Supporters of the controversial group of Iranian exiles, Mujahedeen-e-Khalq(MEK) rallied in Washington DC on Friday calling for regime change in Tehran. The MEK have close ties with President Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton and the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. The MEK was once designated as a terrorist group, having been taken off the list in 2012.
Several U.S. politicians spoke at the event, dubbed the “Free Iran rally”. Former democratic congressman Robert Torricelli, who served in the House and Senate for New Jersey, spoke at the event and clamored for regime change, “The reality is the mullahs will never change, they will develop nuclear weapons, they will spread terror. We need regime change and we need it now!”
Two representatives from the State of California also spoke, democrat Brad Sherman and republican Tom McClintock, both showing their support for the MEK and regime change. Retired four-star general Jack Keane sounded especially hawkish when it was his turn at the podium, almost bragging about the effects U.S. sanctions have had on Iran’s economy, “there are food shortages and power outages, and there is growing civil unrest. And the Iranian people are correctly blaming Iran, not the United States.”
Former New Mexico government and ambassador to the UN, Bill Richardson spoke highly of the MEK, “It’s a strong organization, with a lot of confidence and commitment and leadership abilities. The top leader, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, is a great leader.”
Senators Bob Menendez and John Cornyn sent written messages to be read at the rally, both supporting the MEK and calling for regime change.
Journalist Max Blumenthal attended the rally on Friday in hopes of talking to the rally attendees, all wearing matching yellow vests with the slogan “Free Iran.” But in a video Blumenthal posted on twitter it appeared that somebody was stopping him from asking questions, he tweeted, “This guy was part of the team tasked with preventing me from interviewing any of the Iranian emigres bussed in to cheer for regime change.”
Throughout the 1970s, the MEK acted as a violent opposition force against the U.S. installed Shah. They killed scores of the Shah’s police, and helped pave the way for the exiled Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s return to Iran. Khomeini quickly deemed the MEK a threat to his plan to turn Iran into an Islamic Republic. After the revolution, Khomeini’s forces clashed with the group, the MEK successfully killed 70 senior leaders of the Islamic Republic in a bombing.
Khomeini then began a violent crackdown on the MEK and any sympathizers. The remaining MEK members fled to Iraq. In 1986 Saddam Hussein offered the group weapons and cash to carry out terrorist attacks inside of Iran. The MEK lived in the military base at camp Ashraf that Hussein provided for them.
Since the MEK were on Hussein’s side in the bloody eight-yearwar between Iran and Iraq that killed millions, they lost any support they may have had left inside the Islamic Republic. Under their leader Massoud Rajavi, the group became cult-like. A report commissioned by the U.S. government inside of camp Ashraf said, “many of the typical characteristics of a cult, such as authoritarian control, confiscation of assets, sexual control (including mandatory divorce and celibacy), emotional isolation, forced labour, sleep deprivation, physical abuse and limited exit options.”
After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Rajavi disappeared, his whereabouts is still unknown although many assume he is dead. His wife, Maryam Rajavi, assumed the role as the new leader of the group. After a lavish lobbying campaign, the MEK was removed from the U.S. terror list by the Obama administration in 2012.
The MEK are now based in Albania. Giuliani, Bolton and the late John McCain have all traveled to Albania to show support for the group.
At the 2018 “Free Iran” conference in Paris put on by the MEK, Giuliani said “The mullahs must go. The ayatollah must go. And they must be replaced by a democratic government which Madam Rajavi represents.”
Giuliani also brought up protests that were happening in Iran at the time, “These protests are not happening by accident,” he said. “They’re being coordinated by many of our people in Albania.”
There is a long list of U.S. officials and politicians from both parties who have been paid handsomely to speak at MEK events, including Giuliani, John McCain, Newt Gingrich and former Democratic party chairs Edward Rendell and Howard Dean – along with multiple former heads of the FBI and CIA.
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi sent a video message expressing her support for the MEK to the “Free Iran” rally in Paris last year. John Bolton has reportedly received $180,000 from speaking at multiple MEK events. In 2017, he was paid $40,000 for his speech at the Free Iran rally in Paris.
This rally displays the amount of support the MEK has from Washington, despite having a history of violence and strange cult-like behavior. The MEK seem to be the group that Washington has chosen to be the new regime in Tehran, whether the Iranian people like it or not.
Originally appeared on antiwar.com, republished with permission.
High School Football Players Suspended for Carrying Thin Blue, Thin Red Line Flags Before 9/11 Game
High School football players in Florida have been suspended from their team for carrying Thin Blue Line and Thin Red Line flags during their football game on 9/11 to honor the first responders who died during the attack on the World Trade Center.
One of the young men on the Little Miami High School football team is the son of a police officer, another, the son of a firefighter.
“Were you trying to make some kind of a political statement here?” a Local 12 reporter asked Brady Williams, a senior cornerback, who carried the Thin Blue Line flag.
Two Little Miami football players pay the price for civil disobedience. They were told not to carry onto the field thin blue line and thin red line flags at their 9/11 game. They did anyway. The school has now suspended them from the team indefinitely. #ThinBlueLine #ThinRedLine pic.twitter.com/19y9GAvaxr
— David Winter (@DavidWinterTV) September 14, 2020
“No,” he answered quickly. “Not at all. I was just doing it to honor the people that lost their lives 19 years ago.”
Jarad Bentley, whose father is a firefighter, carried the Thin Red Line flag.
“I was all for it,” he said. “Because my dad is a firefighter, and if it had been him killed on 9/11, I would have wanted someone to do it for him.”
The young men had asked the school for permission to carry the flags on to the field before the game, and the school refused. They were told that if they did, there would be consequences.
Still, the boys did it anyways.
“Listen,” Williams said. “I don’t care what my consequences are. So long as my message gets across, I’ll be happy.”
Local 12 reports that “Williams and Bentley heard from the athletic director Monday afternoon and received an indefinite suspension.” The station said that they had called the superintendent about the boys a few hours prior.
Superintendent Gregory Power claimed that they denied the boys’ request because they don’t want to “set a precedent” for “political” flags being carried out on the field.
“We did not want to place ourselves in a circumstance where another family might want a different flag to come out of the tunnel, one that may be [one that] many other families may not agree with from a political perspective,” Power claimed.
DC Police Helicopter Hit With Lasers By Rioters Forced to Make Emergency Landing — Crew Member Hospitalized
One of the crew members had to be hospitalized due to vision loss in one eye.
A DC Metropolitan Police helicopter had to make an emergency landing on Saturday night as it was hit by laser pointers shined at it by rioters.
A law enforcement source tells the District Herald that one of the crew members had to be hospitalized due to vision loss in one eye.
Rioters were also shining the blinding lasers in the eyes of officers on the ground.
In July, it was revealed that federal officers in Portland may have been permanently blinded by the lasers, that are becoming increasingly common at the riots.
“When officers responded to put out these fires, glass bottles were thrown and lasers – which can cause permanent blindness – were shined in their eyes,” Federal Protective Service (FPS) Deputy Director of Operations Richard Cline said at a press conference at the time. “We have three officers who currently have eye injuries and they may not recover sight in those eyes from those laser attacks.”
There were multiple helicopters circling throughout the area all evening to keep track of the rioters.
— Wyatt Reed (@wyattreed13) August 30, 2020
Rioters from all over the nation, including many familiar faces from the Portland riots, have been causing chaos throughout the city for several days.
Whoa the remaining window of that BLM van has just been smashed in by police officers as they move the crowd further back through BLM Plaza in DC pic.twitter.com/lOOx9Je6tu
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) August 30, 2020
The riot escalated when the militants began to throw bricks at police officers.
Domestic terrorists are now threatening the White House and police lives… pic.twitter.com/DC7DWtXc7T
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) August 30, 2020
Earlier in the evening, a speaker in the newly named “Black Lives Matter Plaza” asserted that “I’m at the point where I’m going to put the police in a f*cking grave. I’m at the point where I want to burn the f*cking White House down!”
There were multiple arrests for assaulting police officers, but it seems as though rioters are being quickly caught and released the next day by the US Attorney’s Office.
The riot in DC is currently ongoing and the District Herald will be continuing to provide updates as the situation progresses.
BREAKING: Member of Patriot Prayer Fatally Shot in Portland
The rioters also attacked the founder of Patriot Prayer, Joey Gibson.
A member of the Pro-Trump organization Patriot Prayer has been shot and killed in Portland amidst the riots.
Early reports on social media had claimed that a black male was shot by a “Trump supporter,” but that was not the case.
The victim was a white male who was reportedly wearing a hat with the Patriot Prayer insignia on it.
“A Patriot with camouflage gear with infidel and thin blue line patches, was shot and killed during pro-Trump car caravan through downtown Portland at around 8:45pm,” independent reporter Andrew Duncomb tweeted.
A Patriot with camouflage gear with infidel and thin blue line patches, was shot and killed during pro-Trump car caravan through downtown Portland at around 8:45pm.
— Black Rebel (Andrew Duncomb) (@SpaceForceUSA_) August 30, 2020
“Just heard that the man killed is affiliated with my group. Just had drinks with him last Saturday,” Duncomb added.
Speaking to the District Herald, Duncomb said that “all I got to say right now is he was a good Patriot and this news has hit my group of friends pretty hard. It’s time for Trump to hear our cries and clean up Portland. We will not let them kill us anymore.”
Duncomb added, “shame on Ted Wheeler and Kate Brown. His blood is on their hands. They allowed this violence to happen for over three months. How many people need to die before the elected officials will do their job to protect its citizens?”
Warning Graphic: Here's the only angle of the shooting in Portland that I have found so far. pic.twitter.com/CXPGplYzNb
— Brett MacDonald (@TweetBrettMac) August 30, 2020
(Real) Medics tried to save the shooting victim in downtown Portland. It is a white male contrary to what antifa journalists and accounts said about it being a black victim. pic.twitter.com/jzE2ffqN73
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) August 30, 2020
Following the fatal shooting, rioters also surrounded and assaulted Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson. When Gibson retreated into a gas station, rioters broke the windows and threatened the owner.
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) August 30, 2020
— Darth Crypto – The Sith Jew (@ToolFree2point0) August 30, 2020
The shooting victim’s name has not yet been released, though it is known, to allow time for the family to be notified.
Duncomb, clearly outraged, tweeted a call for patriotic Americans to come to Portland on September 19 to stand against the rioters.
— Black Rebel (Andrew Duncomb) (@SpaceForceUSA_) August 30, 2020
The situation in Portland is ongoing. The District Herald will be providing updates as they become available.