• MEK Location Called “Concentration Camp”

    March 5, 2012 // 1 Comment »

    Once again, the MEK people adrift in Iraq re-surface in the news. You’ll recall that resettling the MEK into the former Camp Liberty became a State Department task, and the World’s Largest Embassy was assigned to commit “robust observation” of the facility to ensure proper treatment. State apparently did not robustly observe anything, as the Camp Liberty site is a dump, without water or sewage.

    “This is not a relocation camp. I have seen relocation camps. I know what relocation camps look like. And I know what jails look like. This isn’t a jail. This is a concentration camp. That’s what it is. This is a concentration camp. Let’s call it what it is,” Rudi Giuliani said after his own personal robust visit.

    Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz agreed with Giuliani’s take on the conditions at Camp Liberty. “This is a scandal. This is a fraud; a fraud not involving money, but a fraud involving threats to human life. What we need immediately is a commission of inquiry to determine how this fraud was perpetrated,” Dershowitz said. “Who certified, who approved that hell hole, that garbage dump?”

    Hah hah, State did.

    State Department stenographer Josh Rogin, over at Foreign Policy’s The Cable blog, chimed in with a snarky “Neither man (Giuliani and Dershowitz) ever called Camp Liberty a ‘concentration camp’ or a ‘garbage dump’ when it housed hundreds of U.S. soldiers for years during the Iraq war.”

    You’re a funny guy Josh. Ignorant, but funny. During the war, Camp Liberty was a paradise, home to Iraq’s largest PX and all the amenities. As the Occupation ended, the Camp was abandoned by the US, and the Iraqis promptly and efficiently looted it into its present state.

    The MEK-Camp Liberty dilemma is yet another example of US desires hitting reality head on in Iraq. After hoping the MEK issue would just go away for the nine years of Occupation, the State Department threw together an expedient policy, appointed an Ambassador to give it all gravitas and then made false promises of oversight. When the problem actually persisted, all State can do is enlist its loyal media trolls to make fun of any critics.

    Maybe the State Department can just issue the MEK medical visas for the US? That’s the best strategy they could come up with for Yemen’s fave dictator Saleh.



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    Posted in Embassy/State, Iraq

    Robust Briefing on Camp Ashraf and the Robust MEK

    December 31, 2011 // Comments Off

    Holding what might be the worst job at the State Department other than whatever is in store for me in 2012, Ambassador Daniel Fried is the Special Advisor for Camp Ashraf. He is tasked with overseeing a nice ending to a problem the US (and Iraq) have conveniently put off for almost nine years during the Occupation.

    The MEK people are still living in Iraq, at a place called Camp Ashraf, and Iraq would generally prefer that they all die, or disappear or die and disappear. The US has run the gamut of emotions and policy positions on MEK (it’s complicated), but prefer that they just disappear without the being massacred by Iraqis part. That would upset the whole illusion of democracy thing for sure.

    The UN has come up with a solution that might work. The MEK people will move from distant, tainted and often rocketed Camp Ashraf into the recently-abandoned Camp Liberty. Once the home of Iraq’s largest PX store during the Occupation, Liberty now has lots of openings for new residents. The nice thing is that Liberty is pretty close to the World’s Largest Embassy (c) and so the US can play a “monitoring” role, basically visiting once in a while to deter the Iraqis from just rolling in and killing everyone one night. The UN is later supposed to arrange something for the 3,200 MEK folks– refugee status, immigration, Publisher’s Clearing House prize, anything to get them out of Iraq before they all are ground into sausage meat by the democracy there.

    There will be “bumps” in the road. On the day the MEK agreement was signed, rockets hit Camp Ashraf. The attacks repeated on the following nights. A statement by people in Camp Ashraf said that as a first step, a group of 400 are ready “to move to Camp Liberty with their vehicles and moveable belongings on December 30.” The transfer, however, did not happen as the Iraqi government stepped in to require that people did not carry more than a travel bag to the new looted camp which now lacks basic infrastructure and drinking water.

    Ambassador Fried (his real name) held a briefing at the State Department that was quite informative, with a transcript now online. Among the many complications, he reveals that there are at least two (Iranian-) Americans among the Camp Ashraf residents. The briefing sidesteps the messy question of MEK’s status on the US terrorist list and keeps the focus on the humanitarian side, which is probably the best way out.

    Sorry but minus three points for the Ambassador for using the word “robust” three times, twice in the same paragraph, to describe the planned State Department monitoring of the MEK people at Liberty. Can you find another adjective in the New Year, please?

    Here are some suggestions:

    healthy, strong, able-bodied, athletic, boisterous, booming, brawny, built, concentrated, fit, full-bodied, hale, hardy, hearty, hefty, husky, live, lusty, muscular, peppy, potent, powerful, powerhouse, prospering, prosperous, roaring, rugged, sinewy, snappy, sound, stout, strapping, sturdy, thriving, tiger, tough, vigorous, vital, well, zappy, zippy

    (P.S. Go with “zippy” or “brawny.”)



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    Posted in Embassy/State, Iraq

    The National Counter Terrorism Center Kids Page!

    November 17, 2011 // 1 Comment »

    Almost too much to bear, the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) has a special kids page on its web site to, I guess, make kids happy about counter terrorism, or maybe to get them to turn in their parents for thought crimes.

    Your tax dollars pay for such Orwellian pablum as this:


    The people who work for the NCTC and our partner agencies have a vested interest in keeping the country and the world safe from terrorists and terrorist acts. Thinking of their families, friends, and country is more than motivation enough in this fight against terrorism.

    They also have a coloring book. The page has groovy multi-everything cartoon characters, including for some reason an African-American statue of liberty person and a hip computer kid named “Chip” in a wheelchair.

    It’s just like Glee!



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    Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!

    Posted in Embassy/State, Iraq