This past week saw the conviction of Tarek Mehanna for “material support of terrorism,” a special charge these days for those with Arabo-Muslamic sounding names. A charge that earned Mehanna 17.5 years in prison.
Aside from the problematic nature of the case, (Mehanna’s digital history proves he did not fit the picture of the eager-to-be-entrapped-or-turned-informant-wannabe-AlQaede-esque-terrorist, also Mehanna was essentially convicted of “translating documents”), there is another saliently unsurprising point that has been brought to the fore: the hypocrisy of the US government and the elite political class.
Hypocrisy amongst politicians? Like, what’s new, right?
Political hypocrisy is a given in our cynical culture, a daily fact of life. We are so used to the double standards when it comes to ‘crime and punishment’ that many of us are blind to it when it occurs.
So, the US government can train terrorists in the Nevada desert that it’s own State Department has designated part of a “foreign terrorist organization” and no one blinks an eye:
Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) conducted training, beginning in 2005, for members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq…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 spokesman for J.S.O.C. said that “U.S. Special Operations Forces were neither aware of nor involved in the training of M.E.K. members.”)
Before Seymour Hersh uncovered the sordid fact that the US government was directly involved in the training of terrorists in Nevada, it was well known (though under-reported), that there was a bi-partisan involvement of current and former government officials in both lobbying and receiving money from the MEK:
Congressmen (including Democrats) and former government officials have met with the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an organization that was designated a terrorist group in 1997 when the list was first compiled, and is STILL ON THE LIST–for now.
MEK has a very aggressive and organized lobby effort in Washington D.C. According to one House staffer, the MEK is “the most mobilized grassroots advocacy effort in the country — AIPAC included.” Their mission is to be delisted as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), push the USA to foment war with Iran, i.e. “regime change,” and have themselves installed into power. Sound familiar?
Again, the hypocrisy is glaring, and as we pointed out in the past, exposes some crucial points:
1.) It is a felony to provide a designated terrorist organization with “material support,” which many elected officials it can be argued have been doing!
2.) “Numerous Muslims inside the U.S. have been prosecuted for providing ‘material support for Terrorism’ for doing far less than these American politicians are publicly doing on behalf of a designated Terrorist group.” Read Glenn Greenwald’s piece for a far from comprehensive list of Muslims who have been charged for doing far less than what these politicians did!
What should we do? Sit idly by while those with power flaunt the rule of law and treat the rest of us like subjects and serfs unworthy of equality before the law? Have we ceded “immunity” to the powerful political class in consequence of their law-breaking?
Recently, the Department of Treasury has announced that it is investigating three former high ranking officials for receiving money from the MEK:
The Department of Treasury is investigating payments to three former top-ranking government officials for speaking on behalf of a group on the U.S. terrorist list…Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, former FBI Director Louis Freeh and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Hugh Shelton.
While this is welcome news, it does put the government in the embarrassing position of investigating prominent officials for supporting terrorists while having simultaneously trained the exact same terrorists! The question is, who is going to investigate the government for training MEK operatives in the Nevada desert?
The three officials being investigated were not the only ones receiving money and perks in exchange for lobbying on behalf of the MEK. There are at least “nearly two dozen prominent former officials who have received up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees in exchange for their efforts on behalf of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK).”
This is why I propose a grassroots effort, starting with an online petition and campaign calling for the Department of the Treasury to expand its investigation of officials who have been aiding the US State Department designated “foreign terrorist organization” the MEK.
Those who will be the subject of this petition are as follows:
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey: Lobbied on behalf of, or met with and received money.
Former homeland security advisor Fran Townsend: Lobbied on behalf of, or met with and received money.
Former White House chief of staff Andy Card: Lobbied on behalf of, or met with and received money.
Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Hugh Shelton: received about $20-30,000 per speech and a variety of perks, including first-class airfare to European cities.
Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge: Lobbied on behalf of, or met with and received money.
Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani: Lobbied on behalf of, or met with and received money.
Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean: Lobbied on behalf of, met with and received money.
Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell: received about $20-30,000 per speech and a variety of perks, including first-class airfare to European cities.
Former FBI Director Louis Frieh: received about $20-30,000 per speech and a variety of perks, including first-class airfare to European cities.
Former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson: Received money.
Former General Wesley Clark: Lobbied on behalf of, met with and received money.
Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif.: Lobbied on behalf of, met with and received money.
Former Congressman Tom Tancredo, R-Col.: Lobbied on behalf of and met with.
Ted Poe, R-Texas: Lobbied on behalf of and met with.
Dennis Moore, R-Kan.: Lobbied on behalf of and met with.
State Department Ambassador Daniel Fried: participated in phone calls “urging the pro-MEK members to pass along messages to MEK leaders in Paris.”
Former Sen. Robert Torricelli: Lobbied on behalf of, or met with and received money.
Former Sen. Evan Bayh: Lobbied on behalf of, or met with and received money.
Former CIA Director Porter Goss: Lobbied on behalf of, or met with and received money.
Former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers: Lobbied on behalf of, or met with and received money.
Former National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones: Lobbied on behalf of, or met with and received money.
If this Department of Treasury investigation has any real teeth behind it, and is not just a mechanism to provide the illusion of justice, it will be comprehensive and thorough, including all those who received money, lobbied on behalf of or met with the MEK. Isn’t that what we have seen with those convicted of “material support of terrorism” for doing far less than these politicians?