Poe’s Financial Ties To MEK May Explain Maryam’s House Testimony

Poe’s Financial Ties To MEK May Explain Maryam’s House Testimony

Eli Clifton, Lobelog, April 30 2015:…The group, which went into exile after losing a violent power struggle in the early years of the Islamic Republic, aligned itself with Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war and, despite claims to being Iran’s viable democratic government in exile, is widely believed to have little …


Link to the full description of Mojahedin (MEK, MKO) Logo (pdf file)

Dear Ted Poe please ask Maryam Rajavi to open the gates of Camp Liberty and release our loved ones

Link to the source

Poe’s Financial Ties To MEK May Explain Maryam’s House Testimony

Wednesday’s scheduled congressional hearing on “ISIS: Defining the Enemy” is rapidly shrinking in size. Two key witnesses are refusing to attend due to the invitation to testify that Ted Poe (R-TX), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, extended to Maryam Rajavi, leader of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK).

Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford and former State Department counterterrorism director Daniel Benjamin have both said that they won’t appear for the hearing after learning that Rajavi would also be a witness on the same panel. She is scheduled to participate via videoconference from Paris, the headquarters the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a MEK front.

MEK, which the State Department removed from terrorism list in 2012 following a lengthy and expensive lobbying campaign, is believed to have been responsible for the killing of six Americans in Iran between 1973 and 1976.

The group, which went into exile after losing a violent power struggle in the early years of the Islamic Republic, aligned itself with Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war and, despite claims to being Iran’s viable democratic government in exile, is widely believed to have little or no grassroots support in Iran. The group has long faced criticism from Iran specialists and rights groups such as Human Rights Watch that it has devolved into a cult based on devotion to Maryam and her long-missing husband, Massoud Rajavi. According to numerous accounts, the group exerts a high degree of control over its followers, going so far as to mandate divorces and celibacy for their soldiers.

But, as Ali Gharib and I documented in February, MEK’s influence in Washington, particularly with Iran hawks, has coincided with a flow of money from the group to American politicians, in particular, to embattled Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) who is currently under indictment on unrelated federal corruption charges.

So why did Poe and the Republican majority on the terrorism subcommittee decide to invite Rajavi (a copy of whose testimony was obtained by Ali who previewed it Tuesday on The Nation’s website) Campaign finances may offer at least part of the answer.

Poe received $17,900 in campaign contributions from supporters of the MEK between 2009 and 2014, according to an analysis I conducted of campaign finance data. Surprisingly, nearly half—or $8,600—of the total flowed into his campaign while the group was still on the State Department’s terrorism list between 2009 and its delisting in 2012.

In 2013 and 2014, the group also paid for $19,671 in travel expenses (including business-class plane fare) for Poe’s travel to MEK events in France.

In contrast, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), returned a $2,600 campaign contribution from a MEK supporter in Virginia in 2013. “During routine due diligence by campaign staff, it was discovered that a few donors had associations the campaign was uncomfortable with,” a spokesman for Graham’s campaign told Politico. “In an abundance of caution, the contributions were refunded.”

Poe seems less concerned about the association. His insistence on inviting Rajavi adds to the irony of his chairmanship of the terrorism subcommittee (shades of Sen. James Inhofe’s chairmanship of the Senate Environment Committee).

With Ford and Benjamin out, Rajavi will be joined on Wednesday by only one other witness: Walid Phares, a pro-Israel Lebanese-American Maronite Christian with a long association with hard-line neo-conservatives and a terrorism “expert” for Fox News. During Lebanon’s civil war that raged from 1975 through the 1980’s, Phares served as an ideologue for the Lebanese Forces, an umbrella group of various Christian militias. Some of these militias carried out the Sabra and Shatila massacres in September, 1982, in which at many as 3,000 Palestinians—mostly women, children and the elderly—were killed following Israel’s conquest of Beirut. Among other positions, he served as co-chairman of the Middle East working group of Mitt Romney’s foreign policy advisory team.

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Congress cannot rely on Rajavi’s testimony – Camp Liberty residents must be taken to safety now

 Maryam Rajavi Saddam's private army NCRIAnne Khodabandeh and Massoud Khodabandeh, Iran Interlink, April 25 2015:… Whatever threats are faced by the residents of Camp Liberty, one thing is certain. The reason they cannot leave is because the MEK leaders refuse to allow them to leave. Members of Congress should robustly question Maryam Rajavi …

Maryam Rajavi Saddam's private army NCRICouncil of Foreign Relations, 2014: Mujahadeen-e-Khalq (MEK). Backgrounders

Congress cannot rely on Rajavi’s testimony – Camp Liberty residents must be taken to safety now

Anne Khodabandeh and Massoud Khodabandeh

Al-Monitor’s Congressional Correspondent Julian Pecquet writes that the “leader” of the controversial Mojahedin Khalq is going to testify before Congress next week. The subject of the House Foreign Affairs terrorism panel is “ISIS: Defining the Enemy”.

A careful reading of this informative article reveals just how wrong it is for anyone in the American political establishment to be associated with the Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) – masquerading here as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) – in any way and for any reason.

Firstly, for the record, the MEK is still led by fugitive leader Massoud Rajavi who is the cultic mastermind behind the group. Maryam Rajavi, his wife, is not particularly clever or politically minded and has acted essentially as her husband’s public mouthpiece in the west since she arrived back in France in 1993. She will now testify to Congress by videoconference rather than in person. After trying for two decades to obtain a visa to visit the USA and/or the UK, wise people in those countries still refuse her entry, for good reason.

The fundamental contradiction the article exposes is the assumption of the House Foreign Affairs terrorism panel that “Maryam Rajavi will discuss the threat the Islamic State poses to members of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) at Camp Liberty.” She won’t. She can’t. Because the MEK are friends of the Islamic State (IS), they support the Islamic State. Maryam Rajavi has spoken in Farsi in favour of the Islamic State. The Islamic State do not pose any danger to the MEK in Camp Liberty. In fact, before the Iraqi army and militias drove IS back from its encroachment, it was clear to all those who know the MEK that the leaders were hoping that when IS reached Baghdad, the MEK would be liberated from Camp Liberty and join the terrorist forces.

Instead of condemning the Islamic State, Maryam Rajavi will speak about how the Iranian government wants to kill the people in Camp Liberty and is plotting every day to find ways to massacre them all. This is an old script. It has been the MEK script for thirty years. Does Ted Poe think the MEK has suddenly flipped sides and will line up with Iran against the Islamic State?

Whatever threats are faced by the residents of Camp Liberty, one thing is certain. The reason they cannot leave is because the MEK leaders refuse to allow them to leave. Members of Congress should robustly question Maryam Rajavi about that. They need to ask why the UN is unable to progress its work with these vulnerable people. Why, if they are in such direct danger, she doesn’t allow the Iraqi authorities to remove them to separate accommodation. The Iraqis have offered to place the MEK in various secure hotels and apartments in order to make life safer and more comfortable for them. The MEK have refused. Congress needs to ask Maryam Rajavi why the residents of Camp Liberty are not able to make contact with their relatives. Hundreds of families have travelled to Iraq since 2003 attempting to make contact with their loved ones. The MEK have accused them all of being ‘agents of the Iranian regime sent to kill them’. Is this plausible? Most of the family members are old people; the parents and siblings and in some cases the children of people trapped in Camp Liberty. Are they really desirous of massacring their loved ones?

If this is not enough to convince members of Congress that this is a group which lies and deceives, and only follows its own agenda, then there is plenty more evidence to help convince them. It is easy to debunk the myths.

Certainly the MEK has never made a public statement in English or in Farsi that it has renounced violence. If anyone knows of such a public statement, they should urgently produce it. Indeed, Maryam Rajavi’s speeches all revolve around the need for ‘regime change’. Nobody in the American political establishment is naïve enough to believe that this would not involve a violent intervention. Nor can they interpret Rajavi’s speech as other than an advertisement for her own group to undertake that violent intervention.

Sadly, for Rajavi and her supporters, happily for the rest of us, the MEK is incapable of undertaking any such task. Massoud Rajavi is, however, and this is where the danger lies, not only capable of training and advising groups like Al Qaida and IS on manipulating their own forces in terrorism, but is expert in how to spin this through deceptive media and internet campaigns to manipulate and eventually win grudging western support. He is an expert cult manipulator.

The Rajavis’ agenda may coincide today with efforts by some in America and Israel to derail the nuclear negotiations, but investigative journalist Gareth Porter has already revealed that most of what the MEK said against Iran was simply fabricated. Knowing that the Rajavis will obey no other needs except their own for their own survival, this must surely signal that any reliance on Rajavi’s evidence is profoundly misguided.

Let’s hope that Congress does its job and asks searching questions rather than acting as cheerleaders for a deeply unpopular and totally unrepresentative terrorist cult.

UNAMI: continued concerns about abuses committed by the PMOI/MeK leadership

Anne Khodabandeh London Sep 2014Open Letter to Nancy Pelosi: Don’t allow the MEK to hijack your name

Massoud Khodabandeh: America Must Make Its Underlying Intentions Toward Iran Clear


(Rajavi from Saddam to AIPAC)

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Also read:
http://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/?p=5812

The Iranian Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and Its Media Strategy: Methods of Information Manufacture

Iran Interlink, February 04 2015:… A review authored by Massoud and Anne Khodabandeh has been published in Asian Politics and Policy, Media Reviews. The article titled ‘The Iranian Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and Its Media Strategy: Methods of Information Manufacture’ looks at the MEK’s historical manipulation of various media over thirty years …

رجوی داعش 5ISIS supporter Maryam Rajavi attacks Obama

Asian Politics and Policy
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com

The Iranian Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and Its Media Strategy: Methods of Information Manufacture

A review authored by Massoud khodabandeh and Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton) from Middle East Strategy Consultants has been published in Asian Politics and Policy, Media Reviews. (Volume 7, Issue 1, January 2015)

The article titled ‘The Iranian Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and Its Media Strategy: Methods of Information Manufacture’ looks at the MEK’s historical manipulation of various media over thirty years. Other terrorist entities such as Al Qaida and ISIS have only recently shown themselves media savvy and have been able to create artificial reputations through exploiting both media and internet communications. In this review the authors demonstrate that the MEK has long pursued this propaganda strategy.

“… this overview seeks to demonstrate how and why, through a sophisticated and persistent media campaign, the MEK has created a place for itself on the Iranian political scene totally disproportionate to its capabilities and support base; and how from this aggrandized position the MEK has exerted a negative influence over Western opinion and policymaking toward the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) and Iraq, which began long before and reaches far wider than its role in Tehran’s nuclear dossier. Also, this review seeks to indicate that while this propaganda campaign has been highly successful for the MEK, it has been deliberately detrimental to the growth of a civil opposition movement in Iran as well as significantly affecting Western foreign policy toward the IRI in adverse ways.

“The MEK stands out as perhaps a unique example of a belligerent entity that exploits to the maximum a range of propaganda methods and outlets in the West to project itself in the international community as a constructive, almost benign, force. Far from avoiding publicity, the MEK has done everything in its power to maximize what can be described as its virtual presence. In addition to its native Farsi, the group disseminates information about and projects an image of itself in English, French, German and Arabic, in print, in broadcast and on Internet media. But insofar as it has no popular support among indigenous or diaspora Iranians, its image as a popular resistance movement has been largely invented.”

Read the full article at:

Khodabandeh, M. (2015), The Iranian Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and Its Media Strategy: Methods of Information Manufacture. Asian Politics & Policy, 7: 173–177. doi: 10.1111/aspp.12164

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/aspp.12164/full

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(Massoud Khodabandeh 4th report, Baghdad October 2014)

Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton), University of Baghdad: MEK’s Western backers are complicit in their deaths

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Also read:
http://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/?p=5646

MEPs support for MEK terrorists undermines human rights pressure on Iran

 (letter to Federica Mogherini)

Massoud Khodabandeh, Middle East Strategy Consultants, London, December 09 2014:… By publishing an article directed by the MEK, a group of MEPs has played directly into the hands of Iran’s hardliners. The MEPs Gérard DEPREZ, Tunne KELAM, Ryszard CZARNECKI EP Vice-President, Eduard KUKAN, José BOVÉ, Julie WARD, and Rina Ronja KARI are …

http://mesconsult.com

MEPs support for MEK terrorists undermines human rights pressure on Iran

Open Letter to Federica Mogherini, the new EU foreign policy chief

As you are aware the Iranian Mojahedin Khalq terrorist group works through the “Friends of a Free Iran” in the European Parliament. This parliament is to give a platform today (December 10) to the second-in-command of this group Maryam Rajavi (a private room has been hired in the buildings by one of the MEK’s lobbyists purely for lobbying purposes). Not only that, a group of MEPs has boldly written to you demanding you change your policy to suit this woman. What possibly can be their motive? As a European citizen and an expert in the field of cults and terrorism, I cannot agree that you ignore such a presence in the parliament. It cannot be in the best interests of the European Parliament as a home to democracy to give a platform to for what is an undemocratic stance toward the people of Iran.

By publishing an article directed by the MEK, a group of MEPs has played directly into the hands of Iran’s hardliners. The MEPs Gérard DEPREZ (ALDE – Belgium), Tunne KELAM (EPP – Estonia), Ryszard CZARNECKI EP Vice-President (ECR – Poland), Eduard KUKAN (EPP – Slovakia), José BOVÉ (Greens – France) Julie WARD (S&D – UK) and Rina Ronja KARI (GUE/NGL – Denmark) are members of the MEK’s ‘Friends of a Free Iran’ in the European Parliament.

The article starts with the claim that Ban Ki Moon said people should hold their governments to account. He did not say that the EP should interfere in the internal affairs of another country. Certainly these MEPs have no mandate to hold another country’s government to account in this way. It is not their elected government, but that of a sovereign nation with its own electorate. It is certain Ban Ki Moon was referring to this electorate when he made this statement.

However, let us allow that Iran’s human rights record, like that of every other country of the world, should come under proper scrutiny. The proper bodies to conduct such research are those quoted by these MEPs – the UN – in particular the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran – Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International. The reports of these bodies are public knowledge and widely available.

(Interestingly, in addition to all these human rights bodies, there is hardly a group or organisation or government, and not a single Iranian opposition group inside or outside Iran which has not condemned the Mojahedin Khalq for its human rights abuses time and time again.)

Now, if the MEPs do indeed see fit to challenge Iran over this issue on International Human Rights Day, is it not proper to do so directly, through dialogue, communication and diplomacy, rather than a futile rant. A rant which, in addition, quotes the second-in-command of the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist group, Maryam Rajavi. This group of MEPs has been persuaded – somehow – to have her words put into their mouths as though they cannot make their own statements or figure out their own political arguments. (The MEK shoehorned one of their favourite words, ‘embolden’, into the piece but didn’t manage to get another favourite, ‘appeasement’ in.)

As a result they stupidly allow themselves to say such things as “Tehran has also been the center [sic] for the expansion of terrorism and fundamentalism throughout the region, endangering world peace and security.” The article cannot and does not present any evidence for this opinion. Indeed, most sensible people anywhere would point first to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States as the source of increased terrorism and fundamentalism in the region. But then, the MEK are known advocates of ISIS and other terrorist groups.

Relying on this argument, these MEPs are demanding less dialogue with Iran, not more. Again, back to the ‘let’s bomb Iran or at least disrupt dialogue’ narrative.

Such nonsense has delighted Iran. The semi-official Fars News Agency has immediately translated the article for distribution among Farsi speakers in Iran and worldwide. What better argument could the hardliners have that the issue of human rights is being politicised than to have the leader of a notorious terrorist group put their words into your mouth.

These MEPs really need to get to grips with the fact they are being manipulated into pursuing an agenda not of their own making, which ultimately serves to worsen human rights in Iran and to help crush any indigenous opposition movements and activities. Any Iranian not associated with the MEK terrorist group – on any side of the argument – will tell them this.

Khodabandeh co-authored the book ‘The Life of Camp Ashraf – Victims of Many Masters’

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Also read:
http://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/?p=5755

Rajavi’s lobbyists demand Mojahedin Khalq terrorist cult in Iraq be re-armed rather than removed

Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton), Iran Interlink, January 14 2015:…  Whether delusional or corrupt, this gang – listed below and now posing as the International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ) – says the residents of Camp Liberty should have their “personal protection weapons returned to them for self-defence following serious threats and attacks [sic] as the …

Anne Khodabandeh London Sep 2014    Expert in cultic abuse and terrorism in the MEK speaks in London charity meeting

http://iran-interlink.org

Rajavi’s lobbyists demand Mojahedin Khalq terrorist cult in Iraq be re-armed rather than removed

It is surely ironic that the same bunch of people who lobbied hard and at great expense to have the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist cult removed from European and American terrorist lists (the flimsy claim they had renounced terrorism was only possible because in 2003 the US army captured, disarmed and confined them to a single camp in Iraq), is now lobbying to have them re-armed.

Whether delusional or corrupt, this gang – listed below and now posing as the International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ) – says the residents of Camp Liberty should have their “personal protection weapons returned to them for self-defence following serious threats and attacks [sic] as the Iranian regime’s intervention in Iraq grows”. But has neglected to inform their English speaking audience that the MEK leader, Massoud Rajavi, has demanded the MEK be re-armed with heavy weapons as well as small arms.

In any case, anyone who knows anything about the situation of Camp Liberty knows that the residents are deliberately imprisoned incommunicado inside the camp by the MEK leaders, that the greatest danger these residents face is from these MEK leaders, and that small arms are wanted in order to impose greater control over these captives as they become more and more desperate to escape the tyranny of the cult.

The ISJ statement should certainly not be read without context: Since attaining sovereignty in 2009, each successive government of Iraq has designated the MEK as a terrorist entity which must, under the Constitution, be entirely removed from Iraqi territory. The demand for re-arming rather than removing this group is doubly insulting for a country still swarming with Western spawned terrorist groups.

Perhaps the most ironic ‘complaint’ of the Committee is that the government of Iraq is not investigating the September 1, 2013 attack on Camp Ashraf in which fifty three people died. How is this possible when forty two key eye witnesses – survivors of the attack – have been incarcerated by the MEK inside Camp Liberty so that no investigator in the world has access to them?

Instead of demanding the MEK be re-armed ready to utilize violence again – the raison d’etre of the terrorist cult – this gang should be demanding from Massoud and Maryam Rajavi that each resident of Camp Liberty be given the opportunity to make contact with their families in privacy and to freely leave the camp if they desire. Then we would see how quickly and efficiently these people can be resettled.

List of members of the ISJ according to the MEK:

Alejo Vidal-Quadras, former MEP; Patrick Kennedy, former Congressman; Günter Verheugen, former member of the EU Commission; Nicole Fontaine, former MEP; General Hugh Shelton former US military; David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State; Ingrid Betancourt; Raymond Tanter; Horst Teltschik; Colonel Wesley Martin, former US military; Senator Lucio Malan, Italian Senate; Alessandro Pagano MP; Antonio Razzi, Italian Senate; Gérard Deprez MEP; Ryszard Czarnecki, MEP; Tunne Kelam MEP; Lord Carlile, UK; Lord Clarke, UK; Lord Maginnis, UK; Lord Dholakia, UK

About Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton):
Middle East Strategy Consultants,
http://www.mesconsult.com

Autor of “Saddam’s Private Army” and “The life of Camp Ashraf”
http://www.camp-ashraf.com

MEK leader Massoud Rajavi refuses to allow Camp Liberty residents to seek refuge in Albania