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Tue Apr 10, 2012, 08:37 PM

Training Terrorists in Nevada: Seymour Hersh on U.S. Aid to Iranian Group Tied to Scientist Killings

April 10, 2012

Journalist Seymour Hersh has revealed that the Bush administration secretly trained an Iranian opposition group on the State Departmentís list of foreign terrorists. Hersh reports the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command trained operatives from Mujahideen-e-Khalq, or MEK, at a secret site in Nevada beginning in 2005. According to Hersh, MEK members were trained in intercepting communications, cryptography, weaponry and small unit tactics at the Nevada site up until President Obama took office. The MEK has been listed as a foreign terrorist groups since 1997 and is linked to a number of attacks, spanning from the murders of six U.S. citizens in the 1970s to the recent wave of assassinations targeting Iranian nuclear scientists. Hersh also discusses the role of Israeli intelligence and notes the Obama administration knew about the training, "because they have access to what was going on in the previous administration in this area in terms of the MEK, in terms of operations inside Iran." His new report for The New Yorker blog, "Our Men in Iran?," comes as nuclear talks are set to resume this week between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Guest: Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporter for The New Yorker magazine. His latest piece for their websiteís "News Desk" blog is titled "Our Men in Iran?"

snip* AMY GOODMAN: In what appears to be a first for U.S. foreign policy, new revelations have emerged that the Bush administration secretly trained an Iranian opposition group despite its inclusion on the State Departmentís list of foreign terrorists. Writing for The New Yorker magazine, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh reports U.S. Joint Special Operations Command trained operatives from Mujahideen-e-Khalq, or MEK, at a secret site in Nevada beginning in 2005. According to Hersh, MEK members were trained in intercepting communications, cryptography, weaponry and small unit tactics at the Nevada site up until President Obama took office. The MEK has been included on the State Departmentís list of foreign terrorist groups since 1997. Itís been linked to a number of attacks, spanning from the murders of six U.S. citizens in the í70s to the recent wave of assassinations targeting Iranian nuclear scientists.

Although the revelation that the U.S. government directly trained the MEK comes as a surprise, itís no secret the group has prominent backers across the political spectrum. Despite itís designation as a "terrorist" organization by the State Department for 15 years, a number of prominent former U.S. officials have been paid to speak in support of the MEK. The bipartisan list includes two former CIA directors, James Woolsey and Porter Goss; former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge; New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani; former Vermont Governor Howard Dean; former Attorney General Michael Mukasey; former FBI Director Louis Freeh; former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton; and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

snip* AMY GOODMAN: Well, weíll focus on the wiser part. Tell us what you have learned. Who are, as you call it, "our men in Iran"?

**Simply, theyíre just the Khalq, the MEK. We began toóI learned about this many years ago. Itís just one of those things that it never quite occurred to me how important it was. And what is important about also theóthey did stop, thereís no question, this sort of training that was going on. It was going on at a place called the Nevada Nuclear Security or National Security Test Site. Itís a former site for World Warópost-World War II nuclear testing of weapons, testing of nuclear weapons. And itís off-limits to people. And itísóthereís an air base there. God knows what went on there. My own guess is rendition flights also flew into that air base in '02, í03. There's some evidence for it. But certainly, the groups of MEK were flown in secretly by, I presume, the Joint Special Operations Command. This is this new high-powered group thatís been doing all the night raids in Afghanistan, that also came up in your news broadcast.

in full: http://www.democracynow.org/2012/4/10/training_terrorists_in_nevada_seymour_hersh

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