DOE Washing Terrorists in the Nevada Desert

I’ve long suggested that our attempts to suggest Mossad was running the MEK (and Jundallah) led covert operations in Iran were attempts to hide US cooperation with those groups against Iran.

Sy Hersh confirms precisely that speculation with respect to the MEK.

The former senior intelligence official I spoke with seconded the NBC report that the Israelis were working with the M.E.K., adding that the operations benefitted from American intelligence. He said that the targets were not “Einsteins”; “The goal is to affect Iranian psychology and morale,” he said, and to “demoralize the whole system—nuclear delivery vehicles, nuclear enrichment facilities, power plants.” Attacks have also been carried out on pipelines. He added that the operations are “primarily being done by M.E.K. through liaison with the Israelis, but the United States is now providing the intelligence.” An adviser to the special-operations community told me that the links between the United States and M.E.K. activities inside Iran had been long-standing. “Everything being done inside Iran now is being done with surrogates,” he said. [my emphasis]

More interesting, he describes JSOC training MEK in the Nevada desert.

Despite the growing ties, and a much-intensified lobbying effort organized by its advocates, M.E.K. has remained on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations—which meant that secrecy was essential in the Nevada training. “We did train them here, and washed them through the Energy Department because the D.O.E. owns all this land in southern Nevada,” a former senior American intelligence official told me. “We were deploying them over long distances in the desert and mountains, and building their capacity in communications—coördinating commo is a big deal.”

Hersh goes on to describe that we not only taught MEK how to stay in communication in the field, but how to intercept Iranian communications as well (remember the importance of intercepts in our understanding of Iranian nukes?). Moreover, the stuff the JSOC trainers were teaching MEK was so “sexy” that people started to get worried.

We’ve been training terrorists in our own deserts and sending them out against Iran–all while fear-mongering about Iran engaging in terrorism.

In other words, even the war on terror hasn’t taught us how such schemes can backfire.

24 replies
  1. quixote says:

    Dear God. If this wasn’t the real world, I’d assume you’d pulled up an old episode of Mad Magazine’s Spy vs. Spy. (Those never ended well either.)

  2. al75 says:

    I’d love to know what the “sexy” training was, and at what level this was authorized.

    We all know that there’s a clique in the US/Israel that would love to see a US-Iranian war – and “sexy” small-scale terrorist attacks strike me as a great way to start one!

  3. Bob Schacht says:

    Actually, this is only the most recent chapter in a longer story. Remember when we trained and armed the Taliban when Russia was trying to run Afghanistan?

    A terrorist is only a terrorist when they’re fighting you. When they’re working with you to fight your enemy, then they’re freedom fighters. This is why all attempts to define terrorism “objectively” wind up on the rocks.

    Bob in AZ

  4. Frank33 says:

    Shout out to a great American, Sy Hersh.

    “We did train them here, and washed them through the Energy Department because the D.O.E. owns all this land in southern Nevada,” a former senior American intelligence official told me. “We were deploying them over long distances in the desert and mountains, and building their capacity in communications—coördinating commo is a big deal.”

    Yet more taxpayer dollars going for material assistance of terrorists. Or to be accurate, the US Government is training a secret mercenary army for more False Flag Terror. This is the Whole-of-Government in action. The Energy Department, instead of researching a replacement for Fossil Fuels, is committing international war crimes.

    MEK Yes, Solar Energy Ha Ha Ha

  5. joanneleon says:

    So glad you pointed this out. I’ve been dying for Sy Hersh to weigh in on this situation, and to hear more about it from you. Thanks!

  6. MadDog says:

    Oh, this is choice – via TPM:

    Romney Advisor Mitchell Reiss Backs ‘Terrorist’ Group, Jokes About Being ‘Potential Criminal’

    “Mitchell Reiss, a foreign policy adviser to Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, on Friday once again spoke out on behalf of an Iranian opposition group the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.

    Reiss, a former State Department official, appeared alongside other former U.S. officials like former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and Attorney General Michael Mukasey at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C. to support removing the People’s Muhajedin Organization of Iran, or MEK, from the U.S. list of designated terrorist organizations. Reiss, who served as moderator of the panel, opened his remarks with a joke about the ongoing Treasury Department investigation into the speaking fees paid to officials like him who have appeared at previous events…”

  7. rosalind says:

    @MadDog: omfg, that is rich.

    “It’s clear that Secretary Clinton and the State Department need our help,” Reiss said Friday. “They need us to explain to them why the MEK does not belong on this list. Now as you know, this is not the first time we’ve tried to explain this to them. Many of us have tried to do so repeatedly over the past few years.

    “It appears they have some slow learners at the State Department,” Reiss continued. “Sadly, this happens. We all knew schoolmates who never did the homework or paid attention to the reading. That appears to be the case now. The good news is that we have some expert teachers with us this morning.”

    condescending douche.

  8. MadDog says:

    @rosalind: I particularly hope that Democratic folks like Howard Dean and Ed Rendell get their comeuppance.

    Talk about being politically tone-deaf. I guess the shekels paid somehow block the ability to think.

  9. MadDog says:

    I was also wondering earlier today after reading Hersh’s piece whether one of the resident Department of Defense Likudniks Dougie “the dumbest fucking guy on the planet” Feith cooked up the JSOC training of the MEK.

    And I’m still wondering. It sounds just like his Office of Special Plans.

  10. prostratedragon says:

    @MadDog: And where has Mitchell Reiss been all my life?

    Tommy Franks, who nailed Feith so far as it went, must not have met or heard of Mitchell.

  11. rosalind says:

    my other fav Reiss quote from the TPM link:

    “We come here today at a time when anonymous State Department officials are trying to question our motives and our morals. We come here at a time when some people in the U.S. government are trying to intimidate us from speaking out on behalf of what we know is right and just.”

    welcome to America 2012, you little WATB.

  12. orionATL says:

    ever heard of “mujahaddin” – like, for example, osama bin laden, or haqqanni?

    the folks in our national security apparatus are just so damned clever?

  13. P J Evans says:

    They seem to be slow learners.
    They’ve had a full century of bad results (sooner or later) from this kind of thing, and they still haven’t figured it out. (Start with Cuba and the Philippines, through Nicaragua and more Cuba and all the oil-producing countries of the 50s and 60s….)

  14. MadDog says:

    @P J Evans: I think the cadre of American Foreign Policy wonks exists merely as our perpetual sandbox for grownup children who erroneously think they can influence nations, events and people, as well as proving that their castles are always made of sand.

  15. Bob Schacht says:

    @MadDog: The sad thing is, Hilary should know better.

    Because of her husband’s experience in the Balkans, as well as Israel’s interests, I can’t believe that this is an accident. MEK has the advantage that it is Iranian, and in situ. Also, they are less accessible to the Iranian secret police. Mossad and the CIA are used to using assets like this.

    Bob in AZ

  16. orionATL says:

    @P J Evans:

    indeed, pj.

    what a rap sheet this agency has developed!

    and now, our cia, with the co-operation of the our nation’s department of “justice”, is assiduously developing a new rap sheet, this one involving terrorizing its former-employee critics, like kariakou.

    its lawyers that destroyed torture tape evidence after being told not to do so?

    safe and cozy in their homes.

    its officials who lied to congress on multiple occasions?

    safe and cozy in their homes.

    its torturers who fearfully abused human beings because they were allowed to do so?

    safe and cozy in their homes.

    our president and our attorney general who have allowed these cia officials to remain cozy and safe?

    they, too, are safe and cozy in their homes.

    only john kariakou and his wife, with a new baby in the house requiring frequent nightly feedings, has to pay a price for criticizing a(nother) dumb cia scheme (and for being the wife of a cia critic), this one involving iran and a hair-brained scheme reminiscent of the plot to kill castro with an exploding cigar.

  17. Ali Reza says:

    Hersh you can go to hell. how much have you being payed by the Iranian regime to come up with these thoughts or mabye the State Department so that the can continue negosiate with Iran

    US does have a full responsibility about the situation in Camp Ashraf and should conduct investigations first about who ordered the US troops out of the camp and then to have the Iraqi officers on the ground prosecuted. but a very good first step could be to do as the US Court have told them time and time again during the last 2 years DE_LISK MEK

  18. shekissesfrogs says:

    This is obviously national policy/plans agreed on, in the upper echelons of power, the sniping is all politics and cover for their bipartisan, binational naked romp in an amoral swamp. Ugly isn’t it?

    The same consensus is echoed here too with Gores speech in 2002, it’s just how it’s gone about. Democrats don’t like all the messiness, the taunting and un-pc language. They have a brand to protect.

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