was designated as such by the Clinton Administration as a way to smooth relations with Teheran.

      MEK renounced violence in 2001. In 2003 the U.S. military peacefully disarmed the inhabitants of Camp Ashraf. American FBI agents visited Ashraf and questioned all of the 3,400 residents. None were found to be associated with terrorists or terrorism. To my knowledge, MEK are not enforcing ideological discipline among them. The US military made a promise in writing that each resident would be protected against outside threats.

      Retired Army Brigadier General David Phillips, who was in charge of security at Camp Ashraf, says he tried to find evidence that the MEK were terrorists — but he could not.

      In 2009, and again in 2011, American troops were ordered to leave the vicinity of Ashraf by the Iraqi Government -- then led by Prime Minister Maliki. Iraqi troops went into Ashraf and killed 47 unarmed civilians in cold blood.

      Greenwald claim is Dean, Rendell and others have materially supported a group on the government's terrorist list, which is a crime based on the Supreme Court's decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project. Social media has an exponential effect--the claims in Greenwald's column have been repeated uncritically by other journalists such as Kevin Drum and Josh Rogin.  

      If these politicians were asked to help by the US Government then there must be some amnesty granted to them in order to do what they were asked to do.

      Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

      by mini mum on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 07:02:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  whether they get removed or not... (0+ / 0-)

    doesn't change the fact that Dean and company are currently brazenly aiding and abetting a recognized terrorist organization.

    Why would a change in status confer retroactive immunity?

  •  You missed the point of GG's article (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BradyB, PhilK, chipmo

    He's not demanding jail time for Dean and the others involved with MEK - he is arguing that the same standards used to throw a satellite TV salesperson in jail for 5 years should be applied to Dean and other MEK supporters. In fact, GG describes the ruling as "one of the most severe erosions of free speech rights in decades".

    It's all about how politicians are seemingly exempt from following laws (good or bad), while everyone else pays the price.

    “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

    by 420 forever on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 08:13:55 PM PDT

    •  I didn't miss his point (0+ / 0-)

      His point was clear in demanding they be held accountable for violating Holder v. HLP.  If you've noticed how Greenwald has been flogging his story on Twitter, he's not pushing the free speech erosions; he's been gloating over the double standard.

      The truth is not so black & white, which is my point. Why should the US government prosecute individuals who are acting as intermediaries at the government's request?

      Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

      by mini mum on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 05:05:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Are the statements of two administration officials (0+ / 0-)

    ambiguous?  This seems like good reporting by NBC (not Greenwald) - a second official confirms the statement of the first official, even though both statements were provided anonymously.

    One constructive response would be for Howard Dean to state that if the NBC article is true, then the MEK should remain on the list of designated terrorist organizations.

    Any thoughts?

    •  NBC doesn't establish any truth (0+ / 0-)

      It relies solely on speculation and the statements of US officials who aren't willing to go on the record.

      Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

      by mini mum on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 05:06:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Mini - You may be setting too high a bar, for (0+ / 0-)

        officials in the Obama administration and for journalism.  Two anonymous sources from the administration, plus editorial review by NBC makes for a relatively strong article - in this day and age.

        Why would the adminstration officials want to remain anonymous?  And why would two officials want to lie? Their story has very serious implications.  

        Please take a moment and ask what if their story is true?  What should that mean for the future status of the MEK?

  •  I have to assume the author didn't read (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Kelly, chipmo, BradyB

    Greenwald's article. The entire point is that the law is too broad, and enforced solely in a manner which allows elites like Rendell and Dean to break the law with no consequences.

    The group they are interacting with, being paid by, and supporting is undeniably designated as a terrorist group. It's irrelevant whether you "can see" somebody contributing to a terrorist group, and in fact is almost exactly the point he was making. It's not up to people to "see" who is contributing to a group based on their personality or whether a person believes the group is wrongly named a terrorist group. The law is what matters.

    Rendell was paid $20k for a 10 minutes speech by the group. The law, which Greenwald has been saying constantly is far too broad, says that any support is illegal. This includes youtube videos.

    You are arguing that it is ok for these people who supported the overly broad terrorism laws to break the laws because they, and you, don't believe the group is a terrorist group, despite being legally named a terrorist group.

    You make no argument that the law, or violation of civil liberties is wrong, but argue that people pointing out the problems with the laws, and pointing out the hypocrisy in the enforcement of the laws are somehow wrong.

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