Thursday, December 26, 2013

I don't work -- or lie -- for the MEK

The MEK wants a statement noted.  They'll get this much:

Mullahs’ regime official news agency (IRNA) reported from Baghdad on Wednesday, December 25, quoting an Iraqi “knowledgeable official” that the body of Niknam (Mohammad Ratebi), one of the seven hostages abducted in Ashraf on September 1, is in Baghdad and in the hands of Government of Iraq and among other victims. The said official described “Niknam” as PMOI strategist.
This is a clear acknowledgement by Government of Iraq to this reality that the hostages are in Iraq and are threatened with torture and death. Previously, the Iranian Resistance had declared in numerous statements in detail that the hostages are in Iraq and held by forces under Maliki’s command.
This is while a senior State Department official, declared in a hearing at the House Middle East Subcommittee of Foreign Affairs Committee on November 13 that “We can’t pinpoint where the people are... the 7 people, they are not in Iraq.”

And it stops there because I don't like lying.

I was present at the November 13th hearing.

The official is Brett McGurk and he states "We can pinpoint where the people are . . ."

Last month,  Brett McGurk, the State Dept's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq and Iran Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, appeared  Wednesday before the  US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa.  We reported on the hearing in the November 13th  "Iraq snapshot," the November 14th "Iraq snapshot" and  the November 15th  "Iraq snapshot."

In the 15th snapshot, we reported the exchange that's being quoted from:

US House Rep Sheila Jackson Lee:   [. . .]  But there are hostages in Iraq that we must have now.  There's documentation that those hostages are there by our French allies, by the United Nations and other supportive groups and information.  I can't imagine with the wealth of sophisticated intelligence authorities that we have, that we have funded who have a vast array of information about Americans  cannot pinpoint where starving Iranians, loved ones [are] whose families are trying to save their lives after being on a hunger strike for 73 days.  And so I would ask this question of you, already knowing about your heart and your concern, I will not judge you, I already know that you're committed to getting this right/  Will you -- will you demand of Maliki, not next week or months from now, but can we expect in the next 48 hours a call to the head of the government of Iraq demanding the release of these hostages and demanding their release now?  Or the documented, undeniable evidence that they are not held in Iraq?  Second, would you be engaged with -- or  the Secretary [of State John Kerry] be engaged with -- and I have spoken to Secretary Kerry, I know his heart -- with Maliki to demand the security of those in Camp Ashraf  for now and forever until a relocation to a homeland, a place where their relatives are or where they desire to be? [. . .]

Brett McGurk:  [. . .] We can pinpoint where the people are and I'd like to follow up with you on that.  The seven are not in Iraq.  But I will guarantee in my conversations with Maliki on down, the safety and the security of Camp Ashraf, Camp Liberty, where the residents are, the government needs to do everything possible to keep those poeople safe  but they will never be safe until they're out of Iraq.  And we all need to work together -- the MEK, us, the Committee, everybody, the international community -- to find a place for them to go.  There's now a UN trust fund, we've donated a million dollars and we're asking for international contributions to that fund for countries like Albania that don't have the resources but are willing to take the MEK in.  And we need to press foreign captials to take them in because until they're out, they're not going to be safe and we don't want anyone else to get hurt.  We don't want anymore Americans to get hurt in Iraq, we don't want anymore Iraqis to get hurt in Iraq  and we don't want any more residents of Camp Liberty to get hurt in Iraq and until they're out of Iraq, they're not going to be safe.  This is an international crisis and we need international help and support. 

US House Rep Sheila Jackson Lee:  May I follow -- May I just have a minute more to follow up with Mr. McGurk, Secretary McGurk?  And I hear the passion in your voice but let me just say this. We're in an open hearing.  You know where they are.  Who is going to rescue them?  Whose responsibility will it be to get them from where they are into safe haven?  Because otherwise, we're leaving -- we're leaving Maliki now without responsibility.  We're saying, and you're documenting that they're not there.  Let me just say that when my government speaks, I try with my best heart and mind to believe it.  But I've got to see them alive and well to believe that they're not where I think they are, they're in a pointed purse.  I'm glad to here that but I want them to be safe but I want them to be in the arms of their loved ones or at least able to be recognized by their loved one that they're safe somewhere.  So can that be done in the next 48 hours?  Can we have a-a manner that indicates that they are safe?

Brett McGurk:  I will repeat here a statement that we issued on September 16th and it's notable and I was going to mention this in my colloquy with my Congressman to my left, that within hours of the attack, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Score issued a statement praising the attack.  We issued a statement on September 16th calling on the government of Iran to use whatever influence it may have with groups that might be holding these missing persons to secure their immediate release.  And I can talk more about details and the status of these individuals.  And I've briefed some members of the Subcommittee. I'd be happy to follow up. 

Though Foreign Policy, The Hill and others love to note it now in December, we were the only ones who reported on the remarks it in real time.

At that hearing, the reporters began leaving after the first hour.

I was there the whole time.  And I know what was said.

But I went ahead and streamed just now to confirm it.

Sheila Jackson Lee's exchange begins two hours in (in this video) and McGurk says "We can pinpoint" at 2:04:35.

Let's start with me.  I don't call the Ashraf community "freakish" or any of the other ridicule they suffered for years from outlets like the New York Times.

But I don't care for the MEK.  (The Ashraf community hails from the MEK.)

I never have.

If necessary at some point -- when the Ashraf residents are safe -- we can go into that at length.

But I have defended the Ashraf community for years.  I've been slammed for it.  (I've been questioned by the FBI for it.)

None of that changed my efforts here on behalf of the Ashraf community.

I do not have contact with the MEK.  For some reason recently --

Not for some reason.

The MEK is pissed with me.

Why couldn't this have happened in 2011?  I could've written an entry entitled, "I've pissed off a terrorist group!"  (Until fall 2012, the MEK was on the US State Dept's list of terrorist organizations.)

They're pissed with me because I reported what Brett McGurk said in that hearing.

Again, in November, all outlets ignored it.

We didn't, we reported it.

And that brought on the wrath of the MEK who have repeatedly e-mailed the public account to bitch, moan and whine.

I didn't read any of it -- until this week -- but would hear of it from people who work the public e-mail account.  Four different people were told in e-mail replies that I wouldn't be responding privately to the MEK.  I was not going to get into that legal issue or have a private conversation with people vested in a public issue.

They ignored -- naturally -- that a private conversation would be unethical.

Instead, they wanted to repeatedly inform me that the MEK was no longer on the terrorist list.

Yeah, I understand that, we included it in that day's snapshot when  it was announced.

I also understand that political prisoner Lynne Stewart is in a federal prison -- dying in one -- for actions under the Bill Clinton administration -- actions that then-Attorney General Janet Reno didn't find to be crimes.  But Bully Boy Bush was put in the White House by the Supreme Court and his first Attorney General John Ashcroft goes after Lynne for the actions under the Clinton administration.

So, no, I don't want to have any conversations with the MEK. It would be unethical, it would be dangerous legally should another Bully Boy Bush type come in and, again, I don't like the MEK.

The Ashraf community is the focus here because the US government has a legal obligation to those people.  I have not let my personal opinion of the MEK influence my coverage -- in fact, until now many Libertarians have e-mailed to attack me as a tool of the MEK.  They couldn't be more wrong.

The MEK is mad at me because I reported what McGurk said.

The MEK is now lying about what McGurk said.

The press release I quoted above is a mixture of fact and fiction.

That's among the reasons I don't care for the MEK.  They have a real problem with honesty.

So now they want me to run their press release and they e-mailed it to me with orders that it run in full.

No, fool, it  won't run in full.

I don't work for you.  I don't give money to you.  I have no connection to you.

And I won't be party to your lies.

Was Brett McGurk lying to Congress?

Once a cheater, always a cheater.

I don't take Brett to be the voice of honesty.  If you can implode his claim, please do so.

But you won't do so by lying about what he said.

You won't make him look ridiculous by creating a 'quote' of something he did not say.

You could have tried a little bit harder baby
You could have been a little smarter baby
I tried not to see when you were on and off for me
You could have tried a little bit harder baby
I am what I am, you did what you did
I'm glad I'm not a sinner baby, cause here's the twist
You are what you are and I saw what I saw
Karma's your master, and you're the bitch
-- "Karma" written by Joss Stone, Dave Stewart, Martina McBride, Brad Warren and Brett Warren, first appears on Joss' LP1 album.

What Joss said.

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