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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

The MEK Lobby: Chumming with Terrorists No More

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FEATURED PROFILES

People’s Mujahedin of Iran
The People’s Mujahedin of Iran—or MEK—is a militant organization advocating the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which for many years was listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. In September 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the group would be removed from the terrorist list. The decision was a major victory for the group’s backers, who spent millions on an aggressive lobbying campaign that included a host of prominent former U.S. officials and a crop of longtime neoconservatives. The decision also raised a number of concerns about a potential backlash from Iran, which could have repercussions on efforts to negotiate limits to that country’s nuclear program.

Marc Thiessen
A torture apologist and speechwriter for President George W. Bush, Marc Thiessen is a columnist for the Washington Post who has used his perch to advance a number of right-wing talking points on national security. Thiessen recently publicized a misleading claim about President Obama’s White House tenure alleging that the president skipped half of his intelligence briefings, when in reality the president had simply opted to read them rather than have them delivered orally. It was a claim the Post’s own fact checker called specious and “curious.”

Tommy Thompson
Tommy Thompson, a former governor of Wisconsin and secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush, is the Republican Party’s 2012 Senate nominee for Wisconsin. His record on foreign policy is thin—indeed, the only marginally relevant section on his campaign website concerns the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which he argues will help free the United States from the “manipulation” of “hostile” countries. Thompson has also endorsed the U.S. alliance with Israel (despite his history of making insensitive statements about Jews) and warned that a nuclear Iran could choke off the “Gulf” of Hormuz.

Réalité-EU
Réalité-EU is a hawkish policy outfit that promotes aggressive European policies toward Iran and other “threats” in the Middle East. The group purports to be based in London, but investigations by progressive blogs have suggested that the group is linked with The Israel Project, a neoconservative-leaning “pro-Israel” advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. The organization’s website no longer lists a London address, but it continues to churn out hawkish analyses and policy recommendations aimed at European policymakers.

Fred Iklé (1924-2011)
Fred Iklé, who passed away in November 2011, was a well known foreign policy analyst and government official who supported a host of militarist foreign policies dating back to the 1970s—including rolling back détente with the Soviet Union and the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. His case, however, presents an interesting reflection on the efforts of militarists today to expand U.S. military engagement in the Middle East. In particular, like many other erstwhile supporters of the Iraq War, Iklé eventually grew disillusioned with the neoconservative-led campaign to reshape the region’s geopolitical landscape and argued that an attack on Iran would be a “catastrophic failure.”


ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

U.S. to Take Iran Anti-Regime Group Off Terrorism List
In a move certain to ratchet up already high tensions with Iran, the Obama administration has announced that it will remove the MEK from the State Department’s terrorism list.

Nobel Laureate Calls for Armed Intervention in Nigeria
On the International Day of Peace, Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka visited the United Nations—and called for armed intervention against the terrorist group Boko Haram in his home country of Nigeria.

U.N. Chief Jabs Media for Overblown Coverage of Hate Crimes
In the wake of an International Day of Peace marred by reports of violent riots from across the Islamic world, UN officials are calling on the international media not to amplify inflammatory hate speech.

Amid Tension in Islamic World, U.N. Chief Pleads for Harmony
Against a backdrop of international conflict and turmoil in the Middle East, UN officials are pleading for new investments in peacebuilding, a rollback in military spending, and a more democratic United Nations.


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Featured Profiles

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and two-time failed presidential candidate, is a foreign policy hawk with neoconservative leanings who appears set to become the next senator from Utah.


Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman and longtime “superlobbyist” who has supported numerous neoconservative advocacy campaigns, has become embroiled in the special prosecutor’s investigation into the Donald Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.


Jon Lerner is a conservative political strategist and top adviser to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. He was a key figure in the “Never Trump” Campaign, which appears to have led to his being ousted as Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser.


Pamela Geller is a controversial anti-Islam activist who has founded several “hate groups” and likes to repeat debunked myths, including about the alleged existence of “no-go” Muslim zones in Europe.


Max Boot, neoconservative military historian at the Council on Foreign Relations, on Trump and Russia: “At every turn Trump is undercutting the ‘get tough on Russia’ message because he just can’t help himself, he just loves Putin too much.”


Although overlooked by President Trump for cabinet post, Gingrich has tried to shape affairs in the administration, including by conspiring with government officials to “purge the State Department of staffers they viewed as insufficiently loyal” to the president.


Former Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL) is an advisor for United Against Nuclear Iran. He is an outspoken advocate for aggressive action against Iran and a fierce defender of right-wing Israeli policies.


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As the United States enters the second spring of the Trump era, it’s creeping ever closer to more war. McMaster and Mattis may have written the National Defense Strategy that over-hyped the threats on this planet, but Bolton and Pompeo will have the opportunity to address these inflated threats in the worst way possible: by force of arms.


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We meet Donald Trump in the media every hour of every day, which blots out much of the rest of the world and much of what’s meaningful in it.  Such largely unexamined, never-ending coverage of his doings represents a triumph of the first order both for him and for an American cult of personality.


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