Tehran Times, April 26 2020:… U.S. President Donald Trump has shared an appreciative tweet for his anti-Iran policies by a fake account belonging to the terrorist group of Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK). The tweet, posted by Heshmat Alavi on Wednesday, read: “The mullahs’ regime ruling #Iran harasses UN Navy ships for propaganda purposes.” “Thank you, President Trump, for reminding this regime that the Obama years are gone,” it said. “And BTW, this regime does not represent the Iranian people.” Trump Praised MEK Troll Factory in Albania (aka; @HeshmatAlavi)
Trump Praised MEK Troll Factory in Albania (aka; @HeshmatAlavi)
Trump retweets praise from fake anti-Iran account
TEHRAN — U.S. President Donald Trump has shared an appreciative tweet for his anti-Iran policies by a fake account belonging to the terrorist group of Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK).
The tweet, posted by Heshmat Alavi on Wednesday, read: “The mullahs’ regime ruling #Iran harasses UN Navy ships for propaganda purposes.”
“Thank you, President Trump, for reminding this regime that the Obama years are gone,” it said. “And BTW, this regime does not represent the Iranian people.”
Trump had earlier ordered the U.S. Navy to shoot down Iranian gunboats “if they harass our ships” in the Persian Gulf.
“I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” he said in an earlier tweet.
Retweeting Alavi’s appreciative comment, Trump said: “Sleepy Joe thought this was OK. Not me!”
He was referring to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who served as vice president under Obama.
Back in June 2019, The Intercept reported that Heshmat Alavi, who wrote dozens of articles for right-wing outlets, appears not to exist. Alavi’s persona is a propaganda operation run by the MEK, The Intercept quoted two sources as saying.
In an interview with the Balkans Post last week, Murtaza Hussain, who had written in The Intercept article, said Alavi is a persona used by the MEK to “continue its public relations work in the Western countries, aiming to sway elite and public opinion by placing news articles and running social media campaigns promoting its vision for itself as the future government of Iran.”
On Twitter, people responded to Trump, reminding him and his followers that Alavi is not a real person, highlighting the Trump administration’s close links with the MEK.
“Behold Donald Trump’s open coordination with an Iranian terrorist organization,” commented Trita Parsi, the co-founder and executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.
Behold Donald Trump's open coordination with an Iranian terrorist organization. The person he retweets does not exist, the account is run by six people in the MEK's terrorist base in Albania.
Yes, the president of the United state is retweeting a terrorist account.
— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) April 22, 2020
“The person he retweets does not exist, the account is run by six people in the MEK’s terrorist base in Albania,” he said. “Yes, the president of the United state is retweeting a terrorist account.”
Massoud Khodabandeh , the director of Middle East Strategy Consultants, wrote: “Like it or not, #Trump is certainly not up to running a corner shop never mind a country and he has proved it on daily bases and Americans are paying for this disaster on daily bases.”
Like it or not, #Trump is certainly not up to running a corner shop never mind a country and he has proved it on daily bases and Americans are paying for this disaster on daily bases. https://t.co/ueRxLfyUs6
— Massoud khodabandeh (@ma_khodabandeh) April 23, 2020
Khodabandeh, who has written extensively along with her wife Anne Khodabandeh about the MEK, said in another tweet: “Never thought I will see a head of a state as low as @POTUS. Next he can go to Albanian to visit her qeen of terrorists #Rajavi.”
— Massoud khodabandeh (@ma_khodabandeh) April 22, 2020
Negar Mortazavi, an Iranian-American journalist, noted that Trump “retweets a troll account linked to MEK, a terrorist Iranian opposition group that‘s killed Americans and Iranians.”
“This fake account is constantly promoted and amplified by Saudi government media,” she added.
Trump retweets a troll account linked to MEK, a terrorist Iranian opposition group that‘s killed Americans and Iranians. This fake account is constantly promoted and amplified by Saudi government media.
— Negar Mortazavi نگار مرتضوی (@NegarMortazavi) April 22, 2020
Trump Praised MEK Troll Factory in Albania (aka; @HeshmatAlavi)
” Heshmat Alavi Gate ” , Trump and MEK
Negar Mortazavi and Borzou Daragahi , Independent, June 11 2019:…The “Heshmat Alavi” persona had a strong presence on Twitter and harassed Iranian journalists, academics, and activists who are critical of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq organisation, a one-time armed guerilla group now holed up in Albania. There is no known link between the Iran Disinfo programme and the fake persona. At least one was cited by the Trump administration as proof against the effectiveness of the Obama-era nuclear deal. Some of the MEK articles were also picked up by US government funded Voice of America’s Persian-language service. Heshmat Alavi Gate
” Heshmat Alavi Gate ” , Trump and MEK ( Trump Praised MEK Troll Factory )
Outrage on Capitol Hill over ‘completely unacceptable’ US-funded scheme to shape Iran debate
‘This is something that happens in authoritarian regimes, not democracies’
United States officials say they are outraged by a government-funded troll campaign that has targeted American citizens critical of the administration’s hardline Iran policy and accused critics of being loyal to the Tehran regime.
State Department officials admitted to Congressional staff in a closed-door meeting on Monday that a project they had funded to counter Iranian propaganda had gone off the rails. Critics in Washington have gone further, saying that the programme resembled the type of troll farms used by autocratic regimes abroad.
“It’s completely unacceptable that American taxpayer dollars supported a project that attacked Americans and others who are critical of the Trump administration’s policy of escalation and conflict with Iran,” a senior Congressional aide told The Independent, on condition of anonymity.
“This is something that happens in authoritarian regimes, not democracies.”
One woman behind the harassment campaign, a longtime Iranian-American activist, has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the State Department over the years to promote “freedom of expression and free access to information.”
The campaign relentlessly attacked critics of the Iran policy on social media, including Twitter and Telegram messaging app, accusing them without evidence of being paid operatives of the regime in Tehran.
A spokeswoman for the State Department told reporters on Monday that funding for the “Iran Disinformation Project” had been suspended and is under review after it was reported that it went beyond the scope of its mandate by veering from countering propaganda from Iran to smearing domestic critics of White House policy.
State Department officials disclosed to lawmakers they had granted $1.5 for Iran Disinfo, which repeatedly targeted, harassed and smeared critics of Trump’s tough stance against Iran on social media.
Among those targeted were American activists, scholars, and journalists who challenged the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure campaign” against Iran.
The revelation that US taxpayer money was being used to attack administration critics has now sparked a flurry of queries.
“There are still so many unanswered questions here,” Congresswoman Ilhan Omar wrote on Twitter. “What rules are in place to prevent state-funded organisation from smearing American citizens? If there wasn’t public outcry, would the Administration have suspended funding for Iran Disinfo?”
Cold War-era US rules barring the use of government-funded propaganda against American citizens have been flouted for decades.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee accused the State Department of giving taxpayer money to operatives “accused of intimidating and harassing U.S. human rights activists, journalists, and academics who’ve criticized their hawkish policies on Iran.”
She added: “This is unacceptable and we will not stand for it.”
State Department officials speaking at the closed-door meeting admitted the project was out of bounds, according to Congressional staffers speaking to The Independent on condition of anonymity.
Both Democratic and Republican Congressional staffers were highly critical of the project and questioned whether US officials should continue to work with the contractor, E-Collaborative for Civic Education. The State Department spokeswoman declined to outline steps to prevent such an operation in the future.
Some have said the harassment campaign resembles those launched by the Iranian regime against its critics, as well as clandestine troll farms run by Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other autocracies in attempts to shape online debate and intimidate critics.
In a twist, Iran Disinfo has even attacked journalists deemed insufficiently supportive of the Trump administration’s policies at US-funded news outlets including Voice of America, Radio Farda, and RFE/RL.
The harassment campaign is one aspect of an Iran policy that critics have warned was overly politicised, incoherent and risky.
Defying American allies, the United Nations Security Council, and the advice of his own intelligence mandarins, Mr Trump voided the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last year and launched an unprecedented campaign of sanctions and threats against Tehran, vowing to pressure the country into cutting a “better deal” than the one it forged with his predecessor, Barack Obama.
Seeking evidence that its policies were working and popular, the administration has relied an unconventional information sources, often citing obscure right-wing news outlets and think tanks.
E-Collaborative for Civic Education, co-founded by Iranian American activist Mariam Memarsadeghi, is a long-time State Department contractor.
It purports to promote democratic political life and empower civil society inside Iran, but it appears to have no presence inside the country and instead confines itself to engaging with Iranians in the Diaspora.
Congressional officials also confirmed to The Independent that one individual working for the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, an influential Washington organisation with hawkish views on Iran, is part of the E-Collaborative for Civic Education’s Iran Disinformation Project.
One Congressional staffer said he expected the State Department would examine “the extent of coordination” between Iran Disinfo project and “pro-war think tanks like the Foundation for Defence of Democracies.”
Over the weekend, The Intercept revealed that a purported Iranian activist, who had published dozens of articles on Iran in prominent outlets such as Forbes and The Hill, does not exist and is a fake persona run by a team of operatives connected to a bizarre Iranian political cult.
The “Heshmat Alavi” persona had a strong presence on Twitter and harassed Iranian journalists, academics, and activists who are critical of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq organisation, a one-time armed guerilla group now holed up in Albania. There is no known link between the Iran Disinfo programme and the fake persona.
At least one was cited by the Trump administration as proof against the effectiveness of the Obama-era nuclear deal. Some of the MEK articles were also picked up by US government funded Voice of America’s Persian-language service.
Both the Alavi account and the US-funded account frequently accused Iranian Americans sceptical about the Trump administration of being dupes of the Tehran regime.
“It’s an outrage that the Trump Administration was funnelling taxpayer dollars to a smear campaign accusing US citizens of dual loyalty to a foreign regime,” Dylan Williams, vice president of the left-leaning Jewish-American organisation J Street, told The Independent.
“Decent people wouldn’t tolerate such state-sponsored defamation if the target was Jewish Americans and we shouldn’t when the target is Iranian-Americans.”
” Heshmat Alavi Gate ” , Trump and MEK ( Trump Praised MEK Troll Factory )
Pompeo Set To Back The Wrong Group Again (MEK, Rajavi cult)
Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton), Iran Interlink, April 24 2019:… Exactly fifteen years ago we wrote about how making a deal with the MEK was a big mistake by the USA. At that time, the MEK led by Massoud Rajavi was closer to Saddam Hussein than the US. Today the MEK led by Maryam Rajavi is closer the Saudis than the US. Either way, the MEK leadership has proven over and over that they will always put their own interests above that of anything. To make this mistake once is shameful. For Mike Pompeo to repeat the mistake now is simply wrong. Heshmat Alavi Gate ( Donald Trump MEK Terrorists )
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
Pompeo Set To Back The Wrong Group Again ( Trump Praised MEK Troll Factory )
Exactly fifteen years ago we wrote about how making a deal with the MEK was a big mistake by the USA. At that time, the MEK led by Massoud Rajavi was closer to Saddam Hussein than the US. Today the MEK led by Maryam Rajavi is closer the Saudis than the US. Either way, the MEK leadership has proven over and over that they will always put their own interests above that of anything. To make this mistake once is shameful. For Mike Pompeo to repeat the mistake now is simply wrong. Heshmat Alavi Gate
Once Again, the US Makes a Bad Deal with the Wrong Group
Anti War , April 22 2004
Link to the source
by Anne Singleton Posted onApril 22, 2004
Heshmat Alavi Gate
Bob Woodward’s latest book, Plan of Attack, exposes the underbelly of the build-up to the US war with Iraq. In it Woodward reveals that the “CIA hired the leaders of a Muslim religious sect at odds with Saddam, but nonetheless with numerous members highly placed in Saddam’s security services. The CIA’s code name for them: the Rock Stars.”
Asked to reveal the identity of this sect, Woodward refused. But to observers of the scene looking at the various possibilities, it is not difficult to pinpoint exactly who this group is… the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) led by arguably the best conman in the Middle East, Massoud Rajavi. If that is the case, it really does call into question some decision-making at the top.
The MEK, although listed as terrorists in the USA since 1997, still maintained a high profile presence as a “democratic alternative to the Iranian regime” in the heart of the US government and had powerful friends, such as Richard Perle and Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, in the Pentagon, Congress, and the House.
With Alireza Jafarzadeh as Massoud Rajavi’s permanent representative in the US, and Mohammad Mohaddessin his “foreign minister” travelling back and forth on a weekly basis from Baghdad to Washington, this group was the only one with which the CIA had contact in Iraq. Certainly it ahs been the only group which had simultaneous open access to Washington’s corridors of power and to the top levels of the Iraqi regime. But whose side is Rajavi on?
In reality, Rajavi’s MEK is an isolated quasi-religious military cult which, based in Iraq for 20 years, had taken arms, training, and orders directly from Saddam Hussein. Saddam trusted the MEK completely, more so than the Iraqi’s surrounding him. After all, Rajavi’s stated goal was to grasp power in Iran. Hussein knew that Rajavi wasn’t trying to topple him, and knew also that Rajavi totally relied on Saddam’s help to achieve his goal.
Saddam gave Rajavi a free hand to undertake intelligence and security operations inside Iraq and as much logistical help as needed to run terrorist operations over the border into Iran, their common enemy. Ordinary Iraqi agencies didn’t dare to challenge MEK activities in their own country, so close was the organization to Saddam. It meant that MEK was acting right inside the Iraqi security system.
In a recently exposed videotape of Rajavi and some of Saddam’s top echelons, we get a picture of their relationship. After Rajavi had ordered his National Liberation Army to help suppress the Kurdish and Shiite rebellions in March 1991 after Gulf War I, Saddam praised and rewarded him. In a meeting with General Saber, Rajavi made a revealing speech:
“I think that the relations between us and you and Iraq, being the government of Iraq or the Baath Party and at the top of it Mr President [Saddam]. And on the other side the Iranian Resistance and the Mojahedin and the National Liberation Army.
I think that our relation is not a purely political relation and one cannot interpret our relations like that any more. And I think that the brotherhood relation has been completed. Such brothers that would not come short of anything for each other.
Whatever is against you, it is obviously against us, and visa versa. Our security is one. When we receive a blow, it is to both of us. And when there is progress, it affects us both…
…As far as we are concerned I have only one thing to say. In my mind and in my heart, I cannot separate the account of our interests from your interests. They are exactly matching each other. We may have some differences in our views. The reality is, that our interests match each other and are closely mixed together. Therefore I would ask you to send my sincere regards to Mr. President [Saddam] and say to him that there is no need for him to thank us or anything else. And tell him on my behalf that we have been in your house and we are with you and will be with you as far as is in our power.”
If the CIA had heard this speech, would they have been so ready to believe that Rajavi would help them? Even if they thought Rajavi’s co-operation with Saddam was cynically pragmatic, did it not occur to someone that his relationship with the US might be the same?
Rajavi most probably passed all the information he had from the CIA straight to Saddam. Why wouldn’t he? As he said himself “Whatever is against you [Iraq], it is obviously against us, and visa versa. Our security is one. When we receive a blow, it is to both of us.” Rajavi didn’t believe before the war that Saddam would, or even could, be toppled. He believed his Iraqi protector was invincible and would shelter him until he reached Tehran in some unforeseeable future. Rock Stars they may have been, but it was Saddam who rocked Rajavi’s world, not the US.
Woodward points out, the CIA is still not sure whether the intelligence they got from the sect was reliable or not. Why are we not surprised? It should have been obvious that a man who had already prostituted himself to anyone and everyone in his quest for power, a man who proudly headed ‘Saddam’s Private Army’, would not be an entirely reliable associate.
Even so, when it became obvious to Rajavi that Saddam would go, he turned around and promised the Americans full cooperation in exchange for protection. And he got it. Although the MEK bases were bombed and some of his fighters killed, this was most probably stage managed so that the group could surrender to the US without arousing the suspicion of the Iraqis. Rajavi was protected in his largest base, Ashraf, with 4,000 of his fighters around him and those fighters and the base itself protected by several hundred US soldiers. In Iraq, Rajavi couldn’t have found a safer place. The Iraqi people were ready to attack the MEK as remnants of Saddam’s regime. Even now, the Iraqi Governing Council has unanimously asked the US to get rid of the sect and remove them as soon as possible from Iraq.
When Ari Fleischer, the president’s spokesman, publicly praised the MEK on March 10 2003, it was widely interpreted as the result of a CIA deal.
Because of this deal, the MEK couldn’t believe their bases were being bombed and claimed these were Iranian airplanes. But when the US army confirmed that MEK in the camp had returned fire, Mohaddessin, shocked at the news panicked and in an interview announced that they had a deal with the Americans not to be attacked.
When the State Department quite logically added an MEK alias, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), to the list of terrorist entities on August 15, 2003, because of its close alliance with Saddam Hussein, Jafarzadeh, the MEK contact in Washington, suddenly gave up his job as MEK representative and was appointed top Iran Advisor for Fox News in Washington! Coincidence? We think not.
And what has the US got from this deal to protect the MEK? Intelligence in Iraq? A mouthpiece in the US media?
Heshmat Alavi Gate ( Donald Trump MEK Terrorists )