Archive for April 11th, 2012

News Digest 04/11/12

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 5:00 pm by

Former US officials under investigation for material support of terrorism

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm by

Michael Mukasey, official AG photo portrait, 2007Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey (pictured), former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, and former Vermont governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean are just a few of the Washington big wigs under investigation for material support of a terrorist group.

A group of Washington politicians are under fire because they have advocated on behalf of, received money from, and collaborated with the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), an organization considered a terrorist group by the United States. Mukasey, Rendell, and Dean, as well as former FBI director Louis Freeh, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former Homeland Security Adviser Frances Townsend, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Hugh Shelton, have received speaking fees of up to $30,000 per speech from the MEK.

The former top officials are now in the same boat that many American Muslims and peace and justice activists have fallen into with the material support statute of the PATRIOT Act. A 2010 Supreme Court decision, Humanitarian Law Project v. Holder, held that any type of collaboration with a terrorist organization—even if it was intended to encourage disarmament, conflict resolution, and human rights awareness—is unlawful and could lead to 15 years in prison.

Thoroughly against constitutional principles as a whole, the decision has allowed the FBI and other enforcement agencies greater power and furthered abuses of marginalized groups such as Muslims and activists. Now, however, the material support statute is being used against some of the people who championed its power in the first place.

The MEK is a controversial organization which has been accused of perpetrating the assassinations of top Iranian officials. The MEK wants the United States to recognize and install it as the official government of Iran, a move that would require an invasion of Iran similar to that of Iraq.

“These former officials are now in the national/homeland security business,” Jeremiah Goulka wrote in a Salon op-ed. Many are the heads of security and intelligence consulting firms, while others are deeply embedded with military contractors and oil and natural gas lobbyist firms. War with Iran would be incredibly profitable for the former Washington officials.

Glenn Greenwald said the following about the hypocrisy of these officials’ activities:

The activities of Townsend, Rendell, Dean, Giuliani and the rest of MEK’s paid shills are providing more than enough “material support” to be prosecuted under the Humanitarian Law decision and other statutes. They’re providing more substantial “material support” to this Terrorist group than many people — usually vulnerable, powerless Muslims — who are currently imprisoned for that crime.  It’s nice that Fran Townsend suddenly discovered the virtues of free speech and free association guarantees, but under the laws she and so many others like her have helped implement and defend, there is a very strong case to make that her conduct and those of these other well-connected advocates for this Terrorist group is squarely within the realm of serious criminal behavior.