Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Purge Continues

Meanwhile, over in the Trumpisphere, right-wing media outlets are gleefully printing lists of insufficiently loyal government employees who must be terminated in the name of Glorious Orange Leader.

Conservative news outlets, including one with links to a top White House official, are singling out individual career government employees for criticism, suggesting in articles that certain staffers will not be sufficiently loyal to President Donald Trump by virtue of their work under former President Barack Obama. 
The articles — which have appeared in Breitbart News, the Conservative Review and other outlets — have alarmed veteran officials in both parties as well as current executive branch staffers. They say the stories are adding to tensions between career staffers and political appointees as they begin to implement Trump’s agenda, and they worry that the stories could inspire Trump to try purging federal agencies of perceived enemies.

The claims posted on the conservative sites include allegations of anti-Israel and pro-Iran bias against staffers at institutions such as the State Department and the National Security Council. Breitbart News, whose former executive chairman Steve Bannon is now Trump’s chief strategist, has even published lists of workers that the president should fire. 
Washington veterans say they can’t recall similar targeting of government employees, who are required to stay apolitical and generally shun the spotlight.
“It’s deeply unfair to single people out and question their loyalty,” said William Burns, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former longtime diplomat. “It’s demoralizing for institutions. It’s demoralizing for professionals, and it’s offensive.”

The biggest bullseye continues to be on the back of the State Department career diplomats as the Trump regime continues the quest to dismantle American diplomacy and guarantee endless war.  The purge is especially targeting those who helped with the Iranian nuclear deal.

Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, a career civil service officer in State’s policy planning office who's been targeted in the past, has come under renewed fire because of her role shaping the Iran nuclear deal and other Iran policy during the Obama administration. Nowrouzzadeh, an American-born U.S. citizen of Iranian descent who joined the government in 2005 during the Bush administration, also has been criticized for once working for the National Iranian American Council, an activist group that some on the right accuse of lobbying on behalf of the Iranian government. 
According to Nowrouzzadeh’s LinkedIn profile and NIAC, she was an intern in the organization more than a decade ago. NIAC President Trita Parsi said Nowrouzzadeh interned part-time as a college undergraduate. “At the time our organization was very new, and our focus was primarily on voter registration," Parsi said. "We had no profile or position on foreign policy matters at that time.” 
Parsi also denied suggestions that his organization is tied to the Iranian regime. “The idea we’re an agent for the Iranian regime is preposterous,” he said. “We are the largest Iranian-American grass-roots organization, sustained by our own community, who overwhelmingly opposes the government in Iran.” 
Alan Eyre, director of the Office of the Middle East and Asia at State’s Bureau of Energy Resources, has also been targeted. Eyre served as State’s first Persian-language spokesman, and he’s been involved in Iran nuclear talks and outreach to Iranians. 
Calling him a “leftist State Department official,” the Conservative Review published an article this week reviewing Eyre's Twitter feed, saying he’s retweeting articles that are critical of Trump. But Eyre’s Twitter feed also includes plenty of Trump-friendly retweets that the article doesn't mention. 
Other targets for conservative news outlets have included Chris Backemeyer, State’s deputy assistant secretary for Iran; Michael Ratney, who deals with Syria and Israeli-Palestinian issues at State; and Anne Patterson, a recently retired former ambassador to Egypt and Pakistan. 
Secretary of Defense James Mattis wanted to tap Patterson as his undersecretary of defense for policy, but he ultimately withdrew her name from consideration after encountering resistance from the White House, another chilling signal to career officials. In a statement to POLITICO, Patterson said: "I believe that it is important for our elected officials, their appointees, and career civil service and foreign service personnel to know and respect the boundaries between their different roles."

Considering executive departments are now being larded with Trump loyalists to make sure employees are faithful to Trump first, of course this is the result.   This is one of those nice little incremental changes from a democracy to a bloody, brutal dictatorship that's happening before our eyes: loyalty tests for civil servants, the state media calling for purges and pograms as those left from the previous administration must be traitors, and watchful eyes making sure that departments are run "correctly".

This is how we are losing the American republic, guys.  In real time.

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