If the United States Government were governed by the laws it makes for the rest of us, California Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher would be in prison. More specifically, he would be in open-ended military custody without judicial remedy of any kind.
Rohrabacher was among the 230 Congressmen who recently voted to preservea measure permitting the indefinite detention, without trial, of US citizens accused of providing “material support” to al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups.
That vote, dealing with an amendment to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act sponsored by Washington Democrat Adam Smith, took place on May 18. In a Twitter exchange a few days later, Rohrabacher publicly admitted to acts that make him a fine candidate for arrest and military detention under the NDAA.
For decades, Rohrabacher has been a prominent supporter of radical Islamist terrorist organizations allied with the CIA – from elements of the Afghan Mujahadeen in the 1980s to the bizarre Iranian Islamo-Leninist cult called the People’s Mujhadeen (or MEK).
Any group “that actively opposes Soviets and Nazis and [radical] Islam is good enough for me,” Rohrabacher insisted in a Twitter message after I confronted him about his record. As it happens, Rohrabacher managed to support a group that actually managed to combine all three of those characteristics.
On July 23, 2001 Rohrabacher was a featured guest speaker at a fundraising dinner in Edgewater, New Jersey for the Albanian-American Civic League, a political front group for the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army, or KLA. That event took place about fifteen miles from the World Trade Center, where – about six weeks later – thousands of people would be murdered in a terrorist act reportedly carried out by allies of the KLA.
In the years leading up to the US-led 78-day terror bombing of Serbia in 1999, the CIA cultivated the KLA as an asset, despite the fact that it was recognized as an al-Qaeda-connected terrorist group by the State Department and numerous European intelligence agencies. After the NATO-coordinated bombing campaign forced Serbia to relinquish Kosovo, Washington installed the KLA as the government of the breakaway province.
The KLA’s ancestry is divided between Stalinists and the Albanian “Skanderbeg” SS division, which rounded up Pristina’s Jewish population before carrying out a campaign of rape and murder of the province’s Serbian population. This pedigree made the KLA something akin to the turducken of terrorism – Communists stuffed into Nazis wrapped in Islamic radicalism. However unpalatable this combination may be to decent and civilized people, Rohrabacher found it to be delectable.
Defending the terrorist group and his support for it, the Congressman made the remarkable – and entirely unverifiable– claim that “Kosovo sent troops after 9-11 to help [America] fight bin Ladin and [radical] Islam.” This would suggest that in the future the KLA will come into possession of time-travel technology: It wasn’t until 2010 that the government of UN-administered province had its own internal security force, and to date it still doesn’t have an army.
When this was pointed out to Rohrabacher, the Congressman blithely replied that if someone could provide him with “a source claiming Kosovo did not send [a] contingent” to Afghanistan, he would “admit that my memory was wrong” – as if the burden were on reasonable people to disprove his unsubstantiated claims.
More recently, Rohrabacher was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the Iranian MEK, which began its life in 1965 as part of the Soviet-sponsored international terrorist network. During the late 1970s, the MEK carried out terrorist acts in which U.S. citizens were killed. It also took part in the1979 siege of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, during which 52 U.S. citizens were taken hostage for 444 days.
In 1981, the MEK – which was part of the coalition that brought Khomeni to power — was expelled from Iran by the Ayatollah and sought refuge in Iraq, where it allied itself with Saddam Hussein. MEK cadres participated in cross-border raids in support of Saddam’s U.S.-abetted invasion of Iran.
The MEK’s official doctrine, explained Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations (hardly an “isolationist” group) in congressional testimony, fuses Islamic “values” with Marxist ideology: “From Lenin they embraced the importance of a vanguard party committed to mass mobilization, and from Third World revolutionaries they took the primacy of guerilla warfare as indispensable agents of political change.”
Following the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Bush administration rebuffed an offer from Tehran to exchange al-Qaeda suspects in Iranian captivity for MEK operatives in “liberated” Iraq. Since that time, MEK agents have been used to carry out terrorist attacks in Iran, and the group’s sensationalistic claims about the Iranian nuclear program have been retailed by Washington’s propaganda apparatus.
Until September 2012, the MEK was inscribed on the State Department’s official roster of international terrorist organizations. Prior to that time, under federal statutes, it was considered a felony to provide “material assistance” of any kind to the organization – which can include agitating for the State Department to repeal the group’s designation as a terrorist organization.
Rohrabacher’s defense of the MEK reads like a variation on WWII-era Popular Front propaganda. Insisting that the MEK has “changed,” he points out that “Iran’s Mullahs target [the] MEK [for] death,” which illustrates one occupational hazard of being part of a murderous Islamo-Leninist cult.
Those who don’t leap to the defense of the MEK “side with [the] Mullahs,” declares Rohrabacher in a rhetorical flourish worthy of a petulant High School sophomore. Not surprisingly, Rohrabacher is willing to take the side of terrorists as long they direct their violence at people who oppose Washington’s imperial foreign policy.
During an April 17, 2007 hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Human Rights, European legislators and human rights activists offered testimony condemning the Bush administration’s practice of “extraordinary rendition. This is the extra-judicial kidnapping of suspected terrorists, who were imprisoned and tortured within the CIA’s global archipelago of “black sites.”
Rohrabacher’s view was that anybody seized and interrogated by the CIA should be considered subject to summary execution without due process – a position that anticipated the Obama Regime’s “targeted killing” program.
Rohrabacher’s arrogance and hostility prompted heckling from a handful of protesters in the audience. This, in turn, provoked a bilious eruption from the fetid depths of whatever substitutes for Rohrabacher’s soul: “I hope it’s your family members that die when terrorists strike.”
When I challenged Rohrabacher about that comment, his first reaction was to whine that he is the victim of a “lie the left uses because it doesn’t want to honestly debate the points I actually make.” He then admitted to wishing death on people who opposed Washington’s global system of abduction and torture, which he considers appropriate punishment for such improper thinking.
“That they feel [the] impact of what they advocate [would] not [be] bad,” the Congressman told me. The violence Rohrabacher wishes on his political opponents would actually be the lethal blowback from policies that he has advocated.
To Rohrabacher, defending the rule of law and due process as applied to suspected terrorists is akin to treason – as is refusing to support actual terrorist groups when they are retained as assets of the U.S. government.
When talk radio bulimics fall prey to ideological double-think of this kind, the results are disagreeable but not particularly harmful. Owing to Rohrabacher’s position, however, his delusions have played a significant role in visiting destruction and death on hundreds of thousands of people in distant countries, and he expects those who have survived his eccentric brand of humanitarianism to be abjectly grateful for the attention lavished on them by Washington.
During a 2011 visit to Iraq, Rohrabacher – his Chickenhawk plumage on full display – insisted that Iraqis area indebted to the United States forthe invasion and occupation that left their country a shattered ruin. Noting that the U.S. is mired in an ever-deepening economic downturn – brought on, in large measure, by decades of militarism and imperial meddling abroad – the Congressman demanded that “some consideration be given to repaying the United States some of the mega-dollars we have spent here…. We could certainly use some people to care about our situation as we have cared about theirs.”
Taken literally, Rohrabacher’s suggestion would require that some large, wealthy foreign power – such as China, perhaps – invade and occupy the United States after imposing a murderous-decade-long economic embargo to soften us up. That’s the same kind of “caring” Washington inflicted on the Iraqis, who understandably weren’t interested in paying for that supposed privilege.
In fairness to Rohrabacher, the demand he made of the Iraqis displayed a certain consistency between his abhorrent public policy views and the squalid conduct of his private affairs.
In August 2012, Rohrabacher moved out of a luxurious Costa Mesa rental home, stiffing the landlord out of a week’s rent. After moving in, the Congressman had changed the locks and prevented the owner, Robert Polyniak, from carrying out agreed-upon annual inspections. When the landlord’s girlfriend, Darlene Whitsell, finally gained access to the abandoned home, she found that it had been well and thoroughly trashed.
“Massive black stains and muck covered the carpet throughout the home,”recounted the Orange County Weekly. “Sticky grime encased damaged, rusted appliances…. Walls inexplicably contained odd holes, nail polish, and some smelly substance that may have been feces…. A second-floor suite used by Dana’s wife, Rhonda, as her bedroom contained a huge, mysterious, lubricant-like stain – something you might expect on the floor of a Hollywood sex club – that had seeped through thick carpet and padding to tarnish a hardwood floor.”
Repairing the damage cost nearly $26,000. Polyniak deducted Rohrabacher’s $6,700 security deposit and sent him a bill for the remainder. A year later, the Congressman – who had already stiffed Polyniak out of a portion of the last month’s rent – filed a lawsuit against the landlord, demanding $21,000 for not refunding his full security deposit.
Rohrabacher’s occupancy of Polyniak’s property was a microcosm of the US occupation of Iraq – and in both cases he seems to think that the occupier is entitled to compensation from the victim.
The political class consists largely of people unfit for civilized company, and among his reprehensible peers Rohrabacher has distinguished himself. Assuming that prison cells should exist, Dana Rohrabacher richly deserves to occupy one, not only for abetting terrorism and mass murder but also in the interests of public hygiene.