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The Rise of MEK/NCRI in Washington: Pay Off The Right People and You Are No Longer A Terrorist

Maryam Rajavi- Rudy Giuliani and Senator Joe Lieberman at the free Iran Gathering – 1 July 2017. Image credit: Maryam Rajavi/ flickr)
By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | October 30, 2017

If you want to change a group of terrorists who have killed Americans overseas into something that appears to be much more benign, all you have to do is pay off the right people in Washington. With enough money, you can even open a nice plush lobbying office on Pennsylvania Avenue in the District of Columbia, not too far from the White House and Capitol Hill.

One-time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been rightly blamed for the ill-conceived and badly bungled “regime change” in Libya in 2011 that eventually led to her mishandling of the resulting blowback in Benghazi, but one of her greatest failings just might have involved the piece of paper she signed when she removed the Mujaheddin e Khalq (MEK) group from the State Department list of “designated terrorist organizations” in September 2012.

How is it possible that the bad judgment demonstrated in the Libyan fiasco that created a failed state, a humanitarian disaster, a migrant crisis, armed terrorists and ultimately produced the murder of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans compares with a signature on a piece of paper? It is because that signature put in place one of the elements that will most likely in the near future lead to a far more disastrous war for the United States than was Libya. MEK, now labeled the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has become a principal voice of the war party that is now seeking to attack Iran, a role similar to that played by Ahmad Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress in his disseminating of lies in the lead up to the catastrophic invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The tale of the rehabilitation and rise of MEK/NCRI is a subset of the ongoing corruption of America’s political culture, best illustrated by the fact that even national security is now up for sale, enabling a terrorist group to transform itself into a “resistance movement” and eventually be labeled “freedom fighters.”

How did this happen as MEK was on the State Department roster of foreign terrorist organizations since the list was established in 1997? Its inclusion derived from its having killed six Americans in the 1970s, its participation in the U.S. Embassy hostage-taking and from its record of extreme violence both inside and outside Iran since that time. When I was a CIA trainee our course included a simulation of the horrific attack on U.S. Air Force Officers in Tehran in 1973 that killed two colonels.

MEK is widely regarded as a terrorist cult headed by a bizarre husband and wife team Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. Its members are required to be celibate and are subjected to extensive brainwashing, physical torture, severe beatings even unto death, and prolonged solitary confinement if they question the leadership. One scholar who has studied them describes their beliefs as a “weird combination of Marxism and Islamic fundamentalism.”

With the sharp turn of the Trump Administration against Iran, NCRI is now finding an audience, telling the American public that Iran is “cheating” on the nuclear deal.  It also tells us that “Iran’s nuclear weapons program has far from halted” and has claimed to identify four major sites that “with a high degree of certainty” have been involved in various aspects of the allegedly ongoing nuclear weapons project. This has led Jillian Mele of Fox News to declare, falsely, that “It appears [Iran’s nuclear] weapons program is fully operational.”

The CIA has in the past recruited MEK/NCRI agents to enter into Iran and report on nuclear facilities, but Israel’s Mossad is the group’s principal employer. Agents, recruited and trained by Israel, have killed a number of Iranian nuclear scientists and officials. The group appears to have ample financial resources, places full page ads in major US newspapers, and is also known to pay hefty fees to major political figures who are willing to speak publicly on its behalf. The group claims to want regime change in Iran to restore democracy to the country, an odd assertion as it itself has no internal democracy and is loathed by nearly all Iranians.

Because MEK/NCRI is a resource being used by Tel Aviv in its clandestine war against Iran, it is perhaps inevitable that many friends of Israel in the United States actively campaigned to have the group removed from the terrorism list so that it could, ironically, have a free hand to continue to terrorize Iran. Indeed, neocons at their various think tanks and publications as well as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee all recommended delisting the group and continue to support it. Prominent American Jews to include Elie Wiesel and Alan Dershowitz have been advocates for the group in spite of its record of terrorism.

Multi-million dollar contracts with Washington lobbying firms experienced at “working” congress backed up by handsome speaking fees have induced many prominent Americans to join the chorus supporting NCRI. Prior to 2012, speaking fees for the group started at $15,000 and went up from there. Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell reported more than $150,000 in honoraria. Rudy Giuliani has been paid generously for years at $20,000 per appearance for brief, twenty-minute speeches. Bear in mind that MEK was a listed terrorist group at the time and accepting money from it to promote its interests should have constituted material support of terrorism.

The group’s well-connected friends have included prominent neocons like John Bolton and ex-CIA Directors James Woolsey, Michael Hayden and Porter Goss as well as former Generals Anthony Zinni, Peter Pace, Wesley Clark, and Hugh Shelton. Traditional conservatives close to the Trump Administration like Newt Gingrich, Fran Townsend and Elaine Chao are also fans of NCRI. Townsend in particular, as a national security specialist, has appeared on television to denounce Iran, calling its actions “acts of war” without indicating that she has received money from an opposition group.

The emergence of NCRI at this time is just another fool’s game with the usual Washington crowd queuing up for a bad cause because they are both lining their pockets and thinking they are helping Israel by punishing Iran. In any event it is a poor bargain for the rest of us, but that hardly seems to matter anymore.

October 30, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Iran in Our Gun Sights Now?

By Pat Buchanan • Unz Review • July 21, 2017

“Iran must be free. The dictatorship must be destroyed. Containment is appeasement and appeasement is surrender.”

Thus does our Churchill, Newt Gingrich, dismiss, in dealing with Iran, the policy of containment crafted by George Kennan and pursued by nine U.S. presidents to bloodless victory in the Cold War.

Why is containment surrender? “Because freedom is threatened everywhere so long as this dictatorship stays in power,” says Gingrich.

But how is our freedom threatened by a regime with 3 percent of our GDP that has been around since Jimmy Carter was president?

Fortunately, Gingrich has found a leader to bring down the Iranian regime and ensure the freedom of mankind. “In our country that was George Washington and … the Marquis de Lafayette. In Italy it was Garibaldi,” says Gingrich.

Whom has he found to rival Washington and Garibaldi? Says Gingrich, “Maryam Rajavi.”

Who is she? The leader of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, or Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, which opposed the Shah, broke with the old Ayatollah, collaborated with Saddam Hussein, and, until 2012, was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State.

At the NCRI conference in Paris in July where Gingrich spoke, and the speaking fees were reportedly excellent, John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani were also on hand.

Calling Iran’s twice-elected President Hassan Rouhani, “a violent, vicious murderer,” Giuliani said, “the time has come for regime change.”

Bolton followed suit. “Tehran is not merely a nuclear weapons threat, it is not merely a terrorist threat, it is a conventional threat to everybody in the region,” he said. Hence, “the declared policy of the United States of America should be the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran.”

We will all celebrate in Tehran in 2019, Bolton assured the NCRI faithful.

Good luck. Yet, as The New York Times said yesterday, all this talk, echoed all over this capital, is driving us straight toward war. “A drumbeat of provocative words, outright threats and actions — from President Trump and some of his top aides as well as Sunni Arab leaders and American activists — is raising tensions that could lead to armed conflict with Iran.”

Is this what America wants or needs — a new Mideast war against a country three times the size of Iraq?

After Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, would America and the world be well-served by a war with Iran that could explode into a Sunni-Shiite religious war across the Middle East?

Bolton calls Iran “a nuclear weapons threat.”

But in 2007, all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies declared with high confidence Iran had no nuclear weapons program. They stated this again in 2011. Under the nuclear deal, Iran exported almost all of its uranium, stopped enriching to 20 percent, shut down thousands of centrifuges, poured concrete into the core of its heavy water reactor, and allows U.N. inspectors to crawl all over every facility.

Is Iran, despite all this, operating a secret nuclear weapons program? Or is this War Party propaganda meant to drag us into another Mideast war?

To ascertain the truth, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should call the heads of the CIA and DIA, and the Director of National Intelligence, to testify in open session.

We are told we are menaced also by a Shiite Crescent rising and stretching from Beirut to Damascus, Baghdad and Tehran.

And who created this Shiite Crescent?

It was George W. Bush who ordered the Sunni regime of Saddam overthrown, delivering Iraq to its Shiite majority. It was Israel whose invasion and occupation of Lebanon from 1982 to 2000 gave birth to the Shiite resistance now known as Hezbollah.

As for Bashar Assad in Syria, his father sent troops to fight alongside Americans in the Gulf War.

The Ayatollah’s regime, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Basij militia are deeply hostile to this country. But Iran does not want war with the United States — for the best of reasons. Iran would be smashed like Iraq, and its inevitable rise, as the largest and most advanced country on the Persian Gulf, would be aborted.

Moreover, we have interests in common: Peace in the Gulf, from which Iran’s oil flows and without which Iran cannot grow, as Rouhani intends, by deepening Iran’s ties to Europe and the advanced world.

And we have enemies in common: ISIS, al-Qaida and all the Sunni terrorists whose wildest dream is to see their American enemies fight their Shiite enemies.

Who else wants a U.S. war with Iran, besides ISIS?

Unfortunately, their number is legion: Saudis, Israelis, neocons and their think tanks, websites and magazines, hawks in both parties on Capitol Hill, democracy crusaders, and many in the Pentagon who want to deliver payback for what the Iranian-backed Shiite militias did to us in Iraq.

President Trump is key. If he does the War Party’s bidding, that will be his legacy, as the Iraq War is the legacy of George W. Bush.

Copyright 2017

July 20, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

9/11 Suspects: Rudy Giuliani

corbettreport | September 5, 2016

Mayor Giuliani oversaw the illegal destruction of the 9/11 crime scene and is criminally liable for the deaths of hundreds of emergency workers for not passing on prior warnings about the collapses of the Twin Towers.

It is no wonder, then, that the Fire Department of New York so passionately detest Giuliani for his actions in disgracing their fallen brothers and covering up the 9/11 crime.


September 5, 2016 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 4 Comments

The Case Against Bill Bratton

By Josmar Trujillo | Black Agenda Report | March 12, 2014

The first two months of the City’s post-Bloomberg era have seen little in the way of “progressive changes to the New York Police Department. While new(ish) Mayor Bill de Blasio may have seen his honeymoon period come to an end with a few notable controversies in February, the once-again commissioner of the NYPD, Bill Bratton, has largely stayed above the fray as he strategically manages the media and helps steer an embattled police department through a reform storm — one of his specialties.

Policing activists cheered last year when a federal judge ruled that the NYPD was engaging in (at least) “indirect” racial profiling and that reforms, including a federal monitor to oversee changes to the department, were needed. The idea of federal oversight, beyond the scope of City Hall, was music to the ears of many who questioned if the City could reform a police force whose reach stretched overseas. An appeal by the City would be the main obstacle to the court-order remedies.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s appeal of the Floyd v City of New York case was expected. Bloomberg was his famously unapologetic self to the very end. De Blasio, a self-proclaimed “progressive,” on the other hand, promised change and accountability for an NYPD that had been trampling the Constitution for years. Some activists, perhaps, felt they had an ally in de Blasio. After 12 years of Bloomberg, expectations for Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager were informed by a sense of optimism–leading some to take “wait and see” approaches. At the end of his first month in office de Blasio and Bratton joined policing activists, civil libertarians and plaintiffs in the Floyd case to announce, to much fanfare, that he would instruct the City’s lawyers to drop the Bloomberg administration’s appeal.

Of course, simply not being Michael Bloomberg wouldn’t suffice in putting the brakes on a growing trend of police abuse, surveillance and militarization. Substantive changes are desperately needed to relieve communities of color living in what many see as a racialized police state. De Blasio, apart from his campaign rhetoric and the media narrative, had been speaking a message of only moderate reform. So moderate that many wondered if he was serious about changing the NYPD in meaningful ways.

The Returning Conqueror

The most obvious pause for alarm for community members and activists came in December when de Blasio announced he’d be bringing back Rudy Giuliani’s police commissioner, Bratton, for a 2nd run at the helm of the NYPD. Bratton is widely seen as the man who operationalized “Broken Windows” theory from an article in the Atlantic magazine into a philosophy that dominates law enforcement across the country today. His aggressive, pro-active approach, coupled with his introduction of CompStat, was the precursor to Stop and Frisk. A strange bedfellow for a “progressive” Mayor. For many who live in the front lines of aggressive policing, labels like “progressive” mean very little. Ditto for Stop and Frisk; police profiling and harassment of black and brown men is a time-honored tradition that preceded the policy. But the policy became a controversial issue the past few years and a central theme in last year’s mayoral election. De Blasio’s biracial son was featured in campaign ads touting his father as the only one who would “end the Stop and Frisk era.”

Bratton seemed an awkward choice to fulfill that pledge. Before the appointment, he said that cops who don’t do it “aren’t doing their job.” If you look back at Bratton’s cable TV appearances, his speeches and the philosophy of his little known consulting company, Bratton Group, he has never wavered from his support of the tactic. So far he’s been consistent: a few days into his second stint as commissioner, the famously media-savvy Bratton told CBS’s Norah O’Donnell that policing without Stop and Frisk is like a “journalist interviewing without asking questions.” In his most recent interview he said there’d be “anarchy” without it.

But New Yorkers were told that Bratton was different now than the Bratton of the past. A kinder, gentler Bratton wanted to save us from the excesses of the Ray Kelly era. Even Al Sharpton, who had famously been at odds with Bratton in the 90’s, gave his blessings to Bratton at an event honoring the late Nelson Mandela. An ACLU lawyer penned an op-ed in the New York Times praising Bratton. Bratton even met with his fiercest critics when he sat down with a small group of policing activists. It seemed many were willing to watch the Bratton sequel unfold–perhaps even support it. The architect of Stop and Frisk had also, to the outrage of some, invoked King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” at a recent MLK day celebration in Brooklyn.

Then Bratton laid out some of his cards. It was reported that Bratton was looking to bring on George Kelling as a consultant. Kelling, a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute think tank, is both a friend of Bratton and one of the authors of the influential Atlantic magazine article that birthed “Broken Windows” theory and laid the framework for Stop and Frisk. Activists that had been tempered in their response to the Bratton appointment were now delivering some slightly stronger language as they criticized Bratton’s look to the past in shaping the NYPD’s future through the hiring of Kelling.

But whether you saw Bratton’s return as a change of direction from the approach of the Bloomberg-era, or as window dressing to business as usual, you couldn’t help but note that Bratton had now been linked with three police departments that have faced community outrage and subsequent legal challenges. Before re-joining the NYPD this year, Bratton had been hired (to significant protest) as a private consultant to the Oakland Police department, a department with a “pattern of resisting reform.” The OPD had been operating under a federal consent decree after scandal and corruption led to a legal settlement that required reforms. Before that he had been the police chief of the Los Angeles Police department, which had also been working under a federal consent decree following the infamous Ramparts scandals of the 90’s. In a case where both revolving-door and conflict of interest concerns were raised, he had just previously been working as a private consultant for Kroll Associates, the private independent monitor of the LAPD.

The fact that Bratton has been continually called in to help police departments navigate through legal oversight should raise questions for New Yorkers today who wonder if Bratton was brought in to reform or rebrand a police department that was facing legal and legislative pressure. A City Council bill that passed last summer would create potential oversight via the creation of an office of Inspector General for the NYPD. But this would be done under the auspices of the Mayor’s Department of Investigations and City Hall–offering a limited amount of independence. Similarly, the Floyd ruling called for a federal monitor to oversee reforms. But the de Blasio administration’s agreement with the Floyd plaintiffs made this a temporary role. Would a reform storm that activists, civil libertarians and outraged community members created in LA, Oakland and New York be something that Bratton would embrace–or simply get these troubled departments through

New York area activists of all stripes, but particularly those centered around policing, should keep in mind Bratton’s approach to protesters and marchers. Bratton’s LAPD violently quelled a May Day rally in 2007, and Bratton said he would have “cleared” protests in Wall Street “right away”–something not even Bloomberg or Ray Kelly did.

Bratton and The Media

Whether it’s stopping and frisking large numbers of young black or brown males in the City or cracking down on squeegee-men (both tactics derived from Broken Windows), aggressive policing is gospel and Bill Bratton is clearly the pastor of the flock. Still, as an article recently pointed out, while Bratton may have some moderate policy differences with his predecessor, Ray Kelly, he’s more concerned with rehabilitating the NYPD’s tattered image than anything.

How does he do this? He’s by far the most media-savvy commissioner of any department this City has probably ever seen. Even his counter-terrorism chief, John Miller, has media credentials that blur the lines between being a journalist and law enforcement spokesman. Miller was formerly a spokesperson for the FBI as well as a correspondent for CBS News. But Bratton’s best strategy is feeding the public quotes that suggest changes are in the works–but that inspire little hope upon closer inspection. He’s made clear that he’s “needed to use the media” to get “certain messages through.” The media is a willing partner in this regard.

Let’s take a closer look at the news from the end of Bratton’s first month back in office: A New York Times headline read “Bratton Says Rookies’ Role in Anticrime Effort Will End.” The local NY1 news channel reported “Bratton Wants NYPD Rookies Out of Operation Impact.” By those headlines you’d think Bratton was aiming to curb police harassment in frontline neighborhoods (and the backlash against it) by swapping out rookies with gracious, polite veterans. First off, the headlines were misleading–“Let me emphasize: Operation Impact is not going away. It is an essential tool” he said (echoing the fine print on Stop and Frisk “reform” he had also cautioned). Rookies will still go out to high-crime areas, he said, but they’ll be “mentored” first. It’s important to note that no policing activist had ever suggested replacing rookies with veterans (who may be more problematic in terms of profiling–it was commanding officers that pushed for quotas, as Bratton has conceded) would reform policing behavior. When one thinks of a dirty or aggressive cop, veterans may come to mind more often than rookies.

Then there was also a widely cited video message that Bratton posted to the Policeman’s Benevolent Association website. The PBA have been staunch defenders of Stop and Frisk since the Bloomberg administration and have been highly critical of reforms. They now, thanks to Bratton, also enjoy office space inside 1 Police Plaza–which might be a first for a civil service union. In the video, Bratton speaks to relying less on “numbers.” Media insisted he “bags bust quota” (an unspoken–and illegal–system that encourages cops to stop high numbers of people). But he never actually mentions quotas or explicitly says they shouldn’t be tolerated, although the impression is that he’s steering the department away from the numbers crunch.

But Bratton has always been about numbers. In fact, in an interview he did with NYU Professor Paul Romer (perhaps best known as an innovator of charter cities in the poorest regions of Latin America) a month before his appointment, Bratton points to computer “algorithms” as the next step forward for “predictive policing.” In 2009, under Bratton, the LAPD received a grant from the Department of Justice towards predictive policing technology. Any future computer programs ostensibly “predicting” crime would owe much to the legacy of Bratton and CompStat, the data driven computer policing program he introduced in New York during the 90’s. That was all about numbers. So in spite of his video message, Bratton seems very comfortable with both numbers and technology (Bratton has also recently joined Twitter).

But few public figures or voices in the media are willing to probe “America’s Supercop” very much. Not only has Bratton and his philosophy come to dominate our City (and nation) through an echo chamber of uncritical media and politicians, they resemble the talking points of previous commissioner Ray Kelly. For starters, de Blasio and Bratton’s insistence that Stop and Frisk not be ended is based largely in an argument that there is a correlation between aggressive policing and crime reduction; that without Stop and Frisk and Muslim surveillance the City would descend into New Jack City, or that we’d have another 9/11. This is almost indistinguishable from the prevailing logic of the Bloomberg/Kelly era–and isn’t clearly supported by evidence. Upon closer inspection, de Blasio and Bratton’s approach tries to encapsulate the political rhetoric that said the previous administration was too cavalier–but without undermining its logic.

Fear of a city descending into a crime-ridden replay of the past may have indeed led to the hiring of a figure of the past in Bratton. Fear is a prime ingredient for a highly policed society and it clearly makes the appointment of a controversial figure like Bratton easier to swallow for some. But it also demands media coverage that defers to the celebrity and expertise of Bratton–rarely asking tough questions. Bratton does his part by carefully managing his words, saving substantive discussions for closed-door speeches. Some may remember that it was Bratton’s media-mastery that was at the root of his ouster from Giuliani’s NYC in the 90’s.

Bratton 2.0

Research tells us that communities of color will usually be disproportionately dealt the receiving end of police profiling and brutality. If they are being sold a rebranded NYPD–one that emphasizes “collaborative” policing over constitutional policing–by a recycled Bratton, it is important to understand how that translates onto the streets, not just in press conferences.

Two weeks into the job, Bratton announced that Stop and Frisk was “more or less solved” and cited data from the Bloomberg era that suggested the practice was already in decline (statistically) since 2013. If true, then candidate de Blasio’s rhetoric to reign in Bloomberg and Kelly’s abuse of the policy was at odds with Bratton’s analysis. Had Bloomberg already reformed the NYPD in 2013? Then why the political rhetoric?

Crime statistics can be politicized depending on what the political climate is and what the incentives are. Robert Gangi from Police Reform Operation Project recently remarked that any figures provided by the NYPD about itself should be taken with a healthy skepticism. The Chief-Leader, a weekly civil service newspaper catered to cops, firefighters and other civil servants, has also written about politicized policing statistics. There is, also, the possibility that some officers simply won’t document all stops or interactions. Of course this is hard to prove and would require in-depth, independent studies. In a recent article the New York Times revealed that officers already fail to properly report friskings of drivers they pull over.

That Times article was also revealing in the context of Vision Zero, de Blasio and Bratton’s new initiative to crack down on drivers and pedestrians in the name of traffic safety. Public safety is often trumpeted when expansions of police power are rolled out. What in foreign policy is described as pre-emptive war can translate domestically into proactive policing. Who could oppose a plan to reduce traffic deaths–or keep ourselves safe from terror? But if police were focusing their attention on drivers and pedestrians with the latest enforcement crackdown, then what might the long term implications for New Yorkers be? In February, de Blasio placed a phone call to police officials after a member of his Transition Team, a black Brooklyn-based pastor and political ally, was jailed following an improper left turn stop by police.

While the Mayor took heat for the call and for a what many saw as a hypocritical driving detail that ran stop signs and sped over limit, Bratton’s NYPD was recovering from its own scandal in January when an elderly Chinese immigrant was roughed up and bloodied by cops after being targeted for jaywalking. Ironically it was the notoriously conservative New York Post that criticized the police crackdown–even as they have unabashedly championed aggressive policing most other times. In a recent interview George Kelling linked Vision Zero to Broken Windows as a “new threshold in terms of order maintenance.” He also may have inadvertently given an insight into the initiative’s other motivating factors: a crackdown on small crimes (jaywalking for pedestrians; improper turns and lane changes for drivers) as a “pathway” to uncovering other criminal behavior–what he called “side benefits.”

Amid the brewing controversies, it was becoming clear that Broken Windows was still the basis for policing in the five boroughs.

While for many New Yorkers, the term Stop and Frisk had become a dinnertime conversation topic, what did people know about Broken Windows? Back in September, de Blasio the candidate proclaimed himself a believer in the theory. Does it work? If you go by most mainstream media and Bratton, it’s death, taxes and Broken Windows. Criminologists and researchers aren’t too sure. In 2006, Bratton and Kelling reacted angrily in a written response for the conservative National Review magazine to academic research that had poked holes in their theory. In 2004, now-deceased James Q. Wilson, Kelling’s Broken Windows article co-author, tried to explain that “I still to this day do not know if improving order will or will not reduce crime… people have not understood that this was speculation.”

This year, in an apparent attempt to restore “order” in the City’s subway system, Bratton’s NYPD, along with the MTA, planned to make homeless sweeps in the subways. Bratton was known in the 90’s to target homeless New Yorkers and squeegee men with his quality of life policies. He had continued that trend with the LAPD in Skid Row where harsh quality of life crackdowns (like targeting homeless people for being on public grass) and gang injunctions raised questions of discrimination in the service of gentrification. The former transit top cop also targeted the transit system with his policies. In a recent article for the Times, spikes in arrests of panhandlers and peddlers included immigrant women selling Churros (Mexican pastries) in subway stations. It was clear that for Bratton some habits die hard.

But Bratton’s most recent homeless sweeps plans met outrage and push-back from community groups. A few grassroots groups, led by Picture The Homeless, a homeless-led advocacy organization, planned an action that apparently forced authorities to back off the early morning operation. In LA, Bratton’s policies had also met resistance from groups like the LA Community Action Network. So in spite of the generally fawning media coverage and relative ease with which he transitioned back into 1 Police Plaza, some activists were ready to oppose Bratton the commissioner as many had done to Bratton the consultant in Oakland and even Detroit. But would it be enough?

Most recently Mr. Bratton and the Mayor revealed a 7-point plan that instructed police officers to be more positive and courteous in their interactions with community members. Bratton indicated cops would be trained in “verbal judo.” And again this points to what is packaged as reform by the NYPD. Will training police along the lines of customer service reps (or verbal martial artists) address the constitutional concerns raised over the last few years? Lessons in civility sidestep demands that officers adhere to the standards of the Supreme Court’s Terry V. Ohio ruling. As noted civil rights attorney Norman Siegel pointed out, reforming Stop and Frisk wasn’t about a magic number of stops or simply the graciousness of police officers; it was about the legality of the stop. Kind words and improved language also wouldn’t make police accountable for abuses of power up to and including fatal shootings of unarmed New Yorkers–of which there were dozens during Bratton’s first stint.

But perhaps least inspiring is that this new initiative isn’t new–NYPD 2020 was spearheaded by Ray Kelly in the prior administration.

The World As a Battlefield

Apart from Bratton’s domestic resume, there are also some pretty telling indicators abroad.

Since the 90’s, Bratton’s police work has taken him across oceans. In 2001, Bratton was a special consultant to the capital of Venezuela when a failed coup d’etat briefly removed Hugo Chavez from the presidency. Bratton and the local police chief were at the helm when 17 pro-Chavez protesters were shot by police before Chavez returned, jailed the chief and sent Bratton packing. In 2007, Bratton tapped an LAPD Lieutenant who studied counterterrorism at Hosni Mubarak’s Egyptian National Police Academy to head that DOJ grant on predictive policing. In 2011, Bratton was in talks with UK Prime Minister David Cameron to help advise the police crackdown on race riots in London that were sparked by the police shooting death of a black man.

Finally, both Bratton and the Mayor share an affinity for Israel. De Blasio fancies his role as Mayor as one of a “defender of Israel.” Bratton, meanwhile, forged a “close relationship” with the controversial government while on official visits for the LAPD to browse through its counterterrorism technologies. It’s safe to say the Israeli government sees most matters of security and policing through a prism of anti-terrorism and militarism, but numerous human rights groups and scholars also say that Israel engages in racial apartheid. A region marred by violence, military checkpoints and concentrated poverty; Israel and the occupied territories is a true Tale of Two Cities. New Yorkers, particularly those that find themselves in communities of color, should take note.

Josmar Trujillo is an organizer with New Yorkers Against Bratton.

March 12, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Case Against Bill Bratton

Chechen Terrorists and the Neocons

By Coleen Rowley | Consortium News | April 19, 2013

I almost choked on my coffee listening to neoconservative Rudy Giuliani pompously claim on national TV that he was surprised about any Chechens being responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings because he’s never seen any indication that Chechen extremists harbored animosity toward the U.S.; Guiliani thought they were only focused on Russia.

Giuliani knows full well how the Chechen “terrorists” proved useful to the U.S. in keeping pressure on the Russians, much as the Afghan mujahedeen were used in the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan from 1980 to 1989. In fact, many neocons signed up as Chechnya’s “friends,” including former CIA Director James Woolsey.

For instance, see this 2004 article in the UK Guardian, entitled, “The Chechens’ American friends: The Washington neocons’ commitment to the war on terror evaporates in Chechnya, whose cause they have made their own.”

Author John Laughland wrote:

“the leading group which pleads the Chechen cause is the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC). The list of the self-styled ‘distinguished Americans’ who are its members is a roll call of the most prominent neoconservatives who so enthusiastically support the ‘war on terror.’

“They include Richard Perle, the notorious Pentagon adviser; Elliott Abrams of Iran-Contra fame; Kenneth Adelman, the former US ambassador to the UN who egged on the invasion of Iraq by predicting it would be ‘a cakewalk’; Midge Decter, biographer of Donald Rumsfeld and a director of the rightwing Heritage Foundation; Frank Gaffney of the militarist Centre for Security Policy; Bruce Jackson, former US military intelligence officer and one-time vice-president of Lockheed Martin, now president of the US Committee on Nato; Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, a former admirer of Italian fascism and now a leading proponent of regime change in Iran; and R. James Woolsey, the former CIA director who is one of the leading cheerleaders behind George Bush’s plans to re-model the Muslim world along pro-US lines.”

The ACPC later sanitized “Chechnya” to “Caucasus” so it’s re-branded itself as the “American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus.”

Of course, Giuliani also just happens to be one of several neocons and corrupt politicians who took hundreds of thousands of dollars from MEK sources when that Iranian group was listed by the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The money paid for these American politicians to lobby (illegally under the Patriot Act) U.S. officials to get MEK off the FTO list.

Down the Rabbit Hole

Alice in Wonderland is an understatement if you understand the full reality of what’s going on. But if you can handle going down the rabbit hole even further, check out prominent former New York Times journalist (and author of The Commission book) Phil Shenon’s discovery of the incredible “Terrible Missed Chance” a couple of years ago.

Shenon’s discovery involved key information that the FBI and the entire “intelligence” community mishandled and covered up, not only before 9/11 but for a decade afterward. And it also related to the exact point of my 2002 “whistleblower memo” that led to the post 9/11 DOJ-Inspector General investigation about FBI failures and also partially helped launch the 9/11 Commission investigation.

But still the full truth did not come out, even after Shenon’s blockbuster discovery in 2011 of the April 2001 memo linking the main Chechen leader Ibn al Khattab to Osama bin Laden. The buried April 2001 memo had been addressed to FBI Director Louis Freeh (another illegal recipient of MEK money, by the way!) and also to eight of the FBI’s top counter-terrorism officials.

Similar memos must have been widely shared with all U.S. intelligence in April 2001. Within days of terrorist suspect Zaccarias Moussaoui’s arrest in Minnesota on Aug. 16, 2001, French intelligence confirmed that Moussaoui had been fighting under and recruiting for Ibn al-Khattab, raising concerns about Moussaoui’s flight training.

Yet FBI Headquarters officials balked at allowing a search of his laptop and other property, still refusing to recognize that:

1) the Chechen separatists were themselves a “terrorist group” for purposes of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s (FISA) legal requirement of acting “on behalf of a foreign power” and

2) that Moussaoui’s link to Ibn al Khattab inherently then linked him to bin Laden’s well-recognized Al Qaeda group for purposes of FISA (the point in my memo).

This all occurred during the same time that CIA Director George Tenet and other counter-terrorism officials — and don’t forget that Tenet was apprised of the information about Moussaoui’s arrest around Aug. 24, 2001 — told us their “hair was on fire” over the prospect of a major terrorist attack and “the system was blinking red.”

The post 9/11 investigations launched as a result of my 2002 “whistleblower memo” did conclude that a major mistake, which could have prevented or reduced 9/11, was the lack of recognition of al Khattab’s Chechen fighters as a “terrorist group” for purposes of FISA.

As far as I know, the several top FBI officials, who were the named recipients of the April 2001 intelligence memo entitled “Bin Laden/Ibn Khattab Threat Reporting” establishing how the two leaders were “heavily entwined,” brushed it off by mostly denying they had read the April 2001 memo (which explains why the memo had to be covered up as they attempted to cover up other embarrassing info).

There are other theories, of course, as to why U.S. officials could not understand or grasp this “terrorist link.” These involve the U.S.’s constant operating of “friendly terrorists,” perhaps even al Khattab himself (and/or those around him), on and off, opportunistically, for periods of time to go against “enemy” nations, i.e., the Soviet Union, and regimes we don’t’ like.

Shifting Lines

But officials can get confused when their former covert “assets” turn into enemies themselves. That’s what has happened with al-Qaeda-linked jihadists in Libya and Syria, fighters who the U.S. government favored in their efforts to topple the Qaddafi and Assad regimes, respectively. These extremists are prone to turn against their American arms suppliers and handlers once the common enemy is defeated.

The same MO exists with the U.S. and Israel currently collaborating with the Iranian MEK terrorists who have committed assassinations inside Iran. The U.S. government has recently shifted the MEK terrorists from the ranks of “bad” to “good” terrorists as part of a broader campaign to undermine the Iranian government. For details, see “Our (New) Terrorists, the MEK: Have We Seen This Movie Before?”

Giuliani and his ilk engage, behind the scenes, in all these insidious operations but then blithely turn to the cameras to spew their hypocritical propaganda fueling the counterproductive “war on terror” for public consumption, when that serves their interests. Maybe this explains Giuliani’s amazement (or feigned ignorance) on Friday morning after the discovery that the family of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers was from Chechnya.

My observations are not meant to be a direct comment about the motivations of the two Boston bombing suspects whose thinking remains unclear. It’s still very premature and counterproductive to speculate on their motives.

But the lies and disinformation that go into the confusing and ever-morphing notion of “terrorism” result from the U.S. Military Industrial Complex (and its little brother, the “National Security Surveillance Complex”) and their need to control the mainstream media’s framing of the story.

So, a simplistic narrative/myth is put forth to sustain U.S. wars. From time to time, those details need to be reworked and some of the facts “forgotten” to maintain the storyline about bad terrorists “who hate the U.S.” when, in reality, the U.S. Government may have nurtured the same forces as “freedom fighters” against various “enemies.”

The bottom line is to never forget that “a poor man’s war is terrorism while a rich man’s terrorism is war” – and sometimes those lines cross for the purposes of big-power politics. War and terrorism seem to work in sync that way.

Coleen Rowley is a retired FBI agent and former chief division counsel in Minneapolis. She’s now a dedicated peace and justice activist and board member of the Women Against Military Madness.

April 20, 2013 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

MKO is US’ only hope to stop Iran nuclear program: NY ex-mayor

Press TV – March 29, 2012

The former mayor of New York says the terrorist group of Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) is the United States’ only hope to stop Iran’s nuclear energy program through a military attack.

Speaking at a conference in Paris, Rudolph Giuliani noted that the United States should use the MKO to militarily attack Iran’s nuclear program, International Business Times reported.

The conference was also attended by former US Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge, former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and former Rhode Island Representative Patrick Kennedy.

“I have a feeling that the only thing that will stop [Iran] and the only thing that will stop [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad is if they see strength, if they see power, if they see determination, if they see an America that is willing to support the people that want to overthrow the regime of Iran,” he added.

Giuliani’s remarks come despite the fact that MKO, along with 49 other groups including al-Qaeda, is on the US State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations which considers providing “material support or resources” for such groups or accepting donations from them as illegal.

Despite that law, three top-ranking former US officials are currently being investigated by the Treasury Department for accepting speaking fees from the MKO.

Former Pennsylvania Gov., Philadelphia mayor, and Democratic National Chairman Ed Rendell was the first to face federal scrutiny for accepting speaking fees from the MKO. Earlier this month ex-FBI Director Louis Freeh and a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired Gen. Hugh Shelton, were also subpoenaed.

In the past few years, dozens of other US politicians have been paid by the MKO, including former Vermont Gov. and Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean, retired Gen. Wesley Clark, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Bush’s White House Chief of Staff Andy Card and even former Rep. Lee Hamilton, who was also co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission.

Giuliani, who charges as much as USD 100,000 per speaking engagement, was asked to appear at the Paris conference by the so-called French Committee for a Democratic Iran. The US Treasury Department charges that these types of Iranian organizations are clandestinely funneling money from the MKO into speakers’ pockets.

March 29, 2012 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment