The US, Iran, and the Moral High Ground: On the US Government’s Ties to Terrorist Organizations

The harm a country is willing to inflict on another increases in proportion to the degree to which it perceives itself to be the other’s moral superior. Arguably, whether the harm is justified depends, in part, on the accuracy of this perception. In the specific case of U.S. policy towards Iran, American public support is to some extent explained by the perception that Iran is America’s moral inferior partly on account of its support for reputed terrorist organizations. How accurate is this perception, at least with respect to this particular basis? Here I provide a sample – by no means an exhaustive list – of cases in which the US government supported or cooperated with terrorist organizations. To avoid the charge of pedaling "conspiracy theories", I limit myself to mainstream sources in showing that the perception is dangerously inaccurate.

1. Support for the Nicaraguan Contras

In the 1980s, the Central Intelligence Agency published a manual entitled Psychological Operations in Guerilla Warfareto assist the Nicaraguan contras in its war against the leftist Sandinista government. The manual advocates for the use of "implicit terror" in order to maintain control over the population. Although it does discourage "explicit terror", this has less to do with any principled opposition to it than with the practical concern that "this would result in a loss of popular support." Elsewhere, the manual states that "it [may] be necessary…to fire on a citizen…trying to leave the town or city in which the guerrillas are carrying out armed propaganda or political proselytism…" "It is possible," it continues, "to neutralize [i.e., assassinate] carefully selected and planned targets, such as court judges, mesta judges, police and State Security officials." Evidently, gunning down civilians does not fall under the category of "explicit terror".

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A Note About Justin

Readers and supporters,

Many of you have asked how Justin Raimondo is doing as he has been conspicuously absent from his usual column and twitter communications. Well, he is hanging in there – but it’s tough and we are amazed at his grit.

He just asked to be sent some more books to read – his brain is buzzing about where our politics and country are going. And of course he speaks often about his readers as they provide his fundamental motivation to persevere. He so appreciates and values your concern – both personal (for him) and political (for all of us!).

He is ensconced in bed at this point and while comfortable gets quite cranky about not being able to get out to his garden where he sees the grass needs a good cut. Thank God his mind provides him with mental legs to stride around the world of ideas, history, and current events!

Executive Over-Reach: Pompeo Dismisses Congress In Push for Iran War

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made it clear to Members of Congress that he does not believe any Congressional authorization is necessary for a US war against Iran. Pompeo claims the post-9/11 authorization to fight al-Qaeda is sufficient. Will Congress roll over? On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Pompeo Shamefully Covers for the Saudis Again

Originally appeared on The American Conservative.

Pompeo has just proven once again that there is nothing the Trump administration won’t do to cover for Saudi Arabia as it prosecutes the atrocious U.S.-backed war on Yemen:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blocked the inclusion of Saudi Arabia on a U.S. list of countries that recruit child soldiers, dismissing his experts’ findings that a Saudi-led coalition has been using under-age fighters in Yemen’s civil war, according to four people familiar with the matter.

Pompeo has made a habit of overruling State Department experts when their recommendations don’t line up with the administration’s preference for giving the Saudis whatever they want. Last fall, he overruled them to make the bogus certification that the Saudi coalition was making an effort to reduce civilian casualties, and now he has overruled them to pretend that the Saudi coalition doesn’t use child soldiers when there is ample evidence that they have been doing that for years. All parties to the conflict have recruited child soldiers, and the Saudi coalition is no exception. There is no good reason to keep Saudi Arabia off the list of countries that engage in this awful practice, and so we are left to assume that Pompeo is doing it as a favor to a despotic regime because it happens to buy a lot of U.S.-made weapons.

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Pompeo At CENTCOM: Pushing ‘Tactical Assault’ on Iran?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has taken the extraordinarily unusual move of traveling to Miami to meet with (and browbeat?) heads of US Centcom and Special Operations Command. Are military leaders balking as neocon plans for “tactical assault” seem to be gaining ground? Where’s Trump? Where’s Congress? Where’s the Pentagon? Who’s in charge? Tune in to today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Credibility Crisis: No One Believes Pompeo On Iran Attack

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s rush to judgement that Iran was behind the apparent attacks on two tanker ships last week has not galvanized world opinion against Iran, as the neocons hoped. Instead, it was met with high skepticism even among Washington’s closest allies. Has the neocon practice of massively exaggerating and endlessly issuing threats finally destroyed US credibility on the world stage? On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.