Reid Champlin, Open Secrets, July 11 2019:…The council was founded in the early 1980s as the political front of the MEK, which itself was started by self-described Marxist Iranian students in 1965. Initially fighting with other opposition groups to take down the Shah in the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the group soon came into conflict with the new Ayatollah Khomeini’s government, with members of the MEK eventually killing the Iranian president and prime minister in 1981. They later fought alongside Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the 1980 Iran-Iraq war and into the 1990s and early 2000s against Iraqi Shiites, Kurds and Americans. They have been blamed for the deaths of thousands of Iraqi soldiers and at least six American citizens. MEK Influence USA Policy for Regime Change in Iran
MEK Influence USA Policy for Regime Change in Iran
Filings reveal Iranian dissident group’s foreign influence operation to push for regime change
Originally published June 20, 2019
Tensions between the United States and Iran are rising to a fever pitch following the downing of an American drone Wednesday by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard over the Strait of Hormuz. It comes less than a week after an attack on two tankers purportedly conducted by Iran.
Iran has declared that although it does not want conflict, it is “ready for war.” Hawkish voices in the U.S. have called for aggressive action as top military leaders review plans for a possible confrontation.
As both nations move closer to the brink of war, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a little-known advocacy group determined to install itself as the new government of Iran, continues to build a powerful influence network in Washington and beyond.
Recent documents in accordance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act reveal that the council, the political arm of opposition group Mujahedeen Khalq or MEK, has been hosting opulent events at the National Press Club and elsewhere, publicizing itself through national and international media, and meeting with dozens of current and former government officials, all with the end goal of toppling the current Iranian government and rising to power in its place.
OpenSecrets previously reported on the MEK’s deep ties to National Security Advisor John Bolton and other voices currently agitating for war against Iran. The new documents reveal the extent to which the dissident group is using media and its vast array of prominent supporters to push the national discourse toward confrontation.The council of resistance either submitted or was quoted in 51 media pieces between December 2018 and May 2019, according to FARA filings. These pieces were concentrated in right-leaning media outlets such as Fox News, The Washington Times, The Washington Examiner and NewsMax.
Throughout their appearances, the organization stood firm behind dubious claims that Iran is currently carrying out assassinations in Europe and the U.S., an assertion widely rejected by experts. The rhetoric, based on Dutch intelligence reports that two Iranian dissidents were murdered by Tehran in 2015 and 2017, portrays the threat as dire and immediate, including calling for all Iranian embassies in Europe to be shut down in May.
The group also continued to meet with a number of major former government officials, including James Jones, who served as Barack Obama’s national security advisor from 2009 to 2010, and Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of Homeland Security.
The council has been building a war chest of prominent advocates to justify its mission to the public and to national and international political communities, including Bolton, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giulliani, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson.
Some of these individuals were investigated by the Treasury Department in 2012 for accepting significant speaking fees from the MEK, which was, at the time, still designated by the federal government as a terrorist organization. The investigation ultimately dissipated after the group was de-listed as a terrorist organization later that same year following a multi-million dollar lobbying blitz.
The group continues to organize public protests, rallies and speeches claiming to represent the Iranian people, even though the group is reportedly “widely despised” within Iran and has been exiled from the country for decades. The group spoke with several U.S. senators on Nowruz (Persian New Year) in March and received the backing of two sitting senators, John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).
Standing between two Iranian flags emblazoned with the MEK’s golden lion insignia, Boozman told the group, “We are committed to helping you in any way that we can.”
Boozman and Shaheen aren’t the only members of Congress to have publicly backed the MEK Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who has repeatedly called for launching a first strike on Iran, spoke at a 2015 meeting of the Organization of Iranian American Communities, an advocacy group closely aligned with the MEK.
Two other senators, Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), flew to Albania in 2017 to meet with the MEK’s leader Maryam Rajavi and wish her group “success in their struggle for democracy and human rights in Iran.”Supporters of the MEK claim that Rajavi will usher in a secular democratic state in the place of the current theocratic regime. They champion her stated commitment to free-market capitalism and promises to modernize the nation.
The council was founded in the early 1980s as the political front of the MEK, which itself was started by self-described Marxist Iranian students in 1965. Initially fighting with other opposition groups to take down the Shah in the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the group soon came into conflict with the new Ayatollah Khomeini’s government, with members of the MEK eventually killing the Iranian president and prime minister in 1981.
They later fought alongside Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the 1980 Iran-Iraq war and into the 1990s and early 2000s against Iraqi Shiites, Kurds and Americans. They have been blamed for the deaths of thousands of Iraqi soldiers and at least six American citizens.
The group plans to demonstrate in front of State Department headquarters in D.C. on Friday in a protest dubbed “March 4 Regime Change by Iranians” by social media supporters and closely-aligned groups, including OIAC. OIAC has been spending to amplify the march with more than $300 going to Facebook ads in the days leading up to the event and multiple tweets promoting the demonstration on Twitter, but the amount of that spending is unknown since OIAC is not on the list of issue advertisers tracked by Twitter’s Ads Transparency Center.
Reid is an investigative journalist covering campaign finance and foreign affairs. He’s a rising junior at the College of William and Mary studying government. Prior to joining the CRP in the summer of 2019, Reid was an inaugural VICE Collegiate Reporting Fellow covering mental health.
MEK Influence USA Policy for Regime Change in Iran
Jafarzadeh has already published his suicide bombing note.
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
Maryam Rajavi MEK Cult Fake Journalists
Philip Giraldi, Global Research, June 21 2019:… MEK, which is financially supported by Saudi Arabia, stages events in the United States in Europe where it generously pays politicians like John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani and Elaine Chao to make fifteen-minute speeches praising the organization and everything it does. Maryam Rajavi MEK Cult Fake Journalists
Maryam Rajavi MEK Cult Fake Journalists
False Identities Become the New Weapon: War with Iran Promoted by Fake Journalists
By Philip Giraldi
One of the claims made about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election was that Kremlin-controlled entities were using fake identities to create dissension and confusion on social network sites. This should surprise no one, if it is true, as intelligence operatives have been using false names since Sumerian times.
The concern over fake identities no doubt comes from the deception involved, meaning that if you are dealing with a real person you at least have some handle on making as assessment of what something means and what is likely to occur. A false persona, however, can pretend to be anything and can advocate or do something without any yardstick to measure what is actually taking place. In other words, if Mike Pompeo says something you know that he is a liar and can judge his words accordingly but if it is someone otherwise unknown named Qwert Uiop you have to wonder if he or she just might be telling the truth. You might even give them the benefit of the doubt.
A prime example of a false internet persona has recently surfaced in the form of an alleged “activist” invented by the Iranian terrorist group Mojahedin e Khalq (MEK). MEK is a curious hybrid creature in any event in that it pretends to be an alternative government option for Iran even though it is despised by nearly all Iranians. At the same time, it is greatly loved by the Washington Establishment which would like to see the Mullahs deposed and replaced by something more amenable to western and Israeli worldviews.
MEK is run like a cult by its leader Maryam Rajavi, with a number of rules that restrict and control the behavior of its members. One commentary likens membership in MEK to a modern day equivalent of slavery. The group currently operates out of a secretive, heavily guarded 84 acre compound in Albania that is covertly supported by the United States, as well as through a “political wing” front office in Paris, where it refers to itself as the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
MEK, which is financially supported by Saudi Arabia, stages events in the United States in Europe where it generously pays politicians like John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani and Elaine Chao to make fifteen-minute speeches praising the organization and everything it does. It’s paying of inside the Beltway power brokers proved so successful that it was removed from the State Department terrorist list in 2012 by Hillary Clinton even though it had killed Americans in the 1970s. MEK also finds favor in Washington because it is used by Israel as a resource for anti-Iranian terrorism acts currently, including assassinations carried out in Tehran.
MEK’s fake journalist, who has recently been exposed by The Intercept, is named Heshmat Alavi. He, or if you prefer “it,” has very successfully gained access to a considerable body of generally conservative mainstream western media, including Forbes, The Hill, the Daily Beast and The Federalist. Alavi has placed scores of articles as “an activist with a passion for human rights,” aimed at discrediting Iran and its government while also subtly praising MEK as an alternative to the current regime. His bona fides have never been questioned, even by Forbes, which placed no less than 61 articles under the name between April 2017 and April 2018. The pieces appearing allegedly by Alavi are reportedly composed at a “troll factory” as a so-called “group account” in Albania where MEK members who belong to the organization’s “political wing” toil under tight security.
Alavi’s contribution to the damning of Iran has not been insignificant. An article written by him/it that appeared in Forbes claiming that the Mullahs had been able to increase their military budget due to having money freed up by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement. The article reached the White House and reportedly helped convince the Trump Administration to withdraw from the pact.
To supplement the Alavi propaganda effort, MEK’s Albania operation uses banks of computers manned by followers, some of whom are fluent in English, who serve as bots unleashing scores of comments supporting regime change in Iran while also directing waves of criticism against any pro-Iranian pieces that appear on social media, to include Facebook and Twitter. By one account,more than a thousand MEK supporters manage thousands of accounts on social media simultaneously. The objective of all the chatter is to convince the mostly English-speaking audience that there is a large body of Iranians who are hostile to the regime and supportive of MEK as a replacement.
While the Iranian government and MEK might well be regarded by most Americans as a far-away problem, there was considerable shock expressed even by congress and the media when it was learned shortly before The Intercept’s revelations that the United States government had been fundinga so-called Iran Disinformation Project that was employing tactics remarkably similar to those of MEK in an attempt to control the discussion over Iran policy.
Hooshang Amirahmadi, @tparsi's former boss, told @AbdolrezaDavari:
"Yes, Zarif put together NIAC – honestly, sincerely – and gave it strong support, politically and non-politically."
Amazing that no journalist asks Amirahmadi & Parsi & writes about this. https://t.co/3s1PPyrKBu
— Saeed Ghasseminejad (@SGhasseminejad) May 31, 2019
The project, run by the State Department’s global engagement center, consisted of a trolling campaignwhich targeted online American citizens critical of the government’s Iran policy, labeling them as disloyal to the United States and tools of the Iranian government. It used, for example, the website IranDisInfo.org and the hashtag #NIACLobbies4Mullahs. Iranian-American activist and long-time State Department contractor Mariam Memarsadeghi headed the program, receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars to “relentlessly attack critics of the Iran policy on social media…accusing them of being paid operatives of the regime in Tehran.” In all, the “Iran Disinfo” operation received over $1.5 million through the Memarsadeghi contract entity the oddly named E-Collaborative for Civic Education.
“Constant studying & constant reading”—how @nikkihaley tells @CliffordDMay she got herself so very ready & able to take on everything, not least the tyrants, represented at the UN. So much respect for her. @FDD #FDDSummit pic.twitter.com/TJFGo00Ffl
— Mariam Memarsadeghi (@memarsadeghi) August 28, 2018
FDD has long been targeting Iran. It received $3.63 million in 2017 from Bernard Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot. Marcus is a hard-core Zionist who hates Iran and once referred to that nation as “the devil.” FDD has also received billions from Las Vegas casino mega billionaire Sheldon Adelson, the GOP’s largest individual donor, who has advocated dropping a nuclear bomb on Iran to send a message. The link between major Republican donors supporting FDD and an increase in FDD quasi-overt cooperation with the Trump Administration in demonizing Iran should not surprise anyone.
Even though the State Department operation was relatively insignificant compared to similar initiatives undertaken by Israel, the idea that an ostensibly democratic government should propagate lies to defend its own policies was definitely unsettling. Some might think that disinformation on Iran is of little importance, that it has little impact on actual policy, but they would be wrong. Bad information that is allowed to circulate freely creates its own reality. Most Americans believe that Iran actually threatens the United States, though they would be at a loss to explain exactly how that could be the case. Dubious stories that originated with Reuters about corruption in Iran have been used by Mike Pompeo to justify sanctions against the regime on humanitarian grounds, measures which have ironically hurt average Iranians disproportionately. The same story was also used in at least four books to discredit the Iranian leadership.
To be sure, the mainstream media is itself largely at fault, as it was with Heshmat Alavi, for not vetting their sources more carefully, particularly when a story is clearly providing unique information or representing a point of view that might be considered controversial. In some cases, of course, the news outlet wants the story to be perceived as true even when it knows that it is not, so it becomes an accomplice in the propaganda effort. A recent attempt to create a mechanism to establish standards by determining the reliability of online news content has, in fact, been little more than a neoconservative scheme to discredit sites that do not support the neocon point of view.
Since governments and various non-governmental constituencies now, by their own admission, are heavily into the game of providing false information and discrediting critics, most Americans will completely tune out of the process, meaning that there will be little or no measurable difference between truth and lies. One already hears complaints from all across the political spectrum that most news is fake. When one reaches the point where such skepticism becomes the consensus, both elections and democracy itself will be rendered pretty much meaningless.
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This article was originally published on American Herald Tribune.
Philip M. Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served nineteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was the CIA Chief of Base for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and was one of the first Americans to enter Afghanistan in December 2001. Phil is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a Washington-based advocacy group that seeks to encourage and promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values and interests. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Maryam Rajavi MEK Cult Fake Journalists . MEK Influence USA Policy for Regime Change in Iran
Iran Fighting US Sponsored ISIS and MEK
Tony Cartalucci, Global Research, June 09 2019:… MEK is described by Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Ray Takeyh as a “cult-like organization” with “totalitarian tendencies.” While Takeyh fails to expand on what he meant by “cult-like” and “totalitarian,” an interview with US State Department-run Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty reported that a MEK Camp Ashraf escapee claimed the terrorist organization bans marriage, using radios, the Internet, and holds many members against their will with the threat of death if ever they are caught attempting to escape. Iran Fighting US Sponsored ISIS and MEK
Iran Fighting US Sponsored ISIS and MEK
US-Iran: Inverted Reality, Real War. America’s Al Qaeda Mercenaries. Iran is Fighting the Largest State Sponsor of Terror
In its march toward yet another war, the United States accuses Iran of using military force to establish itself as a “regional hegemon.” It accuses Iran of being the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. It accuses Iran of aiding rebels in Yemen, the government in Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
But what the United States leaves out about Iran is just as important as what it accuses Iran of.
For one, the Middle East already has a regional hegemon – the United States. Even the wildest accusations against Iran regarding state sponsored terrorism pale in comparison to Al Qaeda and the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) whose terrorism spans the globe, including standing armies operating in Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan – several of which Iran itself is specifically fighting.
The US also supports terrorist organizations within Iran including the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK). MEK enjoys the support of National Security Adviser John Bolton – who lobbied for them for years while they were listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department itself.
Thus, Iran finds itself involved in Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon precisely to stave off openly declared intentions by the US to include Iran next under its already expansive hegemony over the Middle East.
During Washington’s slow-motion blitzkrieg across North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, now decades of lies have continued generating excuses, pretexts, and artificial threats to justify America’s unending wars and Washington’s march toward its next target – Iran.
Iran is Resisting Regional Hegemony
The US invasion of Afghanistan along Iran’s eastern borders in 2001, then the US invasion of Iraq along Iran’s western borders in 2003 left the nation surrounded by US military forces. The invasions, followed by extended occupations were only two of the most extreme examples of Washington’s aggressive military encirclement of Iran itself.
US proxy wars against Libya, Syria, and Yemen also sought to eliminate political and military blocs allied to Tehran. Coupled with deliberate, crippling economic sanctions and a campaign of admitted and concerted political subversion aimed at Iran itself – the US has all but declared war against Iran.Iran finds itself on the US regime change “hit list,” dubbed the “Axis of Evil” by US President George Bush who presided over the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. On the list alongside Iran was Libya – now a divided and destroyed failed state after US military intervention there in 2011 – as well as Syria which still faces US-backed militants and a still-ongoing US military occupation of its territory.
Iran is Fighting the Largest State Sponsor of Terror
In a recent interview with The Epoch Times, US Congressman Van Taylor of Texas called Iran “the largest state sponsor of terror in the world.” He cites Iranian support for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah as examples. It is a claim being repeated throughout America’s pro-war establishment.
However – it is not entirely true, and it omits mention of state sponsored terrorism that eclipses it even if it were.Groups like Hamas actually fought against Damascus and its Iranian allies during the recent conflict in Syria – calling into question claims of “Iranian state sponsorship” of Hamas.
Hezbollah – on the other hand – does enjoy close ties with Iran. But it also dedicated large amounts of resources and manpower – not creating terrorism across the Middle East – but fighting it – specifically in taking on ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria and Iraq.
It was Iran and Hezbollah who aided Syrian forces on the ground while Russia provided air support that began rolling back ISIS and Al Qaeda from 2015 onward.
ISIS and Al Qaeda – ironically – persist in Syria only in areas under the protection of US-NATO forces. This includes in Al Qaeda-held Idlib where the US has repeatedly warned Damascus and its allies not to retake under threat of military retaliation.
While US accusations against Iran regarding “state sponsorship of terror” remain nebulous, US intelligence agencies themselves have admitted the US and its allies’ role in the creation of terrorist organizations like ISIS.The US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) – for example – as early as 2012 had noted (PDF) a Western and Persian Gulf-led conspiracy to create what it called at the time a “Salafist” [Islamic] “principality” [State] precisely in eastern Syria where ISIS would eventually find itself based.
The DIA document would explain (emphasis added):
If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).
On clarifying who these supporting powers were, the DIA memo would state:
The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.
The US and its allies have also been shipping weapons and supplies to Al Qaeda’s other affiliates in Syria. Along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the US has provided thousands of tons of weapons to militants in Syria – while also conceding that Al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, Jabhat al-Nusra is the best armed, most well equipped militant front in the conflict.
Attempts to claim “moderate rebels” defected over to al-Nusra along with their US arms to explain the terrorist organization’s prominence doesn’t explain who was giving al-Nusra more arms and cash to attract such large-scale defections in the first place.The US has also been caught using Al Qaeda in Yemen to wage proxy war there. The Associated Press in an article titled, “AP Investigation: US allies, al-Qaida battle rebels in Yemen,” would report (emphasis added):
Again and again over the past two years, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States has claimed it won decisive victories that drove al-Qaida militants from their strongholds across Yemen and shattered their ability to attack the West.
Here’s what the victors did not disclose: many of their conquests came without firing a shot.
That’s because the coalition cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself.
CNN in its article, “Sold to an ally, lost to an enemy,” would admit (emphasis added):
Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners have transferred American-made weapons to al Qaeda-linked fighters, hardline Salafi militias, and other factions waging war in Yemen, in violation of their agreements with the United States, a CNN investigation has found.
It is clear – by the US government’s and the US media’s own admissions – that the US is the “largest state sponsor of terror,” literally arming Al Qaeda across the region – then calling forces raised by nations like Iran “terrorists” for arraying themselves against them.
Then there is MEK – a US-backed terrorist organization previously listed as such by the US State Department itself – now openly hosted in Washington and spoken for by current US National Security Adviser John Bolton – who by no coincidence is also the leading voice advocating war with Iran.
MEK was listed as a terrorist organization for a reason. It has carried out decades of brutal terrorist attacks, assassinations, and espionage against the Iranian government and its people, as well as targeting Americans including the attempted kidnapping of US Ambassador Douglas MacArthur II, the attempted assassination of USAF Brigadier General Harold Price, the successful assassination of Lieutenant Colonel Louis Lee Hawkins, the double assassinations of Colonel Paul Shaffer and Lieutenant Colonel Jack Turner, and the successful ambush and killing of American Rockwell International employees William Cottrell, Donald Smith, and Robert Krongard.
MEK was delisted by the US State Department as a foreign terrorist organization after extensive lobbying efforts – not because evidence indicated they no longer belonged on the list. They were delisted specifically to allow the US to more openly support MEK’s efforts to undermine and overthrow the Iranian government including through the use of continued violence.
If Al Qaeda and MEK are the sort of “allies” the US has enlisted to confront “Iranian aggression” in the Middle East, how is Iran rather than Washington the true threat to regional or even global peace and stability?
Inverted Reality, Real March to War
It is upon these feet of clay that the US builds its case against Iran – with catastrophes from Washington’s many other wars of aggression in the region still burning in the background.
Iran lacks the economic and military might to pose a real threat to the world even if it wanted to. It only poses a threat to distant nations closing in around it, seeking conflict with Iran, and domination over a region Iran itself is geographically located in.
Conversely, the United States still possesses the largest economy and military on Earth and has a demonstrated track record of falsely accusing nations of various provocations to initiate devastating wars of aggression.
The US – even if it does not resort to war – is imposing economic damage not only on Iran but on nations the world over who – without coincidence – do not perceive Tehran as a threat and do a considerable amount of trade with Iran.
US aggression toward Iran and its allies – even if total war does not break out – have demonstrably destroyed the region – from Syria to Yemen – miring even America’s own allies in protracted, costly wars and setting the entire region back decades in terms of economic and social development.
Were peace to break out in the Middle East tomorrow – nations like the US and its NATO allies would have the least to do with developing the region. That role would go instead to China who is already attempting to foster stability as a condition to extend its global infrastructure building spree into the Middle East.
Even in terms of selling weapons to Middle Eastern nations – Russia and China have competitive systems US allies are even now considering.
Thus chaos is the only environment in which US primacy over the region can continue to thrive – justifying military bases and the billions of dollars needed to build, occupy, supply, and expand them, justifying military interventions – direct and by proxy – pressuring governments to either join or defend against them, and justifying immense weapon sales to allies like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to keep those interventions going.It is a multi-trillion dollar industry, and one only Washington is shameless enough to openly and continuously promote. There is no lie too big or disgraceful to keep America’s last major export of chaos profitable.
Tony Cartalucci is Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Iran Fighting US Sponsored ISIS and MEK . MEK Influence USA Policy for Regime Change in Iran