Seems like old times. . . .[...]
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Former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton (D) and former CENTCOM Commander Anthony Zinni told the Inter Press Service that they were paid to appear at recent events supporting the MEK, an Iranian opposition group currently considered a terrorist organization by the State Department.
Hamilton and Zinni are among the many big time former government officials and military leaders who have appeared at recent pro-MEK events sponsored by a group called Executive Action, LLC. (The events true organizers remain unclear, Executive Action's CEO Neil Livingstone would only tell TPM they included Iranian American groups.) Speakers at the events have portrayed the MEK as critical to any chance of regime change in Iran.
Hamilton, who once chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee and was a co-chair of the 9/11 Commission, told reporter Barbara Slavin he was paid "a substantial amount" to appear at a panel in Washington D.C. in February. Zinni, who spoke at a similar event in January, said he had been paid his "standard fee," without detailing what that is.
According to Slavin, both men said they were unaware of the cultish elements attributed to the MEK. The State Department's 2008 Country Reports on Terrorism, for example, reported the following:
In addition to its terrorist credentials, the MEK has also displayed cult-like characteristics.
Upon entry into the group, new members are indoctrinated in MEK ideology and revisionist Iranian history. Members are also required to undertake a vow of "eternal divorce" and participate in weekly "ideological cleansings." Additionally, children are reportedly separated from parents at a young age. MEK leader Maryam Rajavi has established a "cult of personality." She claims to emulate the Prophet Muhammad and is viewed by members as the "Iranian President in exile."
"They presented me with a platform that was thoroughly democratic," Hamilton told Slavin. "Were they misleading me? You always can be misled."
Zinni was firmer:
"De-listing ought to be done much the way we handled the PLO and the IRA," Zinni said in an interview.
Zinni, who famously inveighed against the U.S. invasion of Iraq and was a fierce opponent of Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi, seemed to have no similar compunctions about Iranian exiles.
"The Iranian community outside Iran has much more influence inside than the Chalabis of the world that we ended up supporting in Iraq," he said.
Over the years, the Iranian government has arrested and executed thousands of MEK members. Still, experts say that the group actually has very little support in Iran, where people remember how it fought for Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war. Iranian studies scholar Ahmad Sadri told TPM in February that U.S. support for the MEK would anger ordinary Iranians.
Although it was put on the U.S. terror list in 1997, the MEK has a history of support in Congress. While it originally blended elements of Islam and Marxism, the group and its supporters say it has renounced violence and now advocates for a secular and democratic Iran. After the fall of Hussein, who armed and funded the group for many years, about 3,400 MEK members were consolidated at Camp Ashraf, north of Baghdad. MEK backers also insist that U.S. forces should be permanently stationed at Ashraf, for protection. (Camp residents have been subject to attacks they blame on the Iraqi and Iranian governments.)
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where several lawmakers urged her to delist the MEK. Clinton said that the State Department is reviewing the MEK's designation in accordance with a Washington D.C. District Court of Appeal's recent ruling, after a suit brought by the MEK.
"You know it's proceeding," Clinton said. "These are very important considerations and reviews and you know as soon as we can we will make such a decision."
TPM reached out to both Zinni and Hamilton for comment.
Additional reporting by Ian Power.
A shameful display of hostility towards constitutional freedoms was dealt a blow yesterday as Dane County Judge Judge John Albert ordered restrictions on political freedoms by Gov. Scott Walker, the Dept of Administration (DOA) and Capital police be halted.
I had phoned my state representative, speaking to Terese Berceau Thursday afternoon.
Berceau's office confirmed no one has ever seen anything like the denial of civil liberties instituted at the behest of Walker, and carried out by capital police who would have made 19402-era Good Germans proud.
I, like all Wisconsin citizens, remained forbidden to walk in the capital and drop by my elected representives' offices without police escort.
We have an outlaw Governor targeting the state of Wisconsin, with DOA employees and police carrying out the will of Scott Walker.
Clearly, the police do not take seriously any oath of fidelity to the state and federal constitutions.
Yesterday, WISN TV (Milwaukee) reported in what should be shocking video that "Democratic state Rep. Nick Milroy (South Grange) was tackled by police Thursday evening while he was trying to make it inside the Capitol in Madison."
I made phone contact with one capital police Sgt. David Horton Thursday; and he said he is just "following orders" from the higher-ups at the state Department of Administration.
What orders would you refuse to carry out? Would you shoot a protester, if asked? Horton refused to answer.
The assaults on Wisconsin citizens are legion. We can only hope the response meets this despicable action.
It’s the joy of breathing. Also, The Met is hosting three days of music by the Young Adults May 27-29. Rudy Cheeks might stop shaving his head and let his full flowing locks grow again. It’s a complex world.
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Via The Guardian:
The ugly face of Islamophobia in Orange County, California
The Southern California chapter of the Islamic Circle of North America Relief USA organised a fundraising dinner in Orange County, last month. But guess who also turned up? A motley collection of protesters who can be seen here chanting in the above video distributed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations civil rights group:
As the video shows, the rhetoric of the protesters became increasingly venomous toward the families and children who came to attend the ICNA Relief fundraising dinner. Protesters shouted invective statements such as "Go home terrorist," "Muhammad is a pervert, Muhammad is a child molester," "Go home and beat your wife, she needs a good beating," at the event-goers.
One of the protesters' guest speakers, seen in the video, is a local councilwoman who denounces the event as "pure, unadulterated evil," and continues:
I know quite a few Marines who would be very happy to help these terrorists to an early meeting in paradise.
The local paper, the Orange County Register, noted the signs saying "No Sharia law" but added: "In the afternoon, the event had the atmosphere of a July 4 picnic."
Two Republican congressmen also attended the protest rally, including one, Ed Royce, who spoke of how "multiculturalism" was paralysing America.
And the fundraising? For disaster relief, womens shelters, halal food banks, according to the Islamic Circle of North America.
And here's what a U.S. Congressman had to say on the matter:
REP. ED ROYCE (R-CA): "A big part of the problem we face today is our children are taught in schools that every idea is right, and no one should criticize others' positions no matter how odious. And . . . that's . . . What do we call it? We call it multiculturalism, and it has paralyzed too many of our fellow citizens to make the critical judgments we need to make to be a prosperous society."
A no-fly zone by outsiders may be closer to reality with each attack. Reuters:
Libyan rebels calling for air strikes to set up a "no-fly" zone came under attack by a warplane for a third day on Friday as Muammar Gaddafi tried to loosen the opposition's expanding grip on a key coast road.
Eastern-based rebels spearheading a two-week-old revolt told Reuters they were open to talks only on Gaddafi's exile or resignation following attacks on civilians that have brought global condemnation and triggered a probe at the war crimes court.
"If there is any negotiation it will be on one single thing -- how Gaddafi is going to leave the country or step down so we can save lives. There is nothing else to negotiate," said Ahmed Jabreel of the rebel National Libyan Council in east Libya.
The House meets in pro forma session only today. No votes are scheduled.
In the Senate, courtesy of the Office of the Majority Leader:
Morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to 10 minutes each.
1:00pm Filing deadline for all first degree amendments to S.23, the America Invents Act
There will be no roll call votes during Friday's session.
Woooooooooo! Weekend! Paaaaaaaaaaarrr-TAY!
What? You're still at work? Well, at least you have government subsidized health insurance! What? You don't? Well, you're probably more concerned with abortion than getting a job or treating that cancer or whatever, anyway.
I haven't got much for you today, and that's because Congressional Washington hasn't got much. The House will meet in pro forma session. What's that?
A daily meeting of the House or Senate during which no votes are held and no legislative business is conducted. The session "in form only" is held for purposes of meeting the 3-day rule in the Constitution. It requires each House to gain the permission of the other for recesses longer than 3 days. When the permission is not forthcoming, or not requested in time, the affected chamber convenes briefly with hardly anyone in attendance [the opening prayer, routine announcements, and sometimes short non-legislative speeches are conducted], and then adjourns.
The Senate, on the other hand, will also be meeting without holding any votes, but they're not in pro forma session. They're just not doing anything in particular. Which is to say that they're in regular session. They're just not doing any of that voting stuff. But in case anybody wants to come to work and talk to an empty chamber, the topic of the day is ostensibly S. 23, the patent reform bill. Still.
Not that there's any requirement that they actually stick to the subject or anything.
There are a couple of committee hearings scheduled for today, though. Mostly budget-related hearings in the House Appropriations Committee. I wonder what kind of attendance they'll get, considering that the majority thinks everything should be eliminated, anyway.
That committee schedule appears below the fold. Have a great weekend, everybody! Hey, why don't you call in and tell the boss you're working pro forma today?
Early-stage companies spend many years planning for the day when everything clicks. For a number of them, 2012 could be the year when all their hard work pays off. So I decided to look at companies set to see sales rise more than 200% next year.
Most of the companies in the . . . → Read More: I’ve Found a Handful of Companies That Could Grow by 200% — or More — by 2012
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By Doug Casey
With the U.S. government’s ever-increasing stranglehold on Americans’ assets, smart investors are now taking their wealth abroad. Doug Casey tells you how to do it, and why you shouldn’t put it off any longer.
“Making the chicken run” is what Rhodesians used to say about neighbors who packed up . . . → Read More: Making the Chicken Run
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So, I have been asked to but together 1 minute progressive spots for a local radio station. Here[...]
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