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Friday, April 14, 2006

Report: Cheney, Rumsfeld Sanction Use of Iraqi Terror Group in Iran

I am going to stay with the Iran war story because it may have large economic impacts through oil prices and other channels, and because it is such an important issue more generally. This is an article from Raw Story describing operations already underway within Iran in conjunction with "a right-wing terrorist organization known as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK)." I don't know anything about the source of this story, but it certainly raises questions about how far we've already gone down the path towards war:

On Cheney, Rumsfeld order, US outsourcing special ops, intelligence to Iraq terror group, intelligence officials say, by Larisa Alexandrovna, Raw Story: The Pentagon is bypassing official US intelligence channels and turning to a dangerous and unruly cast of characters in order to create strife in Iran in preparation for any possible attack, former and current intelligence officials say.

One of the operational assets being used by the Defense Department is a right-wing terrorist organization known as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), which is being “run” in two southern regional areas of Iran. ... a Sunni stronghold, and ... a Shia region where a series of recent attacks has left many dead and hundreds injured in the last three months.

One former counterintelligence official, who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the information, describes the Pentagon as pushing MEK shortly after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The drive to use the insurgent group was said to have been advanced by the Pentagon under the influence of the Vice President’s office and opposed by the State Department, National Security Council and then-National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice.

“The MEK is run by a brother and sister who were given bases in northern Baghdad by Saddam,” the intelligence official told RAW STORY. “The US army secured a key MEK facility 60 miles northwest of Baghdad shortly after the 2003 invasion, but they did not secure the MEK and let them basically be because [then Deputy Defense Secretary Paul] Wolfowitz was thinking ahead to Iran.”

Another former intelligence official added that the US military had detained as many as 3,500 members of MEK at Iraq’s Camp Ashraf since the start of the war, including the highest level ranking MEK leaders. Ashraf is about 60 miles west of the Iranian border. ...

“We disarmed [the MEK] of major weapons but not small arms. [Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld was pushing to use them as a military special ops team, but policy infighting between their camp and Condi, but she was able to fight them off for a while,” said the intelligence official. According to still another intelligence source, the policy infighting ended last year when Donald Rumsfeld, under pressure from Vice President Cheney, came up with a plan to “convert” the MEK by having them simply quit their organization.

“These guys are nuts,” this intelligence source said. “Cambone and those guys made MEK members swear an oath to Democracy and resign from the MEK and then our guys incorporated them into their unit and trained them.” Stephen Cambone is the Undersecretary of Defense Intelligence. His office did not return calls for comment.

According to all three intelligence sources, military and intelligence officials alike were alarmed that instead of securing a known terrorist organization, which has been responsible for acts of terror against Iranian targets and individuals all over the world – including US civilian and military casualties – Rumsfeld under instructions from Cheney, began using the group on special ops missions into Iran to pave the way for a potential Iran strike.

“They are doing whatever they want, no oversight at all,” one intelligence source said.

Indeed, Saddam Hussein himself had used the MEK for acts of terror against non-Sunni Muslims and had assigned domestic security detail to the MEK .... It was under the guidance of MEK ‘policing’ that Iraqi citizens who were not Sunni were routinely tortured, attacked and arrested.

Although the specifics of what the MEK is being used for remain unclear, a UN official close to the Security Council explained that the newly renamed MEK soldiers are being run instead of military advance teams, committing acts of violence in hopes of staging an insurgency of the Iranian Sunni population. “We are already at war,” the UN official told RAW STORY.

Asked how long the MEK agents have been active in the region under the guidance of the US military civilian leadership, the UN official explained that the clandestine war had been going on for roughly a year and included unmanned drones run jointly by several agencies.

In a stunning repeat of pre-war Iraq activities, the Bush administration continues to publicly call for action and pursue diplomatic solutions to allegations that Iran is bomb-ready. Behind the scenes, however, the administration is already well underway and engaged in ground operations in Iran. ...

    Posted by on Friday, April 14, 2006 at 12:20 AM in Economics, Iraq and Afghanistan, Politics, Terrorism | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (7)

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