A Deranged Cult and Our Warped Foreign Policy

A Deranged Cult and Our Warped Foreign Policy

A Deranged Cult and Our Warped Foreign PolicyDaniel Larison, AntiWar, July 15 2021:… This show of support for the MEK reflects the extent to which our foreign policy debates are distorted and corrupted by the lobbying efforts of foreign groups and governments alike. No one knows for sure where the MEK gets its money, but there is reason to believe that it may be coming from the Saudi government and/or Saudi individuals. In recent years, prominent Saudis have begun participating in MEK events, and that coincided with the kingdom’s intensifying hostility towards Iran in the last decade. A Deranged Cult and Our Warped Foreign Policy 

A Deranged Cult and Our Warped Foreign PolicyThe Mojahedin e-Khalq Aren’t America’s Friends. Even Iranians who hate the regime don’t want MEK

A Deranged Cult and Our Warped Foreign Policy

by Daniel Larison Posted onJuly 14, 2021

Every year the notorious cult and “former” terrorist group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) holds a political conference to promote its propaganda and call for regime change in Iran, and every year many current and former American, Canadian, and European officials and elected representatives line up to pay homage to the group and their leader, Maryam Rajavi. Members of both major parties in the U.S. have either traveled to the group’s compound in Albania or spoken remotely through video messages in exchange for hefty speaking fees for the last ten years. The annual parade of prominent officeholders and policymakers that offer up effusive praise to such a wretched group is an ongoing disgrace for the United States and its allies, and it is a symptom of deeper problems with our foreign policy.

This show of support for the MEK reflects the extent to which our foreign policy debates are distorted and corrupted by the lobbying efforts of foreign groups and governments alike. No one knows for sure where the MEK gets its money, but there is reason to believe that it may be coming from the Saudi government and/or Saudi individuals. In recent years, prominent Saudis have begun participating in MEK events, and that coincided with the kingdom’s intensifying hostility towards Iran in the last decade. Our Iran policy debate is being influenced to an alarming degree by an extremist cult and an increasingly repressive authoritarian client state, and none of that can be good for American interests or democratic accountability in our foreign policy.

US Supporting MEK Terrorists In Albania

American support for the MEK reminds us that bipartisanship in foreign policy usually means rallying behind exceptionally bad causes. This year’s conference was described in one report as a “rare moment of bipartisan unity,” as if this somehow made cheering on a deranged cult better. The pro-MEK boosterism also shows that there are far too many people in and around our government that will make common cause with absolutely anyone if they are in favor of regime change in Iran. That in turn is a measure of just how irrational our government’s fixation on Iran is.

The MEK was originally an armed group opposed to the Iranian monarchy before the revolution, and during that period it was also responsible for killing several Americans. The MEK supported taking and keeping US diplomats hostage. After the group fell out with Khomeini and were brutally purged, the group relocated to Iraq where they joined with Saddam Hussein to attack their own country. Their participation in Iraq’s attack on Iran has earned them the enduring loathing of almost all Iranians everywhere, and for that reason and others they have virtually no support in Iran or in the diaspora. While the MEK was officially removed from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2012 after an extensive lobbying campaign, it remains a totalitarian, cultish organization that abuses its own members. There is good reason to believe that members of the group still act as cat’s paws for Israeli intelligence in carrying out assassinations and acts of sabotage inside Iran. As part of the group’s effort to remake its image, it uses a political front organization, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), to create the impression that the MEK has changed and committed itself to democracy.

The MEK has not changed. They remain at their core the same militant and extremist organization they have been for decades. Cheering on the MEK is as crazy and irresponsible as endorsing the Lord’s Resistance Army or defending the Khmer Rouge, and it is not an accident that the group has sometimes been likened to the latter. Unfortunately, because they hate the Iranian government and make the right noises about democracy, they are given a free pass and Iran hawks embrace them as allies. In the past, participants in MEK summits have ranged from Newt GingrichJohn Bolton, and Rudy Giuliani to Joe Lieberman, Tom Ridge, and John McCain. This year it included former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy, the current Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez, his fellow New Jerseyan Sen. Cory Booker, and many other members of Congress. The speakers routinely declare that the MEK and its allies are the “real” opposition working towards “secular democracy,” they denounce the Iranian government, and they call for some form of regime change.

Flournoy’s participation in the conference this year proved to be especially controversial since she is a major figure in Democratic national security circles and had frequently been mentioned as a possible Biden nominee for Secretary of Defense earlier in the year. In her remarks, she expressed hope for “internal regime change” in Iran, and congratulated the assembled audience for their work: “we must continue to applaud and support the important work of Diaspora groups like yours that keep alive the vision of a secular, free, and democratic Iran.”

Michele Flournoy Albania Terrorists and Americans Reaction

Faced with a swift backlash online, Flournoy now claims that she didn’t know that she was speaking at an MEK event and wouldn’t have participated had she known, but it strains credulity that she was unaware of the nature of the event and its sponsor. A simple web search would have shown the relationship between the NCRI and the MEK, as well as the violent and disturbing history of the cult. Frankly, it is impossible to believe that she didn’t know who she was addressing.

The language that Flournoy used in her speech sounds too much like the standard pro-MEK talking points that other speakers have used for the last decade, and the MEK’s lobbying efforts are too well-known and have been going on too long for her to plead ignorance. It is notable that Flournoy felt the need to concoct a cover story to excuse her participation, since most pro-MEK shills take pride in what they do, but her excuse isn’t credible. Even if her explanation were true, it doesn’t excuse the horrible lack of judgment that she displayed here. If she didn’t understand that she was addressing an MEK event, she shouldn’t be offering advice on Iran policy or holding forth on the political future of Iran.

The MEK is a dangerous and disreputable group. They ought to be so politically radioactive that no one would want to be associated with them, but that has not happened because Iran hawks from both parties and in many other Western countries find the MEK useful to their agenda. Supporting the MEK allows them to mislead ignorant audiences into falsely believing that their hard-line policies enjoy support from the Iranian Diaspora No one who knows anything about Iran thinks that the MEK deserves support or has any support back in Iran, so whenever someone celebrates the group that is all the proof you need that nothing else that person says about Iran and Iran policy should be taken seriously.

Iran hawks and the MEK are both obsessed with regime change in Iran. Since they cannot achieve it from within Iran, it is just a matter of time before the cult’s yes-men in Washington push for military action aimed at toppling the government. Just as they sided with Saddam Hussein to attack their own country over forty years ago, the MEK wants to rope the US into fighting another war against Iran. If we want to prevent that war from happening in the future, the MEK’s cheerleaders need to be exposed to ridicule and criticism over their willingness to support a group that has both American and Iranian blood on its hands.

Daniel Larison is a contributing editor and weekly columnist for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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Western Hypocrisy . Thirst For Money & Anti-Iran Obsession

A Deranged Cult and Our Warped Foreign Policy

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Also read:
https://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/michele-flournoy-albania-terrorists-maryam-rajavi-mek/

Michele Flournoy Albania Terrorists and Americans Reaction

Michele Flournoy Albania Terrorists Maryam Rajavi CultEli Clifton and Matthew Petti, Responsible Statescraft, and Press TV, July 13 2021:.. Former defense official Michèle Flournoy called for regime change in Iran at a conference on Saturday sponsored by the Mojahedin-e Khalq — an Iranian militant group once listed as a terrorist organization. A spokesperson for Flournoy’s consultancy, WestExec Advisors, which she co-founded with President Joe Biden’s now-Secretary of State Antony Blinken, attempted to walk back her appearance, telling both The Daily Beast and Responsible Statecraft … Michele Flournoy Albania Terrorists and Americans Reaction 

American servicemen killed by Mojahedin Khalq MEK MKO Rajavi Cult in IranThe MEK’s dirty past includes the anti-Imperialist inspired murder of six Americans in pre-revolution Iran which it later celebrated in songs and publications

Michele Flournoy Albania Terrorists and Americans Reaction

A Deranged Cult Mujahedin Khalq In Albania

Michele Flournoy Albania Terrorists Maryam Rajavi Cult

1- Biden-linked expert backs regime change at event sponsored by Iranian militant group

Michele Flournoy claims she was ‘unaware’ her hosts are part of a well-known former terrorist organization.

(Eli Clifton and Matthew Petti, Responsible Statescraft)

Former defense official Michèle Flournoy called for regime change in Iran at a conference on Saturday sponsored by the Mojahedin-e Khalq — an Iranian militant group once listed as a terrorist organization.

A spokesperson for Flournoy’s consultancy, WestExec Advisors, which she co-founded with President Joe Biden’s now-Secretary of State Antony Blinken, attempted to walk back her appearance, telling both The Daily Beast and Responsible Statecraft:

When she agreed to the engagement, Ms. Flournoy was unaware of the affiliation. She would not have participated had she known of it, and she refused payment for the engagement once she learned of it. She has no affiliation with the MEK and will never appear at their conference again.

But at the MEK-sponsored conference, Flournoy referred to her hosts as an “important” diaspora group and called for “internal regime change” in Iran.

“When there is an internal regime change — when a government comes to power that renounces its revolutionary aims and terrorism — the United States will be the first in line to engage it,” Flournoy told this year’s Free Iran World Summit. “In the meantime, we must continue to applaud and support the important work of diaspora groups like yours that keep alive the vision of a secular, free, and democratic Iran.”

That position isn’t shared by experts at the Center for a New American Security, which Flournoy founded and whose board she continues to chair. A 2020 CNAS paper, “Reengaging Iran: A New Strategy for the United States,” described the MEK as irrelevant and ineffective.

The paper proposed diplomatic measures the next administration should undertake to, among other objectives, “de-escalate regional tensions that perpetuate instability and proxy-fueled competition in the Middle East,” and recommended exploring an “agreement on noninterference in internal affairs” which “may set a useful precedent for how regional actors can deal with one another.”

“The benefit of this agenda item is that the non-state groups involved are relatively ineffective and are not major threats to the governments in question,” said the paper. “However, these groups create deep bitterness and suspicion. For example, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) has little chance of playing a meaningful role in destabilizing or overthrowing the Islamic Republic, but international support for it absolutely infuriates Iran’s leadership.”

CNAS took an even more mocking tone toward the MEK in a 2008 blog post, writing:

Iran hawks in the U.S. can be a funny bunch, especially when they start arguing for terrorist groups opposed to the regime in Tehran to be de-listed as terror groups simply because they’re the enemies of our enemies. Because the rest of the world certainly wouldn’t see that as hypocritical in any way, shape or form. Oh no.

The MEK participated in the Iranian revolution of 1979, assassinating several Americans working in Iran and mocking Iranian leaders as soft for failing to execute their American hostages. But the organization soon fell out with the revolutionary regime and defected to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

The MEK was listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department until 2012. It has been accused of torturing and abusing its own members in exile.

However, the MEK has rehabilitated its image through its Paris-based political branch, the National Council of Resistance of Iran. Numerous Democratic and Republican politicians have appeared at NCRI conferences, sometimes in exchange for speaking fees as high as $50,000.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D–N.J.) and former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile also spoke at Saturday’s conference. So did former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said that the MEK should be “blessed and protected.”

In a Twitter statement on Saturday, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh accused these politicians of selling “themselves cheap for a Europe-hosted circus arranged by a once Saddam-backed terrorist cult with Iranian blood on its hands.”

Flournoy’s voice was perhaps the most significant, as she had nearly been appointed to President Joe Biden’s cabinet earlier this year. Numerous high-profile Democrats had urged Biden to nominate Flournoy for secretary of defense, and Biden had been widely expected to do so before instead choosing General Lloyd Austin to run the Department of Defense at the last minute.

“Since 1979, every U.S. administration has had to deal with the threat posed by Iran’s revolutionary regime,” Flournoy said at the MEK-sponsored conference. “Iran’s use of terrorism abroad is paired with its systemic torture and oppression at home.”

She warned that the Iranian government “should not expect an easy ride from this administration or Congress.”

Flournoy did not respond to questions about why she chose to speak at the event or how much she was offered as payment for speaking.

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2- Social media abuzz with reactions to Michele Flournoy’s speech at MKO summi

(Press TV)

Social media has been abuzz with words of condemnation from journalists and other users who said it was both “shocking” and “embarrassing” for Michele Flournoy, former US undersecretary of defense for policy, to address the annual summit of the notorious anti-Iran Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) terrorist group. 

Addressing the virtual event on Saturday, Flournoy, once considered a front runner to be President Joe Biden’s defense secretary, accused Iran of posing a threat to the security of the Middle East, the United States, and to its own people.

“Since 1979, every US administration has had to deal with the threat posed by Iran’s revolutionary regime and the Biden administration is no different,” she told the convention. “Iran is one of the most urgent foreign policy issues on the president’s desk.”

Flournoy called for what she described as an “internal regime change” in the Islamic Republic.

In an attempt to draw attention to the “chaos” allegedly caused by the Islamic Republic, Flournoy readily turned facts on their head and offered a twisted and cut-down view of regional developments to the delight of MEK members.

For instance, she accused Iran of “attacking American forces in Iraq with ballistic missiles.” But she failed to mention that the January 8, 2020 surgical strike against Ain al-Asad, a sprawling airbase housing American troops in western Iraq, was in response to the brazen assassination of Iran’s top anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike days earlier.

Flournoy also said, truly, that “Iran has shot down Americana drones.” But, again, she left out the part that the RQ-4A Global Hawk surveillance drone had simply violated Iran’s airspace.

Journalists and other users took to Twitter to react to Flournoy’s speech.

“Michele Flournoy nearly became Biden’s Defense Secretary and co-founded the WestExec corporate influence peddling firm that sent 15 consultants into Biden’s White House. Now she’s shilling for the MEK cult that carries out assassinations & destabilizes Iran. Pure sleaze,” tweeted Max Blumenthal, editor at The Grayzone News.

Others said that politicians like Flournoy were not oblivious to what the MKO represents, but they nevertheless risk their reputation by addressing such events in return for the “fat checks” they receive.

“It’s frankly absurd to imagine that people like Mike Pompeo and Michele Flournoy don’t know what the MEK is or what it represents,” wrote Gregory Brew, a historian at the history department of Georgetown University in Washington DC. “They know what it means to take the money and speak at these events. And they do it anyway.”

“It isn’t that Michele Flournoy is naive enough to get duped by the terrorist cult MEK & speak at their conference for a fat check. She’s the ‘Democratic’ side of the same warmongering coin that wants to regime change Iran & destroy the lives of its 85 million people,” posted Sina Toossi a senior research analyst who writes for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy magazines.

Jacob Silverman, a journalist with The New Republic, a left-wing American magazine, said that it was embarrassing for a career politician like Flournoy to address a terrorist organization and call its work “important.”

“I watched Michele Flournoy’s MEK speech. Mostly pro-Biden pabulum, but the whole thing is embarrassing, especially for a Serious Person. She called for ‘internal regime change’ and said MEK’s work was ‘important,’” he posted on his Twitter page.

Out of the nearly 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist attacks over the past four decades, about 12,000 have fallen victim to the MKO’s acts of terror.

During former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s war on Iran, which lasted eight years, MKO members were armed and equipped by the Iraqi regime to fight against Iran.

The MKO was designated a terrorist organization by the United States for 15 years before it was delisted in 2012, following an intense lobbying campaign by pressure groups in Washington and Iranian exiles.  The European Union (EU) also removed the MKO from its list of terrorist organizations in 2009.

The anti-Iran terrorists enjoy freedom of activity in the US and Europe and hold meetings with American and EU officials.

A few years ago, MKO members were relocated from their Camp Ashraf in Iraq’s Diyala Province and later sent to Albania, where they now reside and continue their anti-Iran activities.

The group throws lavish conferences every year in the French capital, Paris, with senior American, Western, and Saudi Arabian officials in attendance as guests of honor.

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Michele Flournoy Albania Terrorists and Americans Reaction

A Deranged Cult Mujahedin Khalq In Albania

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Mojahedin_Khalq_MEK_Rajavi_Cult_Saddam_Iraq_Bin_Salman_SaudiBBC: Who are the Iranian dissident group MEK? (Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, PMOI, …)

Also read:
https://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/usa-backs-mek-terrorists-then-produces-terrorism-report-iran-says/

USA backs MEK terrorists then produces Terrorism Report ; Iran says

USA backs MEK terrorists then produces Terrorism Report ; Iran saysMehr News and Press TV, June 26 2020:… Refuting brazen claims leveled against Iran in the US “Country Reports on Terrorism 2019,” Abbas Mousavi said on Thursday, “The Islamic Republic of Iran totally rejects and dismisses the US annual report on terrorism due to its clear dishonesty and the double standards applied by this regime to fighting terrorism.” “Iranians have been both victims of and heroes in fighting those terrorists, who have been created and supported by the United States,” Mousavi added. USA backs MEK terrorists then produces Terrorism Report .

USA backs MEK terrorists then produces Terrorism Report ; Iran saysMujahedin-e-Khalq MEK terrorists Shape Trump Admin Iran Policy. Why ?

USA backs MEK terrorists then produces Terrorism Report ; Iran says

1-Foreign Ministry strongly dismisses anti-Iranian claims in US’ so-called ‘terrorism report’

Mehr News, June 26 2020:

TEHRAN, Jun. 26 (MNA) – Foreign Ministry Spokesperson roundly rejected the US State Department’s annual report on terrorism, saying the world’s most infamous terrorist and the criminal regime is in no position to judge the other countries.

In a statement on Thursday, Seyyed Abbas Mousavi dismissed the annual Country Reports on Terrorism released by the US regime, saying, “The Islamic Republic of Iran categorically rejects and condemns the US’ annual Country Reports on Terrorism because that regime is blatantly shifting the blame onto others, is utterly insincere, and has double standards in the fight against terrorism.”

“The United States of America’s regime, known as the biggest state sponsor of terrorism and the main sponsor of the aggressive and occupying Zionist regime, is in no position to claim to be fighting against terrorism and make judgments about this issue,” the Iranian spokesperson added, Foreign Ministry website reported.

History of the past couple of decades clearly shows that the United States of America, as acknowledged even by a number of American officials, has had a role in the creation of some terrorist groups or has supported those groups and their terrorist activities, Mousavi noted.

“Trump has also admitted openly in his election campaign that the previous US administrations have created ISIS and other terrorist groups,” he noted.

The spokesman further slammed the US regime’s cowardly and terrorist move to assassinate Lt. General Qassem Soleimani –known as the hero of the war on terrorism- as a brazen example of the US regime’s terrorist crimes, saying,

“The Islamic Republic of Iran, as the biggest victim of terrorist actions, which have been taken mainly with the US government’s direct and indirect supports, and with more than 17,000 people martyred in this path, is always at the forefront of the fight against terrorism at the global and regional levels.”

Mousavi finally denounced the US regime’s unilateral sanctions, economic terrorism, and medical terrorism against people of Iran as the latest example of the US regime’s terrorist measures against independent nations in the world.

MAH/MFA

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USA backs MEK terrorists then produces Terrorism Report

2- Foreign ministry: Iranians main victims of US-backed terrorists

Press TV, June 26 2020:

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman has reacted to the latest annual terrorism report released by the US Department of State, saying that despite US claims, Iranians have been the main victims of acts of terrorism carried out by terrorists directly supported by Washington.

Refuting brazen claims leveled against Iran in the US “Country Reports on Terrorism 2019,” Abbas Mousavi said on Thursday, “The Islamic Republic of Iran totally rejects and dismisses the US annual report on terrorism due to its clear dishonesty and the double standards applied by this regime to fighting terrorism.”

“Iranians have been both victims of and heroes in fighting those terrorists, who have been created and supported by the United States,” Mousavi added.

The so-called report identified Iran as “the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism,” claiming the country has been providing support for “various terrorist groups” throughout the Middle East.

It came amid Washington’s continued and unreserved backing for anti-Iran terrorist outfits, including the terrorist cult of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO) that is responsible for slaying around 12,000 Iranians since the 1979 victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution.

In 2019, the year covered in the so-called report, the US also blacklisted Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) despite the elite military force’s indispensable advisory support for the regional countries’ fight against Takfiri terrorists. And in early 2020, Washington assassinated Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force, who has won reputation as the Middle East’s most decisive and respected anti-terror personality.

The US report named the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance movements of Hezbollah and Hamas — that have been defending their respective peoples against deadly Israeli acts of aggression — as two of the groups that it said were being backed by Iran.

Mousavi added, “The regime of the United States, as the main sponsor of state terrorism and the most important supporter of the aggressive and occupying Zionist regime is in no position to have any claim to fighting terrorism and handing down any judgment in this regard.”

The spokesman reminded how history itself bears witness to the US’ creation of or support for terrorism.

Some American officials have, themselves, admitted this fact, including US President Donald Trump, who acknowledged on his electoral campaign that previous American administrations had created the Daesh Takfiri terror outfit and other such groups, Mousavi added.

“As the biggest victim of acts of terrorism that have majorly been conducted through US administrations’ direct or indirect support, and with the 17,000 martyrs that it has lost to these [atrocities], the Islamic Republic invariably stands on the frontline of the fight against terrorism on the regional and international scale,” he noted.

The spokesperson finally pointed to Washington’s economic and medical terrorism targeting the Iranian nation that has seen it imposing unilateral and illegal sanctions its the people.

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USA backs MEK terrorists then produces Terrorism Report ; Iran says

A Deranged Cult Mujahedin Khalq In Albania

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مسعود خدابنده آن سینگلتون پارلمان اروپا 2018Secret MEK troll factory in Albania uses modern slaves (aka Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, NCRI ,Rajavi cult)

White House MEK Trolls and the Iran Case " Heshmat Alavi Gate " , Trump and MEKMEK Cult Operatives Undermining American Democracy

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