American Backers of Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult) terror group : For as little as 25k we will take them off the list
American Backers of Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult) terror group : For as little as 25k we will take them off the list
Banned Terror Group Seeks U.S. Rebirth
... These officials, and others including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former heads of the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, have taken the podium to praise the group. The speakers wouldn't disclose their speaking fees, but many of them charge between $25,000 and $40,000 per appearance."We should take the MeK off the [terror] list and recognize them for what they are, which is the legitimate government of the Republic of Iran," former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said at a recent event in London. Mr. Dean said he has made both paid and unpaid speeches for MeK ...
WASHINGTON—An Iranian exile group once allied with Saddam Hussein has enlisted former top U.S. officials—including heads of the CIA, FBI, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and politicians from both parties—to try to get it removed from the State Department's terrorist list.
The Mujahedin e-Khalq, or People's Holy Warriors, has deployed the heavyweights on speaking tours in Washington and European capitals, hoping to convey the image of a popular, democratic alternative to Tehran's ruling clerics.
Obama administration and European officials, however, fear the campaign could undermine Washington's policy of reaching out to opposition forces in Iran. They say that's because the U.S. would appear to be aligned with a group that is widely unpopular due to its military alliance with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein during the 1980s and '90s and a string of terrorist attacks the U.S. says it launched inside Iran.
Among the group's newfound cheerleaders are recently departed members of President Barack Obama's national security team, including Jim Jones, the former national-security advisor, Dennis Blair, the former director of national intelligence and James Woolsey, who headed the Central Intelligence Agency.
These officials, and others including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former heads of the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, have taken the podium to praise the group. The speakers wouldn't disclose their speaking fees, but many of them charge between $25,000 and $40,000 per appearance.
"We should take the MeK off the [terror] list and recognize them for what they are, which is the legitimate government of the Republic of Iran," former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said at a recent event in London. Mr. Dean said he has made both paid and unpaid speeches for MeK.
MeK's backers cite intelligence it has provided the West on Iran's nuclear program and aid to U.S. troops in Iraq as reasons to remove the listing. They also cite MeK's democratic platform.
Mohammed Mohaddessin, a senior member of MeK's political arm in Paris, said Iranian communities in the U.S. and Europe organized and funded the lobbying effort. He said that in 2001, "the MeK rejected all kinds of violence, so there is no excuse for keeping them on the list."
The MeK, led by Maryam Rajavi, was founded in 1965 to fight the Shah of Iran, and the U.S. says it killed several Americans in Tehran in the 1970s. The group briefly allied with, then turned violently against, the clerical regime that came to power in 1979. In the early 1980s, the MeK retreated to Paris. By 1986, it relocated to Iraq and fought alongside Saddam's forces in the eight-year war against Iran.
The State Department first listed MeK as a terrorist group in 1997. In its latest terror report, in 2009, it blames MeK for many attacks on Iranian embassies, military officers and politicians, though not since 2001 until 2001, when it was based in Iraq. The report says the MeK took part in the deadly suppression of Kurdish and Shiite revolts inside Iraq. Mr. Mohaddessin denies allegations that MeK was involved in internal Iraqi security operations. "Those are rumors spread by the Iranian regime,' Mr. Mohadessin said, pointing to frequent Iranian state media attacks against it.
The group says its main motivation for the campaign is to help protect its ranks in Camp Ashraf, north of Bagdad, whose residents suffered a deadly Iraqi army crackdown last month. About 3,400 MeK members have lived there since allied forces disarmed them after invading Iraq in 2003. MeK officials say its designation lets Iraq treat it as terrorists.
Two senior State Department officials dismissed that argument, saying a delisting wouldn't help Ashraf's residents and that the U.S. hoped to move them to another Iraqi location as a prelude to relocating them to third countries.
Getting off the list, which can keep members from entering the U.S., would also allow MeK to raise funds from unaffiliated Iranian-Americans and better organize towards its goal of overthrowing Iran's theocracy.
Prominent members of the Green Movement, Iran's broad opposition movement, have spoken out against delisting the MeK. They argue such a move would taint its movement by association and embolden Iran's hardliners to step up repression.
"The MeK is widely hated inside Iran because they are seen as collaborators with Iraq," said Tufts University Prof. Vali Nasr, an Iranian-American who recently left the State Department. "Delisting the group under the pretext of supporting the opposition will be used by the regime to taint the entire Green Movement."
Mr. Mohadessin blames MeK's unpopularity on misinformation spread by the government.
The last time the State Department had to consider MeK's status was during the waning days of the George W. Bush administration. In upholding the terrorist designation, then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrote in a 2009 internal cable released by anti-secrecy group Wikileaks: "The most powerful myth the MeK has been able to lodge in the minds of most supporters is that they are the democratic alternative to the current regime in Tehran." She also referred to the MeK's "terrorism and cult-like repression of its members."
In response to an MeK lawsuit, a federal court ordered the State Department last year to review the listing again. U.S. officials say that should be done by mid-summer. A State Department spokeswoman said the federal-court ruling acknowledged that classified information provided "substantial support" for keeping the MeK on the terror list. Both the U.K. and the European Union have taken the MeK off their terror lists in recent years under court orders after legal action by the group.
The U.K. court found that since 2001 it was no longer "concerned in terrorism" and thus must be de-listed. The EU court ruled that the European Commission's 2008 decision to keep the terror listing violated the MeK's due process rights and failed to demonstrate why they should stay on the list.On Thursday, French investigators dropped an eight-year terrorism probe of 24 MeK members, including Mrs. Rajavi.
Since December, the MeK has hosted about a dozen events in Washington, London, Paris, Berlin and Brussels.
"We shouldn't just de-list the MeK; we should applaud them," Mr. Giuliani, the ex-mayor, said at a Washington event last month. "We should join with them, we're on the same side," he said to rousing applause from a few hundred MeK supporters from across the U.S. He declined to comment.
Other speakers at recent events include Hugh Shelton, Richard Myers, and Peter Pace, all former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs; Tom Ridge, the first head of Homeland Security; and Louis Freeh, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In an interview, Mr. Woolsey, who said he waived his usual speaker's fee at a recent MeK event, said Tehran's condemnation of MeK was "like a backwards weathervane—wherever they're pointing, we should do the opposite"
Ex-CIA chief Mr. Jones, who said he received his standard speaking fee, said, "I'm not saying I'm convinced this is the future government of Iran, because that's for the people to decide, but our policy is at odds with reality."
Mojahedin Khalq spokesman threatens more violence if MEK demands not met
Ali Safavi reveals MKO keeping bodies as a bargaining tool
... The group was given sanctuary by the Saddam Hussein, then protected by the American forces after the regime fell, and now falls under the jurisdiction of the Iraqi government... The residents who were killed on April 8 have not yet been buried, according to Ali Safavi, a member ... "Iraqi forces need to leave Camp Ashraf so that those who were killed can be buried," Safavi said. "In addition, wounded residents must get treatment; families and international delegations must be allowed to visit the camp, and all sides have to resolve the issue peacefully. Unless those conditions are met, the threat of another attack is very real." ...
(CBS/AP) A month after more than 30 Iranian dissidents were killed and several hundred wounded when Iraqi army forces entered Camp Ashraf, the fate of the 3,400 camp residents is still uncertain.
Camp Ashraf, located in Iraq's northeast Diyala province, is the home of the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran (PMOI), which seeks the overthrow of Iran's leaders and is considered a terrorist group by Iran, as well as the U.S. The group was given sanctuary by the Saddam Hussein, then protected by the American forces after the regime fell, and now falls under the jurisdiction of the Iraqi government.
The PMOI maintains that 35 people were killed and 345 wounded during fighting with Iraqi Army forces, and that 42 of the seriously injured still have not received adequate treatment.
The residents who were killed on April 8 have not yet been buried, according to Ali Safavi, a member of Iran's Parliament in Exile, National Council of Resistance of Iran, and president of the Near East Policy Research. He said that Iraqi forces have occupied the area of the camp where the cemetery is located, and have constructed a four-mile long embankment that divides the camp.
"Iraqi forces need to leave Camp Ashraf so that those who were killed can be buried," Safavi said. "In addition, wounded residents must get treatment; families and international delegations must be allowed to visit the camp, and all sides have to resolve the issue peacefully. Unless those conditions are met, the threat of another attack is very real."
The U.S. and the United Nations have condemned the April 8, 2011 attack on Camp Ashraf.
U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry called the raid a "massacre," saying the Iraqi government should "hold accountable the responsible parties and ensure that there will be no sequel to these horrific events."
"It now seems certain that at least 34 people were killed in Camp Ashraf, including seven or more women," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said. "Most were shot, and some appear to have been crushed to death, presumably by vehicles."
"There is no possible excuse for this number of casualties," said Pillay. "There must be a full, independent and transparent inquiry, and any person found responsible for use of excessive force should be prosecuted."
The European Parliament met with Iraqi leaders at the end of April, and called for an independent inquiry, and call for the perpetrators being brought to international justice.
The main obstacle to resolving the situation is the terrorist designation accorded the PMOI by U.S., according to Safavi. "The onus is on the U.S. to protect these people," he said.
Retired Gen. James Jones, a former national security advisor to President Obama and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and retired Gen. Peter Pace, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both advocate delisting PMOI as a terrorist organization.
"Some folks said to me this week if the United States government took the MEK [Mojahedin-e-Khalq Organization, another designation forPMOI] off the terrorist list it would be a signal to the Iranian regime that we had changed from a desire to see changes in regime behavior to a desire to see changes in regime. My response to that is: sounds good to me," Pace said in February 2011.
Reuters has reported that the U.S. is drafting a plan to move camp residents to a new location in Iraq, and then resettle them in other countries.
"We recognize that this is a humanitarian tragedy that is occurring and has great potential to be a humanitarian issue into the future," an official said on condition of anonymity.
Struan Stevenson, president of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq, believes that residents should not be moved from the camp they have inhabited for 20 years. "Forcible transfer of these 3400 unarmed refugees would be illegal and in violation of international standards and provisions of International Humanitarian Law," he said in a May 6 statement.
(Mojahedin Khalq) refuses to let families bury the dead
... Mojahedin-e Khalq loyalists are also refusing to bury the dead unless the land where their cemetery is located is given back and that the Iraqis leave this land without conducting any further investigations. The Iraqis are apparently already investigating some unmarked graves and have discovered some hidden caches of arms and ammunitions in that part of the camp which they reclaimed from the group. Iraqi officials responding to appeals by the families of the dead for humanitarian consideration have accepted that the bodies can be buried in the original MEK cemetery, but have again said that the land will not be given back as ...
One month after the coordinated attack by Mojahedin-e Khalq loyalists on the Iraqi security forces in charge of the security of Camp New Iraq (formerly Ashraf), the bodies of the individuals who were killed (some, according to Iraqi officials, while trying to run away from the garrison and some forced to rush towards the Iraqi posts throwing petrol bombs and pre-fabricated missiles) are still lying inside the notorious camp and the leaders of the terrorist cult with the direct support of American agencies in Iraq refuse to give officials access to them. Mojahedin-e Khalq leaders also refuse to bury the dead inside the camp and insist in keeping the bodies without their families or any other agency having any access to the bodies.
The Iraqi government acted in April to enforce a ruling by the court of Baghdad such that land unlawfully confiscated by Saddam Hussein’s regime and given to Massoud Rajavi for his military headquarters, must be returned to the original landowners who live in the village next to the camp.
The Mojahedin-e Khalq’s pre-meditated attack on the Iraqi forces was a show of power and was intended to demonstrate the ability of the leader of this Washington backed group to instigate mass murder and massacre of the captive hostages inside the camp. The notorious cult has repeatedly used this tactic in the past; the latest example took place in several European capitals in 2003 when MEK loyalists (some drugged) indulged in self-immolations in which two died and others were left with permanent disabilities and disfigurement.
The Mojahedin-e Khalq leader recently pronounced through his interlocutors that the MEK will only bury the dead if the Iraqi government abandons its investigation and if they give the land recently reclaimed back to the Washington backed terror group; a demand the Iraqi government finds impossible to consider as it is against the law of the land.
Mojahedin-e Khalq loyalists are also refusing to bury the dead unless the land where their cemetery is located is given back and that the Iraqis leave this land without conducting any further investigations. The Iraqis are apparently already investigating some unmarked graves and have discovered some hidden caches of arms and ammunitions in that part of the camp which they reclaimed from the group.
Iraqi officials responding to appeals by the families of the dead for humanitarian consideration have accepted that the bodies can be buried in the original MEK cemetery, but have again said that the land will not be given back as it is subject to a court ruling which the government cannot reverse.
In turn the MEK did not accept this concession because the Iraqi government had stipulated that fewer than 200 MEK members attend the burials. This is because both the government and the MEK and the American backers of terrorism in Iraq (and others) know that the MEK is only using this (having large numbers attend the funerals) as an excuse to occupy the land and then refuse to leave. Thus, creating yet another situation whereby they can shed more blood and divert attention from the real problem which is that they have been holding thousands of people hostage and do not let them have any contact with the outside world.
At the same time, the Americans claim they buried the body of Bin Laden at sea (with some so-called Islamic ceremonies) because “Islam dictated that the dead should be buried ASAP”! It is ironic that their beloved terrorist cult in Iraq is encouraged to keep the bodies of the victims and not allow their families to bury them.
Many families of the victims have already complained officially to the Iraqi Judiciary demanding the bodies of their loved ones be returned to them. Many more are now getting together to insist on a full investigation into the Mojahedin-e Khalq’s plots and the deaths of their loved ones. They want to see that the bodies are forcefully taken out of the hands of the American backed terrorists and ensure that they are buried after post mortem examinations establish the cause of their deaths.
... Fourth Geneva Convention Protected Persons’ status was wrongfully applied in 2004 by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He gave ‘Pentagon protection’ to his terrorists in Iraq while the UN and ICRC expressed their concern over the issue and argued (fruitlessly) that the MEK is a paramilitary group, not a civilian population and this designation had no legal basis. But in any case the status would not apply after 2006, a year after the first elections in Iraq – a fact repeatedly corroborated by British, European and American officials. A document produced by the Library of the UK’s House ...
There are a number of basic facts which even the sophisticated and well-financed MEK propaganda machine cannot make untrue. It is worth repeating them.
The number of MEK members has never risen beyond 6,000 to 7,000. Even in 1988 at the height of their powers the group could only muster 5500 to launch its abortive operation to topple the regime, the infamous Eternal Light operation. American soldiers corralled 3800 members inside Camp Ashraf in 2003. In the rest of the world figures probably do not exceed an additional one to two thousand including the MEK’s non Iranian supporters and backers.
Fourth Geneva Convention Protected Persons’ status was wrongfully applied in 2004 by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He gave ‘Pentagon protection’ to his terrorists in Iraq while the UN and ICRC expressed their concern over the issue and argued (fruitlessly) that the MEK is a paramilitary group, not a civilian population and this designation had no legal basis. But in any case the status would not apply after 2006, a year after the first elections in Iraq – a fact repeatedly corroborated by British, European and American officials. A document produced by the Library of the UK’s House of Commons states: “In the case of occupied territory, the Convention continues to apply for a year after the general close of military operations, and partially thereafter if the occupying power continues to exercise the functions of government. The occupation of Iraq formally ended on 30 June 2004.”
The MEK members in Camp Ashraf do not have any legal right to be in Iraq. No MEK member has refugee status in Iraq. Leader Massoud Rajavi ensured they all entered the country illegally in order to be able to use this against them if they defected (he sent scores to Abu Ghraib in this way). After 2003, the UNHCR in Iraq would not grant refugee status to MEK members because it is a paramilitary group and the GOI has refused to grant refugee status to members of what is known throughout Iraq as a terrorist organisation which has killed some 25,000 Iraqi civilians. In Written Answers in the House of Lords on 20 April 2009, Lord Malloch-Brown (then Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office) told parliament, “The UN High Commission for Refugees has previously determined that Camp Ashraf residents do not qualify as refugees.”
The Government of Iraq has every reason, regardless of Iranian or American influence either way, to wish to expel the MEK from the country. The MEK was responsible for killing 25,000 Iraqi civilians. It is currently the only part of Saddam Hussein’s repressive apparatus which remains intact and active. This is due to the failure of the American military to dismantle the camp and remove the inhabitants. (RAND Report, August 2009) Iraq’s Foreign Minister Zebari a few weeks ago again accused the MEK of trying to maintain a state within a state and said that "the Mojahedin-e Khalq terrorist organization is like many other armed terrorist organizations," adding that "the government is determined to impose its sovereignty and not allow any party to impose its policy orientations."
The Iraqi Judiciary would like to prosecute leading members of the MEK for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against Iraqis in Iraq. They have been frustrated by the interference of the MEK’s backers in Washington, London and Brussels.
Iraqi soldiers are stationed at Camp Ashraf to provide protection, a role imposed on them by the Americans who failed to deal with the MEK for six years. In the six years that American soldiers protected the terrorist group and its base, fourteen American soldiers were killed during escort missions for MEK shopping in Baghdad. (RAND Report August 2009.)
There is plenty of evidence that the MEK commit serious human rights abuses against their own members inside Camp Ashraf, but to date no independent investigation has taken place into these allegations.
The Iranians outside Camp Ashraf are the families of members trapped inside. The MEK do not allow the members to have contact with them. The families have been recently attacked by MEK special forces from inside the camp which resulted in the hospitalisation of a couple of old people. The American soldiers have repeatedly come to support the MEK in the harassment of the families who have now entered their 13th month of their picket, demanding a simple visit to make sure their loved ones are there of their own free will. So far, no one has established that the people inside Camp Ashraf are there of their own free will.
Ex-Officials Say They Were Paid To Attend Pro- Mojahedin Khalq (MEK, MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult) Events
... Hamilton, who once chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee and was a co-chair of the 9/11 Commission, told reporter Barbara Slavin he was paid "a substantial amount" to appear at a panel in Washington D.C. in February. Zinni, who spoke at a similar event in January, said he had been paid his "standard fee," without detailing what that is. According to Slavin, both men said they were unaware of the cultish elements attributed to the MEK. The State Department's 2008 Country Reports on Terrorism, for example, reported the following:In addition to its terrorist credentials, the MEK has also displayed cult-like characteristics. Upon entry into the group, new members are indoctrinated in MEK ideology and ...
Former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-IN) and retired Gen. Anthony Zinni
Former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton (D) and former CENTCOM Commander Anthony Zinni told the Inter Press Service that they were paid to appear at recent events supporting the MEK, an Iranian opposition group currently considered a terrorist organization by the State Department.
Hamilton and Zinni are among the many big time former government officials and military leaders who have appeared at recent pro-MEK events sponsored by a group called Executive Action, LLC. (The events true organizers remain unclear, Executive Action's CEO Neil Livingstone would only tell TPM they included Iranian American groups.) Speakers at the events have portrayed the MEK as critical to any chance of regime change in Iran.
Hamilton, who once chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee and was a co-chair of the 9/11 Commission, told reporter Barbara Slavin he was paid "a substantial amount" to appear at a panel in Washington D.C. in February. Zinni, who spoke at a similar event in January, said he had been paid his "standard fee," without detailing what that is.
According to Slavin, both men said they were unaware of the cultish elements attributed to the MEK. The State Department's 2008 Country Reports on Terrorism, for example, reported the following:
In addition to its terrorist credentials, the MEK has also displayed cult-like characteristics.
Upon entry into the group, new members are indoctrinated in MEK ideology and revisionist Iranian history. Members are also required to undertake a vow of "eternal divorce" and participate in weekly "ideological cleansings." Additionally, children are reportedly separated from parents at a young age. MEK leader Maryam Rajavi has established a "cult of personality." She claims to emulate the Prophet Muhammad and is viewed by members as the "Iranian President in exile."
"They presented me with a platform that was thoroughly democratic," Hamilton told Slavin. "Were they misleading me? You always can be misled."
Zinni was firmer:
"De-listing ought to be done much the way we handled the PLO and the IRA," Zinni said in an interview.
Zinni, who famously inveighed against the U.S. invasion of Iraq and was a fierce opponent of Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi, seemed to have no similar compunctions about Iranian exiles.
"The Iranian community outside Iran has much more influence inside than the Chalabis of the world that we ended up supporting in Iraq," he said.
Over the years, the Iranian government has arrested and executed thousands of MEK members. Still, experts say that the group actually has very little support in Iran, where people remember how it fought for Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war. Iranian studies scholar Ahmad Sadri told TPM in February that U.S. support for the MEK would anger ordinary Iranians.
Although it was put on the U.S. terror list in 1997, the MEK has a history of support in Congress. While it originally blended elements of Islam and Marxism, the group and its supporters say it has renounced violence and now advocates for a secular and democratic Iran. After the fall of Hussein, who armed and funded the group for many years, about 3,400 MEK members were consolidated at Camp Ashraf, north of Baghdad. MEK backers also insist that U.S. forces should be permanently stationed at Ashraf, for protection. (Camp residents have been subject to attacks they blame on the Iraqi and Iranian governments.)
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where several lawmakers urged her to delist the MEK. Clinton said that the State Department is reviewing the MEK's designation in accordance with a Washington D.C. District Court of Appeal's recent ruling, after a suit brought by the MEK.
"You know it's proceeding," Clinton said. "These are very important considerations and reviews and you know as soon as we can we will make such a decision."
TPM reached out to both Zinni and Hamilton for comment.
Wondering at those Americans who stand under the flag of Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, NCRI, Rajavi cult) only to LOBBY for the murderers of their servicemen
... Massoud Rajavi was on the stage and while he had his hands on his waist he began a war cry against the USA, and in his admiration for Osama Ben Laden and his organization, Al Qaeda, he said, ”This was fanatical Islam which trembled and shacked the basis of US Imperialism and they destroyed the twin towers which were the symbol of their power, and successfully reduced it to rubble through their successful mission”. Then he (Massoud Rajavi) with a smile on his face continued his war cry and said, ”What will happen to the USA if revolutionary Islam with our Ideology and Maryam’s leadership comes to power, then this paper tiger (the USA) will be destroyed as a whole.” ...
This documentary takes us beneath the surface of acts of terror against Iran and shows how Iranians have been targeted by various terrorist groups, some of which enjoying the support of human right organizations.