Eli Clifton, Lobelog, May 07 2015:… The MEK, which has worked hard – and spent a lot of money — to gain respectability in Washington since its armed units surrendered to U.S. forces in Iraq in 2003, is believed to have been responsible for the killing of six Americans in Iran between 1973 and 1976. Exiled following a power struggle in the early years of …
Tom Cotton Allies Himself with the MEK (Mojahedin Khalq, Rajavi cult)
Freshman Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) garnered two profiles this week, one in The Wall Street Journal and another in The New York Times, highlighting his efforts to disrupt normal Senate procedure in hopes of adding “poison pill” amendments to the Corker-Cardin bill that, if passed, would give Congress a say in any comprehensive agreement reached between the P5+1 and Iran.
But in a Senate meeting room Wednesday, Cotton, seated alongside Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), may have outdone himself by joining a panel hosted by the Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC), a front group for the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK or MKO).
Cotton and Tillis were not alone. They were joined on the OIAC panel by former Ambassador to Morocco Marc Ginsberg, Senior Belfer Center fellow (and United Against Nuclear Iran advisory board member) Olli Heinonen, former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Robert G. Joseph, and the former director of the National Counter Proliferation Center, Joseph R. DeTrani.
The MEK, which has worked hard – and spent a lot of money — to gain respectability in Washington since its armed units surrendered to U.S. forces in Iraq in 2003, is believed to have been responsible for the killing of six Americans in Iran between 1973 and 1976. Exiled following a power struggle in the early years of the Islamic Republic, the group fought alongside Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war. Following a lengthy lobbying and legal campaign that included the payment of substantial honoraria to prominent U.S. politicians and retired national-security officials, the MEK was removed from the State Department’s terrorism list in 2012.
The group, along with its numerous fronts in the U.S. and Europe, describes itself as Iran’s democratic government-in-exile but has little to no support within its homeland, according to independent Iran experts.
A 2005 report by Human Rights Watch detailed the group’s cult-like control over its members and a record of human rights violations designed to severely punish dissidents or would-be deserters.
But Cotton and the MEK share a common agenda when it comes to the nuclear negotiations with Iran. In a controversial video appearance from her Paris headquarters before the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on counterterrorism last week, the group’s co-leader, Maryam Rajavi, recommended that the best way to defeat the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq was to pursue regime change in Iran. And, in January, Cotton, a protégé of Bill Kristol of the Emergency Committee for Israel, told an audience at the Heritage Foundation:
Certain voices call for congressional restraint urging Congress not to act now, lest Iran walk away from the negotiating table, undermining the fabled yet always absent moderates in Iran. But the end of these negotiations isn’t an unintended consequence of congressional action. It is very much an intended consequence — a feature, not a bug.
Neither Cotton nor the MEK, in other words, thinks there should be any negotiations with the Iranian government.
It appears that Cotton, who has quickly displaced Lindsey Graham as the Senate’s most hawkish member, has decided that it is necessary – perhaps even politically desirable – to make common cause with a group that has committed serious human rights abuses, allied itself for some two decades with Saddam Hussein, and carried out terrorist acts, including against U.S. citizens and servicemen – all in the interests of sabotaging an Iran nuclear agreement.
As Rajavi herself might say, “Quel enfant terrible.”
Lets create another Vietnam for America(pdf).
(Mojahedin English language paper April 1980)
Letter to Imam (Khomeini) (pdf).
(Mojahedin English Language paper April 1980)
Some questions unanswered regarding the US military invasion of Iran (pdf).
(Mojahedin English Language paper June 1980)
The Backlash Against the MEK’s Fans in Congress (aka Mojahedin Khalq, Rajavi cult)
Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, May 05 2015:… The attention and praise lavished on the MEK in recent years by former officials, retired military officers, and politicians has been an embarrassing spectacle. Now the strange infatuation that many hawks have with the “former” terrorist group is spilling over …
The Backlash Against the MEK’s Fans in Congress (aka Mojahedin Khalq, Rajavi cult)
The enthusiasm of some hawks in Congress for the Mujaideen-e Khalq (MEK) has started to create a bit of a backlash. The Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee invited the cult’s leader, Maryam Rajavi, to testify remotely as part of a panel on ISIS. That prompted one former State Department official to withdraw from the meeting entirely. Robert Ford, the former ambassador to Syria, has also said he won’t take part in a panel that includes Rajavi:
“I didn’t want to be on a panel with the MEK. I was shocked they invited the MEK. What the MEK has to do with the Islamic State, I don’t have a clue,” Ford told FP. “I told the committee to put me on a panel without the MEK or I wouldn’t appear.”
The refusal of these former officials to play along with some hawks’ disturbing admiration for the MEK is appropriate, but it is unfortunate that it should be necessary. The attention and praise lavished on the MEK in recent years by former officials, retired military officers, and politicians has been an embarrassing spectacle. Now the strange infatuation that many hawks have with the “former” terrorist group is spilling over into the regular business of Congress. As if to underscore how misguided inviting Rajavi was, a copy of the cult leader’s testimony shows that she intends to use her time to argue for regime change in Iran. Ali Gharib comments:
But more to the point, the MEK has always had only one goal: the overthrow of the Iranian regime. For decades, it has tried to shoehorn regional and geopolitical dynamics into its aim, irrespective of any salient connections.
The plan to bring down ISIS by toppling Iran’s government, then, is little more than the latest chapter of group’s 50-year history of monomaniacally trying to install itself atop the Iranian government.
This obviously has nothing to do with combating or understanding ISIS, and allowing her to speak at such a meeting just lends a totalitarian cult a platform from which it can promote its own warped agenda. Inviting Rajavi demonstrates exceptionally poor judgment, and her testimony will make a farce of the proceedings tomorrow. It would be one thing to invite a representative of this awful group if it had anything useful to contribute to the subject being discussed, but of course it doesn’t. The invitation to Rajavi is simply a way for hawks on this subcommittee to flaunt hostility to Iran and to indulge the fantasy that the MEK speaks for the Iranian opposition.
Al-Sarraj: America supports Mojahedin Khalq ( Rajavi cult, MKO, MEK) in Iraq as leverage in negotiations
Ashraf News, Baghdad, January 19 2015:… Sarraj told the reporter for Ashraf News, that “Washington also hopes that the MEK terrorist organization can be used as a bargaining chip in any future negotiations with Iran.” With respect to the MKO terrorist group’s demand last Wednesday that the United States re-arm them in Camp Liberty, Adnan al-Sarraj …
Translated by Iran Interlink
Al-Sarraj: America supports Mojahedin Khalq ( Rajavi cult, MKO, MEK) in Iraq as leverage in negotiations
A member of the State of Law coalition and Head of the Iraqi Centre for Media Development, Adnan al-Sarraj, said that the United States is still giving political, intelligence and financial support to the Mojahedin Khalq organization, and plays a role in coordinating them to carry out criminal acts against Iran.”
Sarraj told the reporter for Ashraf News, that “Washington also hopes that the MEK terrorist organization can be used as a bargaining chip in any future negotiations with Iran.”
With respect to the MKO terrorist group’s demand last Wednesday that the United States re-arm them in Camp Liberty, Adnan al-Sarraj said, “I do not find it surprising. This ridiculous request to get arms from the Americans is a tactic used by the US with the clear political agenda to add pressure in favour of America in the next upcoming negotiations, otherwise it is clear that in the current circumstances it is impossible for them to do this.”
Hoaxes, Hype, and Hysteria. The War Party never takes a holiday
Justin Raimondo, Anti War, September 10 2014: … That’s the same phrase used to describe yet another purloined laptop, this one supplied by the Mujahedin-e-Khalq, an Iranian terrorist group that, for years, has been feeding the War Party bogus “intelligence” about Tehran’s nonexistent nuclear weapons program. That tall tale was debunked in 2011 …
Hoaxes, Hype, and Hysteria
The War Party never takes a holiday
While Americans were barbecuing over the Labor Day weekend, the Usual Suspects were busy cooking up new wars, from Iraq to Ukraine. While this is nothing new – after all, evil never sleeps – one thing I did notice: the stunning lack of imagination on their part. It was, in effect, the equivalent of a bunch of summer reruns: tired formulaic retreads that weren’t all that convincing in the first place.
Take the latest war propaganda centered on the alleged “threat” to our precious bodily fluids supposedly posed by ISIS, the War Party’s latest bogeyman. As polls showed a stubborn reluctance on the part of the American people to re-invade Iraq, the neocons came up with a not-so-new one: they claim a laptop computer ostensibly captured from ISIS by the “good” jihadists – the so-called Free Syrian Army, which is armed and trained by the US – contains plans for constructing “weapons of mass destruction,” i.e. biological weapons. They’re even calling it the “laptop of death” – a phrase that ought to ring a bell for those who follow these sorts of things.
That’s the same phrase used to describe yet another purloined laptop, this one supplied by the Mujahedin-e-Khalq, an Iranian terrorist group that, for years, has been feeding the War Party bogus “intelligence” about Tehran’s nonexistent nuclear weapons program. That tall tale was debunked in 2011 – yet another case of MEK cobbling together old outdated data, adding a dash of forgery, and shaking well enough to fool the credulous.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but what if the dog can pass off an old hoax as a new one? And that’s why I’m here: to remind you.
Speaking of America’s Good Jihadists, a.k.a. the Syrian Free Army, I was struck by this nugget from an account of the killing of Douglas McAuthur McCain, an American fighting for ISIS in Syria, in the New York Times:
“The rebels who killed him were fighting for the Free Syrian Army, a rival group backed by the United States, and they went on to behead six ISIS fighters – but not Mr. McCain – and then posted the photographs on Facebook.” Yes, these are the “moderate” Syrian rebels, backed by your tax dollars and the prestige of the United States government. Oh, but don’t worry, kids: they’re our barbarians – so beheading is okay, even praiseworthy, since they’re doing it on behalf of spreading “freedom” and “democracy.”
And speaking of hoaxes, here’s a biggie: they’re telling us that the long-awaited Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine has finally arrived! Yay! You can almost hear the sigh of relief all the way from Washington. The War Party’s journalistic camarilla – which has been telling us for the past six months or so that Putin’s move was “imminent” – yelped “we told you so!” in unison. Neocon hysteric Anne Applebaum screeched that this proved that we have to prepare for “total war” with nuclear-armed Russia – which, she claims, is planning to “use nuclear weapons to bomb Poland and the Baltic countries.”
There’s just one problem with this alleged “invasion” – there’s zero evidence for it. Normally when one country invades another, troops pour over the border, missiles strike their targets, and the invaders proclaim their victory. So where are the Russian tanks, the missiles raining down death, the tens of thousands of troops marching in to take possession of their newly-conquered territory?
They’re nowhere to be seen. The best NATO could come up with was a series of murky satellite photos showing a column of military vehicles going somewhere from some place else – and that’s it. Apparently the Ukrainian army is so under-equipped that the poor things don’t even have a single cell phone camera to take a quick shot of the invading hordes. (This just proves they need more American aid!) Washington avers that one thousand Russian troops are now in Ukraine – but why would Putin send in such a paltry “army” and risk defeat? Why not just send in the troops, as he did in Crimea, and be done with it?
Oh, but the new cold warriors have a ready answer for the absence of solid evidence: this, we’re told, is no regular old-fashioned conquest. In this case, it’s a “new” kind of invasion – a “stealth invasion.” Which just goes to show that words can be twisted to mean their exact opposite.
Yet this “stealth” angle elides an important element of any invasion plan: the political benefits to be had at home. These are, by the way, the only benefits to be had if Putin decided to annex ramshackle east Ukraine, with its profitless Soviet-era industries and desperately poor populace. So why isn’t he up there beating his chest and scoring points by telling the Russian people he’s the kind of strong leader who can stand up to the West?
The War Party has sunk to a new low: they’re stealing from Hollywood! If this isn’t outright plagiarism of the plot of “Wag the Dog,” then it’s damned close. If I were the producers of that movie, I’d sue – but that’s just me.
While our war propagandists lack originality, you have to give them credit for persistence: these guys never give up. When one lie is exposed, another quickly takes center stage – and if the War Party does this in the belief that the memory of the American people is lamentably short, then who can fault their logic?
That’s why Antiwar.com is a vitally important resource for those of us who want to put an end to our foreign policy of global intervention. Our online archives are a detailed record of the War Party’s now-debunked fabrications, a charge sheet stretching all the way back to the mid-1990s.
And our readers apparently realize the value of this resource – because, unlike the War Party’s bought-and-paid-for “journalists,” we depend on a growing base of grassroots supporters to keep this operation afloat and expanding.
Amid all the navel-gazing discussion by “mainstream” scribes about how to sustain a news operation in the face of a technology that has changed the face of journalism, Antiwar.com’s success in building a new model has gone largely unremarked. As mainline journalists bemoan the decline of their industry, Antiwar.com has pointed the way forward for new media by building a news organization that abandons the old subscriber-advertiser-dependent revenue stream and bases itself, instead, on reader donations.
Of course, bloggers have been doing this, with the by-now-traditional “tip jar,” for years, but I believe we were among the first to apply it to a broader-based news-and-opinion site – and make it work.
It has worked for over fifteen years. Every time we pass the goal in our quarterly fundraising drives I feel an immense satisfaction in the fact that our readers have given us yet another vote of confidence.
From where I sit, it looks as though our late summer fundraising drive is very close to the goalpost. My thanks to all who gave: I can’t even begin to express the depth of my gratitude. And I want to point out that none of us here at Antiwar.com take your support for granted: we work overtime to earn your support by reporting the facts as we understand them and never failing to question the “conventional wisdom” – no matter where it takes us.
Michael Rubin, Commentary, April 29 2014: … The Mujahedin al-Khalq may be a lot of things, but it is neither progressive nor is it non-violent. Progressive movements tend not to dictate to women who to marry and who to divorce. It has its roots in the same Islamist currents that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini drank from, and only abandoned the Islamic Republic when its revolutionary …
Brett Wilkins, Digital Journal, February 06 2014: … Ros-Lehtinen has also publicly voiced her support for Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK), a then-State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization of Iranian dissidents who once assassinated numerous US officials and carries out attacks inside Iran with US and Israeli assistance. She also backs the brutal, conservative Honduran regime …
Philip Giraldi, Global Research, August 31 2014: … Supporters of MEK also ignore the fact that the group is run like a cult, routinely executes internal dissidents, and has virtually no political support within Iran. But such are the ways of the corrupt Washington punditocracy, lionizing an organization that it should be shunning. MEK’s political arm is located in Paris and …
Ariane Tabatabai, The National Interest, August 24 2014: …The voices supporting the MEK are ignoring the lessons of some of the most catastrophic U.S. foreign-policy mistakes in the past few decades, urging Washington to repeat history. Overhyping the threat of an adversary and blindly supporting groups opposing it led to the creation of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan …
Rianovosty, August 11 2014: … The US had Mujahadeen-e-Khalq and they were long on the US’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. They had even killed Americans in the past etc. So, they were on the list. But now, in the last couple of years we had many of our neocon politicians ask for that group to be taken off the list, so that they could then be operated and used to destabilize Iran …
Daniel Larison, Th American Conservative, August 10 2014: …It’s important to remember that the MEK and its umbrella group are not “the main Iranian opposition” or anything like it. For one thing, the real “main” Iranian opposition is still in Iran, and unlike the MEK it is not widely loathed by Iranians. Naturally, any exile group would like foreign governments to believe that …