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The Fuzzy Line of Terrorism

By       Message Coleen Rowley       (Page 3 of 3 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.     Permalink

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"Terrorism" Propaganda

The last 11 years have seen almost uninterrupted, cynical exaggerating and distorting of the threat of Mideast "terrorism" by our mainstream media (to scare us into doing dumb things like launching war on countries like Iraq that had no connection to 9/11) so it was strangely out of the norm for the Washington Post article to frame the de-listing of the MEK Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) as humanitarian intervention.

Interestingly, the Post  reporter also chose the term "label" to minimize the importance of the U.S. government's designation-undesignation of a "FTO" in the case of the MEK.

So it's just a "label" when Michael Mukasey and three dozen other high level political figures flouted the law in support of a "foreign terrorist organization." But would the Post  say mere FTO "labels" justify launching thousands of U.S. government investigations and prosecutions of ordinary, non-powerful, non politically-connected people for "material support"?

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There are 23 anti-war activists in the Midwest who are still under Department of Justice investigation two years after their homes were raided by the FBI; and there are thousands of people serving long prison terms or, even worse, on "kill lists" to be summarily executed due, the Government would allege, to even a fleeting or tenuous connection to someone or some group on the U.S. FTO list.

Furthermore, no transparency, no judicial process has seemingly existed -- until MEK's big money lobbying campaign came along -- to dispute the accuracy of such FTO "labels."

An article at the Bill of Rights Defense Committee's "Peoples Blog for the Constitution" entitled "Terrorist designation a problem? Befriend a politician" points out this terrible double standard:

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"The severe ramifications of this law have resulted in solitary confinement and a fifteen year sentence for US citizen Fahad Hashmi, who allowed a suitcase of raincoats at his apartment, and a 17 year sentence for Tarek Mehanna, who translated a text by a Saudi religious scholar.

"The removal of the MEK from the FTO list demonstrates not only the double-standard for enforcement of material support laws, but also the over-broad and heavy-handed criminalization of constitutionally protected activity.

"When the overbroad law resulted in investigations of prominent politicians and former officials, the law was not modified to address First Amendment concerns, but instead maintained, while a specific organization was removed from the terrorist list to accommodate those politicians' activities. The material support law should be changed so that it doesn't criminalize association, expression, or other activity protected by the First Amendment, or efforts aimed to advance humanitarian goals."

Finally, consider how unbelievable and incongruent for the MEK to have such a powerful lobby that it can reach its tentacles into U.S. political "leadership" like this, spending millions of dollars in exchange for political endorsements and yet be portrayed at the very same time, as the Post and other media does, as a poor group of refugees trapped in Iraq enemy territory in need of humanitarian intervention.

Where would this refugee group which (for 15 years) has been designated a "foreign terrorist organization" get the millions it paid to U.S. officials and politicians for their assistance and influence-peddling? News articles do allude to the fact that the payments and the political pressure were in violation of U.S. law, but these articles fail to go into how and why federal investigators were apparently forced to drop their investigation of officials who received huge payments from the MEK.

The big-money model for lobbyist success has paved the way for the coalition of MEK front groups to corrupt U.S. Government by funneling millions of dollars from who-knows-where to elected and appointed political figures to turn dark into light. Certainly there will now be other foreign-based front groups following this example in ever more flagrant disregard of what Justice Brandeis long ago warned us, about how government wrongdoing and contempt for (and subversion of) the law functions.

Contrast the portrayal of the need for "humanitarian intervention" on behalf of what was portrayed as defenseless women and children refugees in the MEK Camp in Iraq with the millions of dollars that have gone into PR propaganda firms, corrupt U.S. congresspersons and former high level DOJ, Homeland Security and counter-terrorism officials to essentially re-write the history of a violent terrorist group that worked for Saddam Hussein -- who some of these same officials were, only a decade before, falsely implying was responsible for 9/11.

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Why did these millions of dollars not go to helping the MEK women and children move from Iraq if they are in such danger instead of going into corrupt U.S. political figures' pockets?

If only the American people would wake up to this corruption, they might find themselves, at the very least, extremely confused that some of the same U.S. political figures who were so hell-bent to take out Saddam Hussein are now sponsoring one of Saddam's main "terrorist" underlings.

Don't they remember Charlie Wilson's War? Or what Friedrich Nietzsche said: "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster."

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Retired FBI Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel.

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