Posts tagged Iran
Posts tagged Iran
The Pentagon stated on Wednesday that the top U.S. military officer has ordered a review of training material after a course for officers was found to consider that the United States is at war with Islam, Reuters reported.
According to the agency, “Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey sent a letter on Tuesday to leaders of the Army and other services, along with regional commanders and officials heading the National Guard, ordering a review of relevant training and education material across the military.”
Dempsy said that “this review will ensure our professional education programs exhibit the cultural sensitivity, respect for religion and intellectual balance that we should expect in our academic institutions.”
The review was prompted by a soldier who sent a complaint after having completed an elective course entitled “Perspectives on Islam and Islamite Radicalism” at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia.
The course included an assertion “that the United States is at war with Islam and we ought to just recognize that we are war with Islam,” Pentagon spokesman, Captain John Kirby was quoted as saying.
Kirby added before reporters that “that’s not at all what we believe to be the case. We’re at war against terrorism, specifically Al-Qaeda, who has a warped view of the Islamic faith.”
Reuters quoted him as saying that “US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also felt deep concern over the discovery, which follows a string of incidents that, more than 10 years after the Afghan war began, have exposed a persisting gap between people in the conservative Muslim nation and the Western soldiers fighting Islamist militants there.”
Defense Clandestine Service will focus on global threats and emerging economic and military powers
The Pentagon is to create a new spy service to focus on global strategic threats and the challenges posed by countries including Iran, North Korea and China. The move will bring to 17 the total number of intelligence organisations in the US.
The Defense Clandestine Service is supposed to work closely with its counterpart in the CIA, the National Clandestine Service, recruiting spies from the ranks of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and deploying them globally to boost the flow of intelligence on perceived long-term threats to US national interests.
US military news website Insidedefense said the defence department had asked Congress for authority for spies to work undercover posing as businessmen when conducting covert operations abroad.
The move by the defence secretary, Leon Panetta, emerged in briefings to US journalists.
“You have to do global coverage,” a senior defence official said, according to the Los Angeles Times. The new service would seek to “make sure officers are in the right locations to pursue those requirements”, the Washington Post quoted the official as saying.
The Pentagon argues that the new service is necessary because the DIA spends most of its time and manpower reporting tactical intelligence about battlefields such as Afghanistan, and not enough time looking at strategic issues.
Obama administration officials have said they want to switch US national security focus away from the Middle East to address long-term issues such as China’s rise and nuclear threats in North Korea and Iran. Pentagon sources suggested the new service would also focus on Africa, where al-Qaida affiliates are on the rise.
The new service will be relatively small, increasing in numbers “from several hundred to several more hundred” over the next few years, according to defence department officials.
The US already has 16 different intelligence organisations scattered around the defence, state, justice, homeland security and energy departments, as well as the armed services.
After the attacks of 11 September 2001 revealed a lack of co-operation and intelligence-sharing among them, the Bush administration restructured the “intelligence community”, putting it all under a director of national intelligence.
Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary for most of the Bush era, attempted to increase the Pentagon’s espionage capability dramatically but the attempt was rebuffed by the CIA, which was at loggerheads with Rumsfeld’s defence department over Iraq.
The Pentagon insisted that this time its new clandestine service would be set up in close collaboration with the CIA, which is led by the former military commander General David Petraeus. The fact that Panetta is a former CIA director is also said to have helped smooth co-operation.
Not all intelligence experts are convinced that the creation of a new organisation will help America’s espionage capacity, however. Some argue that the move reflects turf battles and empire-building.
“I’m not sure what they are supposed to achieve that the CIA doesn’t,” Joshua Foust, a former DIA Middle East analyst told the LA Times. “This seems like a territorial thing: ‘Hey, the CIA has this – why don’t we have it, too?’ … I’m pretty sceptical that it’s necessary or good.”
The aircraft carrier Enterprise has moved into the Persian Gulf, although it’s an antique, slow-moving target and a potential lightening rod for war on Iran. As a retired Navy man told me last month, “A couple of torpedoes would stagger the thing, and then you’ve got the Alamo, the Maine, the Lusitania, Pearl Harbor, the Gulf of Tonkin and 9/11 all over again,” he said, “with Iran in the crosshairs.”
Enterprise needlessly joins the strike group of the 100,000-ton carrier Lincoln with its crew of 3,200 already in the Gulf. TV-Novosti reported April 10 that in March President Obama sent his second amphibious assault group to the Gulf. Those gun boats include a nuclear submarine, a Marine helicopter squadron and more than 2,000 Marines.
At 51, Enterprise is the oldest ship in the Navy, having seen action since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. From the bombing of Laos in 1973 and the 1986 bombing of Libya, to the 800,000 pounds of munitions it fired into Afghanistan in 2001, Enterprise has helped maintain a string of atrocity producing situations that has no end in sight.
Set for retirement and decommissioning this fall, Enterprise’s Gulf deployment is its last. But it has no purpose whatsoever as a war machine when 11 newer and more sophisticated carriers are available. Indeed Enterprise is a hugely expensive liability, a deadly heap of hazardous scrap. Its fiercely radioactive reactors and waste fuel require dangerous and costly removal and long-term isolation from the ecosphere as nuclear waste material.
So Enterprise, the first ever nuclear-powered carrier,parades through the Gulf with lots of gunpowder. Its “strike group 12” consists of: Carrier Air Wing 1; the guided-missile cruiser Vicksburg;and Destroyer Squadron 2, comprising guided-missile destroyers Nitze, Porter and James E. Williams. Enterprise is 1,123 feet long, weighs 94,000 tons, has 8 propulsion reactors, four 35-ton rudders, two gyms, a crew of at least 3,100, a television station and—no doubt demonstrating a free press— a daily paper.
The government knows its loss at sea would be cheaper than retirement, and if it can scare the country into yet another shooting war, our munitions makers and weapons merchants continue swimming in billions of tax dollars defending freedom and peace. In January, when Sec. of Defense Leon Panetta first said he would send Enterprise to the Gulf “to send a direct message to Iran,” the price of gas shot up and stayed up. You’d almost think the oil giants like war. The privatized DoD contractor corporations certainly do.
To get public opinion and NATO behind war on Iran, the war party needs to both sideline our Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan Syndromes and to flabbergast Russia, China and India. How better than to make it look as if Iran started it? Deployment of the Enterprise is hair-raising in the context of previous “false flag” provocations in the region. Like the Lavon Affair before it, Israel actually attacked the U.S. spy ship Liberty June 8, 1967 — using unmarked jet fighters and torpedoes — initially blaming Egypt in an attempt to draw Washington into the war. Israel later claimed it attacked what it thought was an Egyptian ship, yet no one was charged or disciplined. Ward Boston, the U.S. Navy Senior Counsel for the Court of Inquiry, says in a 2002 affidavit, “Both [lead investigator] Admiral [Isaac] Kidd and I believed with certainty that this attack, which killed 34 sailors and injured 172, was a deliberate effort to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew.”
Today the Enterprise has nothing to do but act like the greasiest sitting duck in history. No one should believe that Iran is dumb enough to take the bait.
IRONY ALERT! IRONY ALERT!
President Barack Obama announced Monday that he has signed an executive order allowing new sanctions against companies that enable Syria and Iran to use technology such as cell phone monitoring to carry out human rights abuses.
The order is part of a broader strategy intended to strengthen the administration’s ability to prevent atrocities, including creation of an Atrocities Prevention Board, Obama said in somber remarks at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“These technologies should be in place to empower citizens, not to repress them,” Obama said of the measure, which targets the Syrian and Iranian governments, as well as companies that provide them with high-tech equipment to use against their own people.
A White House statement said the executive order signed Sunday “authorizes sanctions and visa bans against those who commit or facilitate grave human rights abuses via information technology … related to Syrian and Iranian regime brutality.”
“This novel sanctions tool allows us to sanction not just those oppressive governments, but the companies that enable them with technology they use for oppression and the ‘digital guns for hire’ who create or operate systems used to monitor, track, and target citizens for killing, torture, or other grave abuses,” the White House statement said.
Obama said the new Atrocities Prevention Board will meet for the first time on Monday at the White House.
It will have members from several government departments, including State, Defense, Treasury, Justice and Homeland Security, as well as other agencies, to help the United States improve its ability to identify and respond more quickly to threats of atrocities, according to the White House statement.
“Across government, alert channels will make sure that information about unfolding crises and dissenting opinions reach decision-makers, including me,” Obama said.
Other steps include what Obama called the first-ever intelligence assessment on the risk of mass atrocities and genocide, saying the goal is to “institutionalize the focus on this issue.”
“Our Treasury Department will work more quickly to deploy its financial tools to block the flow of money to abusive regimes,” the president said. “Our military will take additional steps to incorporate the prevention of atrocities into its doctrine and its planning. The State Department will surge our diplomats and experts in a crisis.”
He received applause from the audience of Holocaust survivors and others when he said, in clear reference to the situation in Syria, that “national sovereignty is never a license to slaughter your people.”
Obama has come under heavy criticism on foreign policy issues recently from Republicans, including his certain opponent in the November election, Mitt Romney, and the president’s comments appeared aimed at defending a range of acts by his administration that he said saved “countless lives” around the world.
Calling the prevention of atrocities and genocide a “core national security interest” as well as a core American value, Obama added: “That does not mean that we intervene militarily every time there is an atrocity committed. We cannot and should not.”
A major Israel TV station on Sunday night broadcast a detailed report on how Israel will go about attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities in the event that diplomacy and sanctions fail and Israel decides to carry out a military strike.
The report, screened on the main evening news of Channel 10, was remarkable both in terms of the access granted to the reporter, who said he had spent weeks with the pilots and other personnel he interviewed, and in the fact that his assessments on a strike were cleared by the military censor.
No order to strike is likely to be given before the P5+1 talks with Iran resume in May, the reporter, Alon Ben-David, said. “But the coming summer will not only be hot but tense.”
In the event that negotiations fail and the order is given for Israel to carry out an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, “dozens if not more planes” will take part in the mission: attack and escort jets, tankers for mid-air refueling, electronic warfare planes and rescue helicopters, the report said.
Ben-David said the Israel Air Force “does not have the capacity to destroy the entire Iranian program.” There will be no replication of the decisive strikes on Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981 or on Syria in 2007, he said. “The result won’t be definitive.” But, a pilot quoted in the report said, the IAF will have to ensure that it emerges with the necessary result, with “a short and professional” assault.
Ben-David said that if negotiations break down, and Iran moves key parts of its nuclear program underground to its Qom facility, the IAF “is likely to get the order and to set out on the long journey to Iran.”
“Years of preparations are likely to come to realization,” he said, adding that “the moment of truth is near.”
Ben-David interviewed several squadron leaders, pilots and other officers. He noted that some of the IAF personnel, “it is likely, will not return from the mission.” An officer named Gilad said it would be “naive” to think there would be no losses.
The IAF is said to be worried about the advanced anti-aircraft systems that Russia has sold to countries in the region, the report said. Among those systems, the SA 17 and 22 in Syria and Iran present a challenge.
According to the report, it’s the older versions of the F-15 that can fly further than any other plane in Israel’s arsenal, and this puts them on the front line of any potential attack.
One pilot said in the report that the F-15 “is a plane with a very wide range of operation — a combination of relatively energy-efficient engines, and significant flightworthiness regarding weapons and fuel.”
The IAF has a full-sized unmanned plane, the “Eitan,” that is said to be able to fly to Iran, the report indicated. “This plane can do all that is required of it when the order is given,” a pilot said, without elaboration.
The attack, the report said, would presumably trigger a war in northern Israel, with missile attacks (presumably from the Iranian-proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon). “There will be no tranquility and peace anywhere in Israel,” Ben-David said.
This could be the first full-scale war the IAF has fought in nearly 30 years, the report stated.
Pilots had already been told where their families would be moved, away from their bases, for safety, the report said.
Side Note: As IF “International Law” has EVER stopped anything the terrorist states of ISRAEL and the USA have EVER done. ALSO: Alan Dershowitz is a world-renown LIAR, nothing that piece of shit says is true, he distorts everything.
As US and Israeli officials weigh up prospect of military strike on Iran, critics say any attack would go against international law
By Chris McGreal
Amid the sabre-rattling and bluster over Iran, a furious if little-noticed debate is boiling over the legal basis for a US or Israeli attack on Tehran’s nuclear programme.
The threat of a military strike hangs over this weekend’s talks in Istanbul between the major powers and Iran.
The Israeli leadership says an attack will come within months, not years, if the present diplomatic push fails. The US Congress is not far behind, with the Republican leadership pledging to pass an authorisation for the use of “overwhelming military force” if there are signs Iran is developing a nuclear weapon.
Barack Obama is more cautious, but says the “military option” remains on the table if sanctions fail to persuade Tehran to give up its enriched uranium.
But while intelligence agencies grapple to assess whether Tehran is attempting to develop a nuclear weapon and militaries on both sides of the Atlantic consider the logistics of bombing Iran, legal authorities are confronting the challenge of constructing a legal case for attack, if it comes.
And already there is considerable dispute over the issue.
The New York Times this morning is prominently featuring a long article documenting the Terroristic aggression of Iran, as evidenced by that country’s attempts to exert influence and foment unrest in Afghanistan: because, as all decent people know, only tyrannical fanatics would attempt to interfere in Afghanistan (similarly, a couple months ago, President Obama and Secretary Clinton both sternly warned the rest of the world, particularly Iran, not to “interfere” or “meddle” in Iraq; they did so as Clinton simultaneously announced that the U.S. “will have arobust continuing presence throughout the region“). The International Community knows that interfering in those countries is the exclusive prerogative of the U.S. and its allies, and Iran’s attempt to assert influence — in countries that directly border it — is clear evidence of its status as a rogue, Terror nation.
I want to focus here on the reporting methods of the NYT. A couple weeks ago, I wrote a column entitled “What NPR Means by ‘Reporting’” regarding its report that warned of the growing threat of Iranian “state-sponsored Terrorism.” This growing Persian Terrorism, NPR explained, was evidenced by multiple “red flags” — the attempt to kill the Saudi ambassador! the attack on Israeli officials! — all of which shows that Iran is “back on the offensive.” As a result, Iran is replacing Al Qaeda as the prime Terrorist threat. Nothing in the report mentioned the multiple acts of aggression against Iran; instead, the entire report was based on unchallenged pronouncements from two ex-National Security officials and one Washington think tank “expert” about unprovoked Iranian aggression and Terrorism. That led me to this observation: “this is what establishment-serving journalists in Washington mean when they boast that they, but not their critics, engage in so-called ‘real reporting’; it means: calling up Serious People in Washington and uncritically repeating what they say.”
Here are the first three paragraphs of this morning’s big NYT report:
Just hours after it was revealed that American soldiers had burned Korans seized at an Afghan detention center in late February, Iran secretly ordered its agents operating inside Afghanistan to exploit the anticipated public outrage by trying to instigate violent protests in the capital, Kabul, and across the western part of the country, according to American officials.
For the most part, the efforts by Iranian agents and local surrogates failed to provoke widespread or lasting unrest, the officials said. Yet with NATO governments preparing for the possibility of retaliation by Iran in the event of an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities, the issue of Iran’s willingness and ability to foment violence in Afghanistan and elsewhere has taken on added urgency.
With Iran’s motives and operational intentions a subject of intense interest, American officials have closely studied the episodes. A mixed picture of Iranian capabilities has emerged, according to interviews with more than a dozen government officials, most of whom discussed the risks on the condition of anonymity because their comments were based on intelligence reports.
The article is basically written by “American officials,” all of whom are granted anonymity with no real justification, given that they’re all reciting the official government line about Iran in unison. The first three paragraphs of the story consist of literally nothing other than the unchallenged pronouncements of these officials. And it all leads to this:
Those activities also reflect a broader campaign that includeswhat American officials say was a failed plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States in October, and what appears to have been a coordinated effort by Iran to attack Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia this year… .The plots have also prompted American and other intelligence agencies to renew their focus on state-sponsored terrorism after a decade dominated by Al Qaeda, its regional affiliates and other shadowy terrorist networks. American officials say they never took their eye off state-sponsored threats, but rising tensions with Iran have caused these organizations to re-emerge in the public eye.
Russia is building up forces in the Caucasus region, preparing to protect its interests in case Israel attacks Iran with the help of the United States, the western media said.
GenerationalDynamics.com said the Russian military believes that when the US goes to war with Iran, it may deploy forces in friendly Georgia and warships in the Caspian Sea with the possible help of Azerbaijan.
Hence, Russia is deploying guided anti-ship missiles on the Caspian shore in preparation, and is forming an offensive spearhead force, heavily armed with modern long-range weapons, it added.
In the case of an Iranian war, it’s expected that the Russian spearhead will be ordered to strike south to prevent the presumed deployment of US bases in the region, to link up with the troops in Armenia, and take over the South Caucasus energy corridor along which Azeri, Turkmen and, other Caspian natural gas and oil may reach European markets, the website added.
By one swift military strike Russia may ensure control of all the Caucasus and the Caspian states, for the first time since the Soviet Union dissolved, it said.
President Obama’s statement on defense strategy announced a stronger U.S. presence in Asia-Pacific, while keeping Africa under the radar. Yet, recent developments unequivocally suggest that the Black Continent has become the new U.S. playground of imperial military conquest. Mali is the country currently caught in the eye of the storm. In this article, written in February 2012 when the latest so-called “Tuareg rebellion” erupted in northern Mali, Rick Rozoff connects the dots between these events and Mali’s pivotal role in the U.S. strategy for Africa, conjecturing that, after Libya, the stage is possibly being set for another foreign intervention.
The press wires are reporting on intensified fighting in Mali between the nation’s military and ethnic Tuareg rebels of the Azawad National Liberation Movement in the north of the nation.
As the only news agencies with global sweep and the funds and infrastructure to maintain bureaus and correspondents throughout the world are those based in leading member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, BBC News and Deutsche Presse-Agentur – the coverage of ongoing developments in Mali, like those in most every other country, reflects a Western bias and a Western agenda.
Typical headlines on the topic, then, include the following:
“Colonel Gaddafi armed Tuaregs pound Mali” - The Scotsman
“France denounces killings in Mali rebel offensive” -Agence France-Presse
“Mali, France Condemn Alleged Tuareg Rebel Atrocities” - Voice of America
To reach Mali from Libya is at least a 500-mile journey through Algeria and/or Niger. As the rebels of course don’t have an air force, don’t have military transport aircraft, the above headlines and the propaganda they synopsize imply that Tuareg fighters marched the entire distance from Libya to their homeland in convoys containing heavy weapons through at least one other nation without being detected or deterred by local authorities. And that, moreover, to launch an offensive three months following the murder of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi after his convoy was struck by French bombs and a U.S. Hellfire missile last October. But the implication that Algeria and Niger, especially the first, are complicit in the transit of Tuareg fighters and arms from Libya to Mali is ominous in terms of expanding Western accusations – and actions – in the region.
Armed rebellions are handled differently in Western-dominated world news reporting depending on how the rebels and the governments they oppose are viewed by leading NATO members.
In recent years the latter have provided military and logistical support to armed rebel formations – in most instances engaged in cross-order attacks and with separatist and irredentist agendas – in Kosovo, Macedonia, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Libya and now Syria, and on the intelligence and “diplomatic” fronts in Russia, China, Pakistan, Sudan, Iran, Indonesia, Congo, Myanmar, Laos and Bolivia.
Britain is exporting surveillance technology to countries run by repressive regimes, sparking fears it is being used to track political dissidents and activists.
The UK’s enthusiastic role in the burgeoning but unregulated surveillance market is becoming an urgent concern for human rights groups, who want the government to ensure that exports are regulated in a similar way to arms.
Much of the technology, which allows regimes to monitor internet traffic, mobile phone calls and text messages, is similar to that which the government has controversially signalled it wants to use in the UK.
The campaign group, Privacy International, which monitors the use of surveillance technology, claims equipment being exported includes devices known as “IMSI catchers” that masquerade as normal mobile phone masts and identify phone users and malware – software that can allow its operator to control a target’s computer, while allowing the interception to remain undetected.
Side Note: Also see Seymour Hersh’s report in the New Yorker about the MEK HERE.
BY RYAN J. REILLY
Mitchell Reiss, a foreign policy adviser to Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, on Friday once again spoke out on behalf of an Iranian opposition group the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.
Reiss, a former State Department official, appearedalongside other former U.S. officialslike former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and Attorney General Michael Mukasey at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C. to support removing the People’s Muhajedin Organization of Iran, or MEK, from the U.S. list of designated terrorist organizations. Reiss, who served as moderator of the panel, opened his remarks with a joke about the ongoing Treasury Departmentinvestigationinto the speaking fees paid to officials like him who have appeared at previous events.
“Up here on the dais this morning, we have some of America’s most distinguished public servants, most decorated military officers, and most respected diplomats — a true collection of outstanding American leaders,” Reiss said. “Or, as the Treasury Department would prefer to call us for our supporting the delisting of the MEK, potential criminals.”
Glen Ford: Americans should oppose US military interventions everywhere
Side Note: Iran really isn’t a very militarily aggressive nation, they have a history of defensive wars. Their being uninterested in developing nuclear weapons for the past two decades as the USA waged war on, well, pretty much all of their neighbors says a lot about Iran. So even if they had nuclear weapons - it wouldn’t pose much of a threat to anyone. Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons on the other hand, well that I do find troublesome.
Statement is first time an Iranian politician has admitted country has capability to produce nuclear arms
The statement by Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghadam is the first time an Iranian politician has publicly stated that the country has the knowledge and skills to produce a nuclear weapon.
Moghadam, whose views do not represent the government’s policy, said Iran could easily create the highly enriched uranium that is used to build atomic bombs, but it was not Tehran’s policy to go down that route.
Moghadam told the parliament’s news website, icana.ir: “Iran has the scientific and technological capability to produce [a] nuclear weapon, but will never choose this path.”
The US and its allies believe Iran is using its civilian nuclear programme as a cover to develop nuclear weapons; a charge it denies.
Israel said Mghadam’s claim supported its view that Iran’s nuclear programme had a military dimension. An Israeli official repeated demands that Iran must stop enriching uranium, remove all military-grade enriched material from the country, and dismantle its Fordo nuclear research site.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has repeatedly insisted that his country is not seeking nuclear weapons, saying that holding such arms is a sin and “useless, harmful and dangerous”.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that if Iran one day decides to build nuclear weapons, it will do so openly and without fear.
Iran says it is enriching uranium to about 3.5% to produce nuclear fuel for its future reactors, and to around 20% to fuel a research reactor that produces medical isotopes to treat cancer. Uranium has to be enriched to more than 90% to be used for a nuclear weapon.
The UN nuclear agency has confirmed that centrifuges at the Fordo site near Iran’s holy city of Qom are producing uranium enriched to 20%. It says uranium enriched to that level can more quickly be turned into weapons-grade material.
“There is a possibility for Iran to easily achieve more than 90% enrichment,” icana.ir quoted Moghadam as saying.
When the U.S. wants to fund, train, arm or otherwise align itself with a Terrorist group or state sponsor of Terror — as it often does — it at least usually has the tact to first remove them from its formal terrorist list (as the U.S. did when it wanted to support Saddam in 1982 and work with Libya in 2006), or it just keeps them off the list altogether despite what former Council on Foreign Relations writer Lionel Beehner described as “mounds of evidence that [they] at one time or another abetted terrorists” (as it has done with close U.S. allies in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, along with the El Salvadoran death squads and Nicaraguan contras armed and funded in the 1980s by the Reagan administration). But according to a new, multi-sourced report from The New Yorker‘s Seymour Hersh, the U.S. did not even bother going through those motions when, during the Bush years, it trained the Iranian dissident group Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) at a secretive Department of Energy site in Nevada:
It was here that the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) conducted training, beginning in 2005, for members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, a dissident Iranian opposition group known in the West as the M.E.K… . The M.E.K.’s ties with Western intelligence deepened after the fall of the Iraqi regime in 2003, and JSOC began operating inside Iran in an effort to substantiate the Bush Administration’s fears that Iran was building the bomb at one or more secret underground locations. Funds were covertly passed to a number of dissident organizations, for intelligence collection and, ultimately, for anti-regime terrorist activities. Directly, or indirectly, the M.E.K. ended up with resources like arms and intelligence. Some American-supported covert operations continue in Iran today, according to past and present intelligence officials and military consultants.
Despite the growing ties, and a much-intensified lobbying effort organized by its advocates, M.E.K. has remained on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations – which meant that secrecy was essential in the Nevada training. ”We did train them here, and washed them through the Energy Department because the D.O.E. owns all this land in southern Nevada,” a former senior American intelligence official told me. “We were deploying them over long distances in the desert and mountains, and building their capacity in communications — coördinating commo is a big deal.”
A JSOC spokesman told Hersh that ”U.S. Special Operations Forces were neither aware of nor involved in the training of M.E.K. members,” but a MEK lawyer refused to confirm or deny the report, arguing that any such training would undercut the U.S. Government’s claims that MEK belongs on the Terrorist list.