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The Armageddon Network: How the war party is ginning up war with Iran
The War Party is bound and determined to drag us, kicking and screaming, into a military conflict with Iran – and they have constructed a vast network of agents inside both parties, and inside the government, to accomplish exactly that.
The nexus of this network is the government of Israel and its intelligence services, which is coordinating an increasingly frantic campaign to bring the Iran issue to a head. From all indications, it appears as if the goal is to ignite the conflict before the 2012 presidential elections.
This is not a covert conspiracy, but rather an open one: the Israelis have threatened, time and again, to take military action against Iran. They claim the Jewish state faces “another Holocaust,” and that Iran poses an “existential threat” to Israel’s very existence. The latest wrinkle is that officials in Tel Aviv reportedly told Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, on a recent visit to Israel, that they wouldn’t necessarily be informing the White House until after the Israelis had launched their fighter jets and missiles.
Perfectly understandable: After all, why should the Israelis – who drain us of $3.5 billion a year in “foreign aid” – give us a few minutes warning of Armageddon? Why should they care that the price of oil would immediately skyrocket to $200 a barrel, and make driving to work an economic impossibility? Such considerations are irrelevant, since every single major politician in America is pledged to maintain the one-sided “special relationship” at all costs. Yes, even at the cost of America’s economic demise, for the oil shock would send our already reeling economy into a tailspin – and it would be a long time before we hit bottom.
Of course, the Israelis may not want to pursue this course to the end: a parasite that kills its host is essentially committing suicide. So while this may be a subject of debate within the Israeli national security establishment, with senior military and intelligence officials disdaining Netanyahu’s attack plans as “the stupidest idea I ever heard,” in America no such discussion is allowed. Listening to the Republican frontrunner last Saturday night, at a “debate” devoted to foreign policy, Mitt Romney sounded as if he were running for President of Israel rather than US commander-in-chief:
“Well, let’s– let’s start back from there and let’s talk about where we are. This is, of course, President Obama’s greatest failing, from a foreign policy standpoint, which is he recognized the gravest threat that America and the world faces – and faced was a nuclear Iran and he did not do what was necessary to get Iran to be dissuaded from their nuclear folly. What he should have done is speak out when dissidents took the streets and say, ‘America is with you.’ And work on a covert basis to encourage the dissidents.”
What “dissidents” is Mitt Romney talking about? Surely not the Green movement, led by figures who have praised Iran’s pursuit of nuclear energy and oppose attempts by the West to stop it. Does Romney even know what he’s talking about? Probably not, but his advisers surely do, and indeed one in particular seems to have a very specific idea of which “dissidents” the Romney administration will be funding and otherwise encouraging.
Mitchell Reiss, president of Washington College in Maryland, and one of Romney’s top foreign policy advisers, has emerged as a spokesman for the Mujaheddin-e-Khalq (MEK), the so-called People’s Mujaheddin of Iran, a weird cult-like group [.pdf] of Iranian exiles generally despised by ordinary Iranians. MEK originated in the early days of the revolution that overthrew the Shah, and its cadres not only participated in the taking of the US embassy, which led to the hostage crisis of 1979, but also carried out assassinations against US diplomats and agents throughout the region. After losing out in the post-revolutionary struggle for power in Tehran, the group fled to Iraq, where they were succored for years by Saddam Hussein, who allowed them to set up military camps from which they conducted terrorist raids on Iran. MEK troops fought alongside the Iraqis in their war with Iran, and were used to ruthlessly suppress rebellions by Shi’ites in southern Iraq. After the US invasion, they were confined to their camp, where they remained a military “asset” in Washington’s ongoing campaign to destabilize Iran.
The group is led by Maryam Rajavi, who has already proclaimed herself “president” of Iran, and is worshiped by her followers. Although her husband, Massoud Rajavi, is the titular commander-in-chief of the “National Liberation Army,” a large percentage of the officers in their Camp Ashraf compound are women, and females constitute a majority of the fighters. A 2004 FBI report [.pdf] concludes:
“The MEK practices daily ‘cult-like’ activity to include daily confessions in front of their peers…dissolution of marriages, and removal of children from parents… fighters are separated from their children who are sent to Europe and brought up by the MEK Support Network. Investigation has learned that these children are then further indoctrinated into the organization and are often used for various social benefit fraud such as was revealed during joint FBI/Cologne Police Department investigation in Germany.”
Shipped off to the welfare states of Europe, the unfortunate children of these fanatics are used as cogs in the MEK money machine, producing a steady flow of welfare checks flowing into the group’s coffers. Members are indoctrinated from birth to worship Maryam, who claims her edicts come from God, and are kept in conditions that included, in one case in Germany, of a child being chained to her bed. As the FBI reported:
“In one case one of the children was chained to a bed and only after her escape and report to local police was the fraud scheme discovered. Interviews of some of these MEK children found children fully indoctrinated into a ‘cult-like’ organization with no regard to the welfare of the child. These children are then returned to the NLA to be used as fighters upon coming of age. Interviews also revealed that some of these children were told that their parents would be harmed if the children did not cooperate with the MEK. Open source reporting from defecting MEK members has revealed that MEK fighters are often told the same story about their children should they take issue with MEK leadership and desire to leave the organization.”
MEK claims it has foresworn terrorism, but a 2004 FBI report states that a “Los Angeles investigation has determined that the MEK is currently actively involved in planning and executing acts of terrorism.” US diplomatic and intelligence officials maintain the MEK “trained females at Camp Ashraf in Iraq to perform suicide attacks in Karbala.”
For these reasons, and more, the MEK and its numerous front organizations have remained on the US list of terrorist organizations, whose activities are proscribed in the United States. Romney aide Reiss is part of a campaign to get MEK delisted – an effort that is so lavishly funded one wonders where all the money is coming from. There’s no doubt where it’s going to, however: a long list of leading “experts” and prominent politicians in both parties and on both sides of the political spectrum have pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars in “speaking fees” handed out by an organization apparently flush with cash. A 2002 FBI report notes what the agency found when it raided the Falls Church, Virginia headquarters of the group:
“The indoor swimming pool had been drained and a floor placed over the drained pool. The area above the pool was divided into offices. In each of these offices, a hatch in the floor led into the drained swimming pool. This area was used for storage of materials…”
Among the materials discovered were “signed, blank checks,” and the report states, “Confidential sources have reported to the FBI and that the NCRI and the PMOI use the signed, blank checks to pay their expenses and fund their activities.”
From its Paris headquarters, where technical legal maneuvers have allowed the MEK to operate openly, and its base at Camp Ashraf, in Iraq, where the “military wing,” called the “National Liberation Army,” is based, the cult’s very well-funded tentacles reach into the very halls of Congress, where a bipartisan caucus loudly calls for delisting the group. Those signed blank checks sure come in handy. As one US diplomat told the Christian Science Monitor:
“Your speech agent calls, and says you get $20,000 to speak for 20 minutes. They will send a private jet, you get $25,000 more when you are done, and they will send a team to brief you on what to say.”
The Monitor reports:
“The contracts can range up to $100,000 and include several appearances…. The speaking events have created some extraordinary spectacles, including that of US heavyweights sharing the stage with the MEK’s self-declared ‘president-elect’ Maryam Rajavi. At a mid-June MEK rally in Paris, for example, Mrs. Rajavi was flanked by five rows of former top US and European officials.”
Dozens of prominent figures have been paid huge sums to shill for these former hostage-taking anti-American terrorists, including:
- Michael Mukasey
- Ed Rendell
- Andrew Card (another Romney adviser)
- Gen. James Conway
- Tom Ridge
- Gen. Hugh Shelton
- James Woolsey
- Howard Dean
- Rudy Giuliani
- Porter Goss
- Lee Hamilton
- Michael Hayden
- Bill Richardson
- Louis Freeh
- Gen. Peter Pace
- Gen. Wesley Clark
- Gen. Anthony Zinni
And, of course, John Bolton. Even P.J. Crowley, who opposed the delisting campaign while at State – and who claims his speaking fee didn’t influence his speech – was lured by the smell of cold hard cash. “We’ve never seen this kind of money,” says Trita Parsi, of the National Iranian American Council. “At one conference with 10 speakers, if they average $50k a pop, that is half a million dollars just in speaker fees.”
Where is this largesse coming from – and why is it being allowed to influence the American political process if it comes from overseas?
The major coup claimed by the MEK is the revelation of Iran’s previously unknown nuclear facilities at Natanz, but it is widely known that this information was passed on to them by Israel’s intelligence agency: the Mossad and the MEK have a longstanding history of cooperation. The recent bombing at an Iranian missile base, which killed 21 Iranian soldiers, is being attributed to the MEK, and the Iranians charge the mysterious “terrorist” plot targeting the Saudi ambassador in Washington and supposedly planned by Iran was actually set up by the Rajavi cultists.
The Israel lobby is an octopus with many tentacles, of which MEK is merely one: they are all attached to the same body, however, and that is the government of Israel, and its intelligence services. If, in some alternative universe where Congress isn’t “Israeli-occupied territory” our lawmakers followed the money, I have no doubt the cash flow could be traced back to its source.
The results of such an investigation would hardly be shocking. Israel is waging an intense campaign to drag us into war on their behalf, and they aren’t trying to hide it. What they are intent on hiding, however, is the way in which our Congress, our public officials, and our political culture are being bought off by their proxies. We ship billions to Tel Aviv, and they ship it back to us in the form of propaganda and relentless pressure to bend the White House and Congress to their will.
That’s what’s so “special” about the “special relationship” – the same relationship a tapeworm has to a stomach.
The Israelis have a trump card, one they’ll only play if they have a reasonable expectation of success, and that is to launch an attack on their own that would inevitably bring in the US. This would happen because Israeli fighter jets on their way to bomb Iranian targets would have to pass over Iraqi territory: however, what assurances do they have the Americans won’t interfere? As Zbigniew Brzezinski put it in an interview:
“We are not exactly impotent little babies. They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch? … We have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren’t just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a ‘Liberty’ in reverse.”
However, it looks like we just may be “impotent little babies,” at least if we take Joint Chiefs chairman Mike Mullen’s comments as indicative. Wired.com reports:
“In a town hall on the campus of the University of West Virginia, a young Air Force ROTC cadet asked Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen to respond to a “rumor.” If Israel decided to attack Iran, the speculation went, those jet would need to fly through Iraqi airspace to reach their targets. That airspace is considered a ‘no-fly’ zone by the American military. So might U.S. troops shoot down the Israeli jets, the airmen asked the chairman, if they breached that airspace?
“Mullen tried to sidestep the question. ‘We have an exceptionally strong relationship with Israel. I’ve spent a lot of time with my counterpart in Israel. So we also have a very clear understanding of where we are. And beyond that, I just wouldn’t get into the speculation of what might happen and who might do what. I don’t think it serves a purpose, frankly,’ he said. ‘I am hopeful that this will be resolved in a way where we never have to answer a question like that.’
“The cadet followed-up: ‘Would an airmen like me ever be ordered to fire on an Israeli – aircraft or personnel?’
“Mullen’s second answer was much the same as his first. ‘Again, I wouldn’t move out into the future very far from here. They’re an extraordinarily close ally, have been for a long time, and will be in the future,’ the admiral said.”
An Israeli attack on Iran would almost certainly provoke assaults on US positions in Iraq, including the huge US embassy and the thousands of mercenaries left in place after the phony US “withdrawal.” Indeed, avoiding such a scenario as described above may very well be a major motivating factor behind the US decision to pull our so-called “combat troops” from Iraq. That’s one way of ensuring that Mullen will never have to answer “a question like that.”
Millions of dollars – a great portion of them your tax dollars coming back to haunt you – are being pumped into the effort. Emboldened by greed, enabled by our avaricious political class, a network of organizations and highly-placed individuals is pushing us down the road to Armageddon. The Armageddon Network is working overtime to drag us into war with Iran, and they don’t lack the funds to do so.
They need all the cash they can get, because the War Party faces a difficult task: they must convince a war-weary American public, disheartened by economic bad news on every front, to sit passively while the elites take us to war. The overwhelming majority oppose another war, and they certainly would be more vehement in their opposition if they knew the economic consequences of such a foolhardy move. They may never know, however, until it hits them – and by then it will be too late.
That’s why we here at Antiwar.com are pushing back – hard. No, we don’t have the tremendous financial resources available to the War Party. We don’t have millions to fund a full-time staff, and sponsor lavish conferences where the bribed and the deluded appear to sing our praises. We don’t have overseas allies with bottomless budgets. We don’t have any of that – all we have is you.
We are fighting, day and night, to bring the truth to the American people, and avoid the catastrophic results of war with Iran, but the Armageddon Network has us outspent by a factor of at least 10,000-to-1. We need you, our readers and supporters, to even up the odds just a little bit.
You may have noticed that this is the first day of our seasonal fundraising drive: it’s just a coincidence that it falls at the very moment when the War Party’s efforts are reaching a frenzied crescendo and their war cries are drowning out the voices for peace. It’s time for the antiwar majority to step up and be heard – now more than ever. Your tax-deductible donation will give us the resources we need to continue debunking the War Party’s lies, and countering the all-pervasive influence of foreign lobbyists.
In short, we need your help and we need it now – because your contribution could very well make the difference between war and peace. Unlike the MEK and its front organizations, we don’t have a cache of signed blank checks hidden in the basement that we can pull out to pay the bills. We just have you. So please – give what you can as soon as you can. Stop the Armageddon network – give today.