Stephen Harper Paid by MEK Terrorist Cult Performed in Albania

Stephen Harper Paid by MEK Terrorist Cult Performed in Albania

Jolson Lim, Ipolitics, Cananda, July 20 2019:… It’s opportunism in the most cynical way possible . According to a 2009 RAND Corporation analysis, the MEK turned toward cultlike practices after its leadership relocated to Paris in the mid 1980s. It included engaging in “near-religious devotion” to the married Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. Its members were said to engage in “public self-deprecation sessions, mandatory divorce, celibacy, enforced separation from family and friends, and gender segregation” — allegations reinforced by independent reporting over the years. Stephen Harper Paid by MEK Terrorist Cult Performed in Albania 

MEK the most hated in Iran’s historyMEK the most hated in Iran’s history

Stephen Harper Paid by MEK Terrorist Cult Performed in Albania

1- Evening Brief: Harper speaks to contentious Iranian group slammed as ‘cult-like’

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The Lead

Could former prime minister Stephen Harper turn speaking to a contentious Iranian group labelled a “cult” by critics an annual affair?

Harper appeared at a conference organized by the MEK, a controversial Iranian dissident group that his government once labelled a terrorist organization, after being criticized for visiting a similar gathering last year in Paris.

At this year’s Free Iran conference at the MEK’s headquarters in rural Alabania, Harper endorsed the 10-point plan of the MEK’s leader, saying its “the future the world wants.”

The plan includes universal suffrage, political freedom, ending the death penalty, secular governance, equality, an independent judiciary, upholding human rights, installing a capitalist economy, promoting regional peace and establishing a non-nuclear Iran.

While the half-century history of the MEK is complicated, allegations of its cult-like nature are more recent. A RAND Corporation analysis from a decade ago refers to the “near-religious devotion” required to the organization’s leadership that requires members to engage in “public self-deprecation sessions, mandatory divorce, celibacy, enforced separation from family and friends, and gender segregation.”

iPolitics’ Jolson Lim has the story of Harper’s second annual appearance.

2- Stephen Harper speaks at conference held at ‘cult’ Iranian dissident group’s Albanian compound

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By Jolson Lim. Published on Jul 17, 2019 3:46pm

For a second straight year, former prime minister Stephen Harper spoke at a conference organized by the MEK, a controversial Iranian dissident group that his government once labelled a terrorist organization and has been described as a cult.

Harper, who has been a vocal critic of the Iranian regime during and after his time as prime minister, gave a speech at the Free Iran conference on July 13. This year’s gathering was held at the MEK’s newly-built headquarters located in rural Albania.

“I am delighted to be here, because there are a few causes in this world today more important, at this moment, than what you are pursuing: the right of the people of Iran to change their government and their right to do it through freedom and the power of the ballot box,” he said, to applause from the audience.

The conference was organized by the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a group founded by the MEK, which aims to topple the current theocratic regime in power since the Iranian revolution. The council calls itself “an inclusive and pluralistic parliament-in-exile.”

According to the Guardian, the MEK’s new headquarters is located in a rural fenced-off hillside compound outside Albania’s capital of Tirana. It’s where more than 2,000 of its members live.

The well-funded and well-organized MEK, also known as the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, has received the backing of numerous high-profile politicians in the West.

For example, U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, spoke at the conference and called for the overthrow of the clerical regime. Former Democratic senator Joe Lieberman and British Tory MP Matthew Offord also participated.

 

Members of Trump’s inner circle, including his national security adviser John Bolton, have also spoken in favour of the group and its mission.

Harper’s former foreign affairs minister John Baird was also a speaker at the event. Former B.C. Conservative MP Paul Forseth also spoke.

Conservative figures calling for a regime change have increasingly offered support in recent years, but Liberals, such as Irwin Cotler, David Kilgour and Judy Sgro, have also publicly supported MEK.

While the 50-year history of the organization is long and complicated, the MEK has been criticized more recently as a cult.

In Albania Shedding Light on Bizarre Behaviour of MEK Cult

According to a 2009 RAND Corporation analysis, the MEK turned toward cultlike practices after its leadership relocated to Paris in the mid 1980s. It included engaging in “near-religious devotion” to the married Massoud and Maryam Rajavi.

Its members were said to engage in “public self-deprecation sessions, mandatory divorce, celibacy, enforced separation from family and friends, and gender segregation” — allegations reinforced by independent reporting over the years.

Massoud disappeared during the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, where the MEK was based for years with the support of Saddam Hussein, but Maryam Rajavi has continued to represent the MEK.

Rajavi is now the “president-elect” of the NCRI. According to the council’s website, she will hold the position for “the provisional period for transfer of power to the people.”

In his speech, Harper endorses Rajavi’s 10-point plan for a post-clerical Iran, calling it “the future the world wants.”

The plan includes universal suffrage, political freedom, ending the death penalty, secular governance, equality, an independent judiciary, upholding human rights, installing a capitalist economy, promoting regional peace and establishing a non-nuclear Iran.

Thomas Juneau, a Middle East expert at the University of Ottawa, said while the group bills itself as a “viable democratic opposition to the Islamic Republic,” that’s far from the truth.

“It is a violent, thuggish, corrupt cult,” he said. “It’s also a movement that has absolutely no support inside Iran.”

“For Canadian politicians, serving or retired, to endorse the MEK and by attending the event … that should not be acceptable.”

Juneau, who took to Twitter over the weekend to criticize Harper, said supporting an “undemocratic” leader like Rajavi does a “disservice” to the actual cause of democracy in Iran.

Harper was criticized last year for speaking at an MEK-sponsored conference in Paris.

 

Juneau also noted independent reporting has shown the MEK runs a “slick propaganda machine” and handsomely pays speakers to support their cause.

The Guardian recently spoke to men in Tirana who had fled the MEK compound over the last two years, where they said life inside the camp was of a “cultlike atmosphere” in which mobile phones and contact with relatives, and between men and women, were prohibited.

Members were also required to spend days sitting at computers flooding the internet with messages in support of the MEK.

Questions from iPolitics sent to Harper’s office on Monday via his website, including whether he was paid by the MEK to speak at the event, were not met with a response.

Until 2012, the U.S. and Canada designated the MEK as a terrorist entity. The group was once an armed faction, carrying out assassinations of Iran regime figures, but now supports propping up a secular government via non-violent means.

Spiegel: MKO (MEK IRAN) members in Albania receive horrific training

For much of his speech, Harper called for countries to take a harder line on the ayatollah’s regime.

“The right policy, the only realistic policy is to impose sanctions, boycott, designate institutions as terrorist organizations and do what my government did in Canada: close down the regime’s embassies around the world,” he said.

“Weakness and appeasement will not avoid a military confrontation with this regime.”

Juneau said he believes political figures such as Harper know of MEK’s reputation but want to be seen as taking a hard line on the Iran regime through a controversial, but well-organized group.

“It’s opportunism in the most cynical way possible.”

(End)

Stephen Harper Paid by MEK Terrorist Cult Performed in Albania

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https://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/stephen-harpers-paris-speech-to-mojahedin-e-khalq-no-laws-were-broken-appropriate-interests-were-served-get-over-it/

STEPHEN HARPER’S PARIS SPEECH TO MOJAHEDIN-E KHALQ: NO LAWS WERE BROKEN; APPROPRIATE INTERESTS WERE SERVED; GET OVER IT!

Stephen_Harper_Paid_By_Mojahedin_Khalq_MEK_MKO_Rajavi_Cult_TerroristsDavid Climenhaga, Alberta Politics, July 11 2018:… Mojahedin-e Khalq, the group in question, often referred to as MEK and also known as the People’s Mujahadeen, was declared by various Western governments to be a terrorist group in 1979, back in the days it wanted to overthrow the Shah of Iran, a geopolitical ally of the United States. The same year, as it turned out, someone else overthrew the Shah. Eventually, MEK … 

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

The MEK’s dirty past includes the anti-Imperialist inspired murder of six AmericansThe 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

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STEPHEN HARPER’S PARIS SPEECH TO MOJAHEDIN-E KHALQ: NO LAWS WERE BROKEN; APPROPRIATE INTERESTS WERE SERVED; GET OVER IT!

A TINY STEPHEN HARPER ON THE STAGE IN PARIS WHERE HE ADDRESSED MOJAHEDIN-E KHALQ, NO LONGER CLASSIFIED AS A TERRORIST GROUP, WITH HIS IMAGE LOOMING ABOVE, BIG BROTHER STYLE (PHOTO: SCREENSHOT FROM MEK VIDEO)

Many readers would be offended if someone were to suggest the Roman Catholic Church was a former terrorist organization with cult-like attributes.

Still, wouldn’t terrorism be a fair description of the Inquisition, the brutal effort to root out heresy carried out from the 12th to the early 19th centuries by what was effectively a non-state actor, as we say in the bland militaristic bureaucratese of the 21st Century?

And isn’t the idea of excommunication for whatever reason, even if it is not much practiced any more, the sort of behaviour we associate to this day with religious cults?

I ask these questions only as a sort of back-handed defence of Stephen Harper, the former Conservative prime minister who obviously has far too much time on his hands these days, for travelling to Paris last Saturday to give an apparently well-compensated speech to a “Free Iran” rally sponsored by an Iranian exile group Mr. Harper’s own government classified as terrorists as recently as 2012.

And 2012, alert readers will grasp, isn’t as long ago as the 12th Century. But that was then and 2018 is now, and not just as far as Mr. Harper is concerned.

Mojahedin-e Khalq, the group in question, often referred to as MEK and also known as the People’s Mujahadeen, was declared by various Western governments to be a terrorist group in 1979, back in the days it wanted to overthrow the Shah of Iran, a geopolitical ally of the United States.

The same year, as it turned out, someone else overthrew the Shah. Eventually, MEK ceased to be officially branded a terrorist group. This was probably because, over time, it began to talk instead about overthrowing the Shia Islamic religious government of Iran, which is emphatically not a geopolitical ally of the United States.

While Mojahedin-e Khalq doesn’t seem to have repeated the assassinations and terrorist attacks it perpetrated in the 1980s, it continues, by all accounts, to be a rather unsavoury organization that has a weirdly cult-like structure. This makes it quite unlike the Catholic Church,which, by comparison, nowadays plays a largely positive role throughout the world.

Given its new status as a non-terrorist cult-like organization, it must be said, Mr. Harper is entirely within his rights to address the MEK rally in Paris. No laws were broken.

It’s likely, moreover, that he was well compensated for his histrionics, as MEK is reputed to pay North American politicos sums in the order of $50,000 US to address its gatherings for a few minutes. We all have to make a living.

Plus, the restless former MP had company. Conservative House Leader Candice Bergen, former Harper Era foreign affairs minister John Baird, and Liberal MP Judy Sgro all trooped to the podium in Paris with him. Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani, confidants of U.S. President Donald Trump, also addressed the group, and posed for photos with Mr. Harper and MEK leader Maryam Rajavi.

I’m sure Mr. Harper won’t mind if we refer to him henceforth as, say, “Mojahedin Steve.” After all, it was under Mr. Harper’s leadership in 2006 that the Conservative Party of Canada smeared the late Jack Layton, leader of the NDP in Parliament, with the sobriquet “Taliban Jack” for daring to suggest that what was really needed in Afghanistan was “a comprehensive peace process … to bring all the combatants to the table.”

Mr. Layton was excoriated as naive at best and treasonous at worst. He was accused by the then-nascent online Conservative Rage Machine of failing to support Canada’s soldiers abroad and giving comfort to people who were shooting at them.

The Conservatives have never apologized for this, and never explained themselves. Meanwhile, however, the world has moved on and, nowadays, even the U.S. armed forces gingerly talk to the Taliban, which we mostly recognize is an important part of a coalition that enjoys considerable support from Afghanistan’s Pashtun ethnic majority and will someday probably return to power.

This illustrates the point made by Lord Palmerston, twice prime minister of Britain in the 19th Century, that “nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.”

For the moment, the interests of the United States and those of Mojahedin-e Khalq align, and therefore it is OK for Mr. Harper to take MEK’s money and give them a nice speech about freedom, with a little arm waving thrown in, no matter how unmoved the sentiments he expressed may actually have left the organization’s leaders.

Will the day come when it is acceptable for a Canadian Conservative politician to give a speech to a freedom rally in a nice Western capital put on by the Islamic State, better known as ISIS? This may seem unlikely right now, but never say never.

There’s been evidence Western military forces mucking about in Syria were willing to let ISIS fighters go, as long as they directed their terroristic attentions at the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom the Americans would like to topple. Mr. Assad’s Russian allies, at any rate, have accused the Americans of that, and worse.

Indeed, this may present a future business opportunity that Harper & Associates – whose spokesperson defended Mr. Harper’s Paris speech on the grounds he didn’t endorse a MEK government for Iran – for that time in the future when the West has a self-serving public Road to Damascus moment about the nature and intentions of ISIS.

In the meantime, he might be smart to stick to meetings of the International Democrat Union, the right-wing Internationale he heads.

As for the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, it’s changed its name and doesn’t seem to have executed anyone for heresy since 1826.

(End)

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