Stephanie Baker, Bloomberg, April 05 2019:… While in Warsaw, just outside the official Iran conference, Rudy Giuliani spoke at a rally organized by the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a political front controlled by the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK, which has agitated for regime change in Tehran. It was a cold and gray day when Giuliani, his trademark U.S.-flag pin affixed to his lapel, stood at a podium in front of hundreds of people waving Iranian flags. “In order to have peace and stability in the Middle East, there has to be a major change in the theocratic dictatorship in Iran,” he said. “It must end and end quickly.”
Where Rudy Giuliani’s Money Comes From
While he represents the president for free, he travels the world consulting, giving speeches, and building his brand.
By Stephanie Baker
When Rudy Giuliani traveled to Ukraine’s second-biggest city, Kharkiv, in November 2017 to advise the mayor, an unconventional scene awaited him. In an anteroom outside the mayor’s office, his pet parrot, Johnny, perched in a large metal cage. Giuliani doesn’t speak Russian, so Johnny’s standard squawk to visitors—“Privet!” (Russian for “hello”)—was perhaps lost on him. But the mayor’s security precautions certainly were not.
An armed policeman in a bulletproof vest guarded the anteroom, where a motley collection of visitors waited with Johnny to see the mayor, Hennadiy Kernes, who’s ruled over this city less than an hour from the Russian border for the past nine years. Beyond the bird lay another waiting area with bodyguards, all with the blunt, ex-mixed-martial-artist look common to the profession in the former Soviet Union. Inside the mayor’s office were a large lion and a small lynx, stuffed.
“I’m not surprised by heavy-duty security anywhere,” Giuliani said when I asked him recently what he thought of the bodyguards around Kernes. “I do a lot of work in dangerous places.” Giuliani said he was in the country, for his second visit in less than a year, as a private citizen to advise Kharkiv on security. But he was also serving at the time as President Trump’s cybersecurity adviser, and Ukrainian TV headlined it as a “visit by Trump’s adviser.” On both visits, Giuliani met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who’s now fighting an uphill battle for reelection.
Giuliani is greeted by Hennadiy Kernes, mayor of Kharkiv, Ukraine, upon arriving in the city in November 2017.
SOURCE: CITY KHARKOV
On a freezing January day, I visited Mayor Kernes, 59, in his office while a Russian soap opera played on a large TV. He’s been in a wheelchair since April 2014, when an unknown hit man shot him while he was jogging near the forest on the city’s outskirts. Before the assassination attempt, the mayor maintained an active Instagram account on which he posted photos of himself flashing his expensive watches, traveling on private jets, and meeting with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin who was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2017 for “extrajudicial killing, torture, and other gross violations” of human rights. Kernes himself was a close ally of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was forced from the country by the Maidan Revolution in February 2014 and fled to Russia.
Speaking in a gravelly voice, Kernes explained that he’d wanted to tap Giuliani’s vast experience. Giuliani advised him to create an emergency service akin to 911. “Giuliani met with President Poroshenko, and with the support of the president we decided to go ahead,” he said, sipping tea.
The story of how Giuliani ended up advising a mayor in eastern Ukraine is a tangled one. Kernes wasn’t paying Giuliani; instead, his one-year contract, the value of which no one involved will discuss, was funded mostly by a Ukrainian-Russian minigarch named Pavel Fuks, who moved back to Ukraine in 2015 after about 20 years in Moscow, where he made a fortune in real estate and banking. In the mid-2000s, Fuks had held talks with Trump about building a Trump Tower Moscow, but they couldn’t agree on a deal.
I visited Fuks in Kiev, where he, too, had armed bodyguards outside his office door. A 47-year-old Kharkiv native who’s been friends with Kernes for 30 years, Fuks said he’d hired Giuliani to give back to his hometown. “Giuliani’s company provides lobbying services, and they are very strong in security,” he said. “He’s a star.”
Trump and Giuliani at a session on cybersecurity in the White House.
PHOTOGRAPHER: RON SACHS/CNP/ZUMA PRESS
The Ukrainian gig is one slice of a globe-trotting consulting business Giuliani has continued to pursue while serving first as a key campaign surrogate for Trump, then as his cybersecurity adviser, and finally as his personal lawyerduring special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Now that Attorney General William Barr has reported that Mueller didn’t find Trump’s campaign to have knowingly conspired with the Russian government and didn’t draw a conclusion on whether the president had obstructed justice, Giuliani is taking a victory lap. His success in shielding Trump from an in-person interview with Mueller may have helped the president steer clear of an obstruction charge, an accomplishment that could make Giuliani’s currency as a consultant even more valuable around the world.
Long lauded as the prosecutor who skewered the New York Mafia and once known as “America’s mayor” for leading New York after Sept. 11, Giuliani is still courting clients for security contracts such as the one in Kharkiv. He’s made millions of dollars while acting as Trump’s unpaid consigliere—$9.5 million in 2017 and $5 million in 2018, according to disclosures from his ongoing divorce proceedings with his third wife, Judith Nathan. At the age of 74, Giuliani has eschewed a quiet retirement in favor of life in the limelight. “If I retired, I would shrivel up,” he said. “What I do is enormously exciting.” In addition to Ukraine, in the past two years he’s given speeches and done consulting and legal work in Armenia, Bahrain, Brazil, Colombia, Turkey, and Uruguay, among other countries.
Much about the Trump presidency is unprecedented, but Giuliani’s role is particularly unusual. His work abroad led seven Democratic senators in September to request that the U.S. Department of Justice review whether he should be disclosing his activities under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which requires registration by individuals and organizations acting as agents of foreign principals “in a political or quasi political capacity.” FARA was rarely a hot topic until 2017, when Mueller indicted former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates for failing to register as foreign agents as required.
“As President Trump’s personal attorney, Mr. Giuliani communicates in private with the president and his senior staff on a regular basis,” the senators wrote to the Justice Department. “Without further review, it is impossible to know whether Mr. Giuliani is lobbying U.S. government officials on behalf of foreign clients.”
Giuliani has consistently denied lobbying U.S. officials on behalf of Ukraine or any other foreign government. He told me that most of his work has been in the form of consulting within foreign countries, which FARA experts say typically wouldn’t trigger an obligation to file as a foreign agent. “Most of our contracts involve giving a state within the national government a security plan to reduce crime, investigate terrorism, secure critical infrastructure,” he said. In Ukraine, he said, he advised only on security issues, not on how to promote Kharkiv’s interests in the U.S.
“If I retired, I would shrivel up. What I do is enormously exciting”
When I first called Giuliani in mid-February, he said over a crackling line that he was at a Warsaw conference on Iran, a U.S. government-led summit at which Trump administration officials urged European allies to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. It was the first of two phone calls; in both, Giuliani said he had five minutes, then spoke for almost 45. His still-sharp mind and natural argumentativeness were evident, but he also misstated the dates of his many recent foreign trips.
Giuliani said he’d come to Poland to give a speech about Iran, and he defended his dual roles working closely for Trump and foreign clients, noting that he spells out in his contracts with those clients that he doesn’t lobby the U.S. government. “There’s no conflict. What’s the conflict?” he said. “I don’t ask the president for anything for them ever. I’ve never represented them in front of the U.S. government. I don’t peddle influence. I don’t have to. I make a good deal of money as a lawyer and as a security consultant.”
The question of conflict arises, in part, because Giuliani keeps popping up in world capitals to make pronouncements that dovetail with Trump’s foreign policy positions. While in Warsaw, just outside the official Iran conference, he spoke at a rally organized by the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a political front controlled by the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK, which has agitated for regime change in Tehran. It was a cold and gray day when Giuliani, his trademark U.S.-flag pin affixed to his lapel, stood at a podium in front of hundreds of people waving Iranian flags. “In order to have peace and stability in the Middle East, there has to be a major change in the theocratic dictatorship in Iran,” he said. “It must end and end quickly.”
Giuliani speaks at a demonstration organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Warsaw.
PHOTOGRAPHER: JAKUB KAMINSKI/EPA-EFE/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
Giuliani told me he’s worked with the MEK since 2008. At the time, the U.S. Department of State designated the group a foreign terrorist organization, describing it as “cultlike” and saying members were forced to take a vow of “eternal divorce” and participate in weekly “ideological cleansings.” When the State Department revoked the designation in 2012, it nevertheless expressed serious concerns about the organization, “particularly with regard to allegations of abuse committed against its members.”
Giuliani isn’t alone in stumping for the organization. The MEK has a history of enlisting prominent American politicians on both sides of the aisle, including national security adviser John Bolton—and paying $20,000 or much more for a brief appearance. Giuliani’s advocacy has been quite open. In January 2017 he joined almost two dozen other former U.S. officials in writing a letter to the president urging him to open “dialogue” with the NCRI. After he became Trump’s personal lawyer in April 2018, Giuliani gave speeches at several MEK events, including a Paris rally during which the French security services foiled a bomb plot they blamed on Iranian intelligence. Giuliani appears to revel in his rock-star status at the group’s events. At the 2018 Iran Uprising Summit at a hotel in Manhattan’s Times Square in September, MEK supporters greeted Giuliani with a standing ovation and whoops and whistles. “I hope I say enough offensive things so they put me on that list to kill me, if I’m not already there,” he said to laughter. His speeches railing against Iran echo Trump’s hard-line stance on Tehran but go further by explicitly calling for the regime’s ouster.
“It’s wildly inappropriate for Giuliani to continue to openly associate with” the MEK, says Suzanne Maloney, an Iran expert at the Brookings Institution. “Those who have any association with them really can’t claim ignorance of how bizarre and cultlike the group is. This is one of those cases that in any other administration, Republican or Democrat, it would be a front-page scandal.”
His anti-Iran rhetoric didn’t stop him from working for Reza Zarrab, the man accused of orchestrating a $1 billion money laundering scheme to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions
Dan Pickard, a partner and FARA specialist at the Washington law firm Wiley Rein LLP, declines to discuss Giuliani specifically, but he says that if someone is paid by a foreign political group to give a speech in the U.S. to influence policy, he should file as a foreign agent. “FARA is so much broader than just lobbying,” he says. Giuliani told me he’s getting paid not by the MEK but rather by an American organization of Iranian dissidents. Is it the Organization of Iranian-American Communities, which is allied with the MEK, I asked? “I can’t remember the exact name,” Giuliani said. He dismissed concerns about FARA, saying, “It’s no different than if you did work for an American Jewish group that has strong views on Israel.”
His anti-Iran rhetoric didn’t stop him from working for Reza Zarrab, the man accused of orchestrating a $1 billion money laundering scheme to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions. In February 2017, while acting as Trump’s cybersecurity adviser, Giuliani traveled to Turkey to meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in hopes of resolving Zarrab’s case. A Turkish-Iranian gold trader, Zarrab had been arrested in the U.S. and accused of helping Iran dodge U.S. sanctions by processing hundreds of millions of dollars through his network of companies. At the time, there was dismay in Turkey over Trump’s Muslim travel ban, and Giuliani had recently told Fox News he’d advised on the policy during the president’s campaign. Giuliani said he tried to negotiate a deal for Zarrab to return to Turkey as part of a prisoner swap. It didn’t work. Instead, Zarrab pleaded guilty to money laundering, bribery, and sanctions violations and became a U.S. government witness against a banker in the case. He hasn’t been sentenced, and it’s unclear if he remains in federal custody.
Giuliani’s role shocked many, including U.S. District Judge Richard Berman, who oversaw the Zarrab case. “I knew the old Rudy,” says Berman, who was appointed by Giuliani as a family court judge in 1995. “There seems to be somewhat of a disconnect between the old Rudy and the new Rudy.” In an interview with Courthouse News in June, Berman went further: “I am still stunned by the fact that Rudy was hired to be—and he very actively pursued being—the ‘go-between’ between President Trump and Turkey’s President Erdogan in an unprecedented effort to terminate this federal criminal case.”
Lawyers are usually exempt from requirements to file as a foreign agent, but that exemption may not apply in this case, according to Ben Freeman, who studies influence operations at the Center for International Policy in Washington. “There’s an exemption for lawyers, but none of their activities can go outside of the courtroom,” he says. “Once you do something FARA would constitute as a political activity, just one thing, that would prevent you from being able to claim that exemption.” Berman says Giuliani never stepped foot into the courtroom during the sanctions case.
Sounding like an annoyed prosecutor, Giuliani disputed that interpretation of the law. “I didn’t represent the Turkish government,” he said. “I represented a single individual who was in jail, and he wanted to see if he could get a prisoner exchange with the Turkish government.”
Giuliani (center with red tie), Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (center left), and a group of officials and workers tour Ground Zero two months after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
SOURCE: RUDI WILLIAMS/DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Giuliani markets himself globally as the supercop who reduced crime in New York City using the “broken windows” strategy, which pursued crackdowns on minor offenses to prevent bigger ones. Crime rates did drop dramatically in the city while he was mayor, though the cause remains hotly debated; some experts attribute it as much to the economic boom of the 1990s and to a fall in unemployment. During his time as mayor, Giuliani was also heavily criticized for police brutality and the shootings of unarmed black men, a record that was largely forgotten when he emerged from the wreckage of the Twin Towers to speak for the city and was applauded worldwide for his composure and courage.
Once his second term as mayor ended, Giuliani sought to quickly capitalize on his fame. Early in 2001, during divorce proceedings with his second wife, Donna Hanover, Giuliani’s lawyer claimed his client had just $7,000 to his name. Giuliani did, however, have a $3 million book deal. He went on to set up a series of companies: Giuliani Partners LLC, a management consulting firm for governments and businesses; Giuliani Security & Safety LLC, another consulting business, this one focused on law and order; and Giuliani Capital Advisors LLC, an investment bank (which he sold to Macquarie Group Ltd. in 2007). As private firms, they don’t have to disclose how much they earn.
Within a few years, Giuliani had made many more millions. In 2002, Mexico City agreed to pay him $4.3 million for his advice on fighting crime. In 2004 he traveled for the first time to Ukraine. He also visited Russia, where he met with Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov; it’s unclear if Giuliani was paid for the visit or who financed the trip. He was also on the speaking circuit, routinely pulling in $100,000 to $200,000 per speech. When he made a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2007, he reported earning more than $11 million in speaking fees alone in the preceding year and a half, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
Giuliani lost the nomination and returned to his peripatetic life as a consultant and after-dinner speaker. “Since the day I left being mayor, I’ve given over 1,000 speeches,” he told me. “I’ve been in at least 80 countries. Giuliani Security & Safety has worked in 30 different countries, probably three, four different ones per year.”
Rumsfeld and Giuliani talk to the press at Ground Zero.
SOURCE: DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
He’s convinced dozens of clients around the world, from small-town mayors to presidents, that what worked in New York can work anywhere. In Brazil, for example, the state of Amazonas signed a $1.6 million contract with Giuliani Security & Safety in February 2018 to improve border security and policing. (The arrangement is now under investigation by local prosecutors. John Huvane, chief executive officer of Giuliani Security & Safety, says the probe isn’t targeting the firm: “They’re investigating the Brazilian process for picking us.”) In Colombia, where Giuliani said he’s probably done the most consulting on security, his firm signed a five-month, $295,000 contract in 2015 to help police design a crime-reduction strategy in Medellín called puntos calientes (“hot spots”). Huvane says the plan reduced crime in Medellín by 42 percent while the company was on the job, though the homicide rate has worsened since it left. Luis Felipe Davila, a security researcher based in Medellín, says Giuliani Security & Safety didn’t address the structural issues behind the city’s crime.
Giuliani’s consulting has given him access to a unique network of global politicians, some of whom sought his advice when Trump won the presidency. He’s kept close ties with Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia’s president when Trump was elected, which may have come in handy when the Colombian government was looking for guidance on what to expect from the new administration. In November 2016, two days after the presidential election, Giuliani spoke with Santos and assured him that Trump was committed to maintaining aid levels set by President Obama, according to a person familiar with the conversation. On Nov. 11, Santos tweeted, “I spoke with President-elect Donald Trump. We agreed to strengthen the special and strategic relationship between Colombia and the United States.” Giuliani has returned to Colombia at least once since Trump became president, delivering the keynote address at a security conference in Medellín in December 2017.
Giuliani said he doesn’t recall talking about Trump with Santos, who stepped down in August. “I probably have assured them at various times that our government is supportive,” he said. “I have never done anything to help Colombia with the U.S. government formally or informally.”
Giuliani and Trump march in the Steuben Day Parade, an annual celebration of German heritage and culture, in September 1999.
PHOTOGRAPHER: RICHARD B. LEVINE/LEVINE ROBERTS/NEWSCOM/ZUMA PRESS
Giuliani’s foreign clients may be more necessary than ever. When he started working as Trump’s lawyer in April 2018, he agreed to do so for free. Within weeks he’d resigned from the law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP, which he joined in 2016 as global chair of its cybersecurity and crisis-management practice—a position that provided him from $4 million to $6 million in annual income, according to his divorce proceedings. And Giuliani lives well. At a court hearing in November, a divorce lawyer for Nathan said the former mayor spent $12,000 on cigars and $7,000 on fountain pens over five months. Giuliani and his future ex-wife calculated their personal monthly expenses at about $230,000 each. Their bitterness erupted into the open during a March hearing at which they squabbled over how to share a house they own in the Hamptons, and the judge told them to stay away from each other at a Florida golf club where both are members.
As Trump’s personal lawyer, Giuliani has sometimes given cable-TV interviews sprinkled with contradictions that have often left viewers baffled. When he was asked on NBC’s Meet the Press in August why Trump shouldn’t agree to be interviewed by Mueller, Giuliani said the president risked falling into a perjury trap even if he told the truth. In an exchange that may go down as one of the Trump era’s most memorable, Chuck Todd, the host, responded, “Truth is truth.” To which Giuliani replied: “Truth isn’t truth.”
Giuliani and Trump at the 1995 groundbreaking for Trump International Hotel and Tower.
PHOTOGRAPHER: ROSE HARTMAN/GLOBE PHOTOS/ZUMA PRESS
To Giuliani’s admirers, Barr’s summaryof the Mueller report makes any missteps immaterial. “He’s as smart and quick as he was 25 years ago,” says Jon Sale, a former assistant special Watergate prosecutor who went to law school with Giuliani. “Most of the time you judge a lawyer’s performance by the result. In this case the result was a home run.”
Giuliani and Trump have known each other since the late 1980s. Trump supported him during his various political campaigns, and they were close enough that in 2000, as part of an annual parody show, Giuliani dressed in drag in a skit with the future president. A video clip shows Trump nuzzling Giuliani’s bosom as the mayor exclaims, “Oh, you dirty boy, you!” After Giuliani endorsed Trump in April 2016, he became a frequent campaign surrogate and one of the few people to defend the candidate after the leak of a recording in which Trump bragged about grabbing women by the genitals. Giuliani’s son, Andrew, who now works in the White House office of public liaison, “considers Trump an uncle,” Giuliani told me. Many people expected Giuliani to take a plum post in the administration, but he said he bowed out early from any cabinet positions. He denied that his foreign work had complicated his prospects of becoming secretary of state. “My soon-to-be ex-wife didn’t want me to do it, because of the significant reduction in pay,” he said.
As it is, Giuliani’s consulting work has often left him sounding like a wannabe secretary, sometimes creating headaches for the State Department. Just a few days after his “truth isn’t truth” declaration, Giuliani penned a letter to Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, warning that the country’s battle against corruption had gone too far. Giuliani said he was paid to write the letter at the request of Louis Freeh, a former director of the FBI. Freeh represents Gabriel Popoviciu, a Romanian American real estate investor convicted in 2016 over a land deal and sentenced to seven years in prison. Giuliani’s letter didn’t mention Popoviciu by name, but Freeh issued a statement in 2017 saying the conviction wasn’t supported by “either the facts or the law.”
“I got paid by Louis Freeh, not by anybody else,” Giuliani said. “It was all directed to the Romanian government, not the U.S. government. Therefore, it doesn’t require any foreign agent representation. I was working as a subcontractor.”
Was he concerned his letter might be perceived as a message from the White House, given his other hat as Trump’s lawyer? “Of course it wasn’t,” Giuliani said. “I am not his White House counsel.” The State Department distanced itselffrom Giuliani’s actions: The U.S. Embassy in Bucharest issued a statement saying it “doesn’t comment on the opinions or conclusions of an individual American citizen” and reaffirmed its support for Romania’s fight against corruption. Freeh declined to comment for this story.
In October, while representing Trump in the Russia probe, Giuliani gave a speech at a conference in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, organized with the support of the Armenian government and the Eurasian Economic Commission, which brings together Russia and four other former Soviet countries and is broadly seen as Putin’s attempt to reassert Moscow’s influence. Giuliani spoke about cybersecurity right after speeches by Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Anton Siluanov and Sergei Glazyev, a Kremlin adviser the U.S. sanctioned for his role in Russia’s annexation of Crimea and subsequent conflict with Ukraine.
Giuliani said he never met Glazyev at the conference and wasn’t concerned about attending the event alongside a sanctioned Russian official. “I didn’t know who he was. I found out afterwards,” he said, declining to say how much he was paid for the speech or who paid him. “I got up, gave my speech, and walked out.”
Former world heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko speaks to Giuliani during a 2008 news conference in Kiev.
PHOTOGRAPHER: KONSTANTIN CHERNICHKIN/REUTERS
Giuliani’s ties to Ukraine go back more than a decade. In 2008 he advised Vitali Klitschko, a former boxing champion who was campaigning for mayor of Kiev, on what lessons the city could draw from New York. Giuliani described Klitschko, who won the office on his third try, in 2014, as a friend. In June 2017, Giuliani was paid by another prominent Ukrainian, billionaire Victor Pinchuk, to speak at a conference in Kiev, much to the annoyance of fellow oligarch Fuks, who thought his deal with Giuliani was exclusive. For his lecture, titled “Global Challenges, the Role of the U.S., and the Place of Ukraine,” Giuliani argued before more than 600 people that U.S. foreign policy should be focused on making sure the Ukrainian government regains control over the east from Russian separatists. On the same trip he met with the Ukrainian president, prime minister, foreign minister, and prosecutor general. “I didn’t advise them” on anything, Giuliani told me, declining to comment on his lecture fee. “It was nothing to do with President Trump.”
Less than two weeks later, Poroshenko traveled to Washington and sat down in the Oval Office for what the White House described as a brief “drop-in” ahead of Trump’s meeting with Putin the next month at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg. A White House transcript said the two discussed “support for the peaceful resolution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.” (Giuliani said he had nothing to do with setting up the encounter.)
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Giuliani meet in November 2017.
SOURCE: PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION OF UKRAINE
At the time, Trump’s views on Ukraine and its war with Russia were unclear. He’d spent much of the campaign and early months in office sounding conciliatory toward the Kremlin, a prospect that had many Ukrainian politicians worried Trump might side with Russia—and especially that he might lift sanctions on their adversary, mindful of Poroshenko’s perceived support for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton leading up to the election. These fears had prompted outreach by Ukrainian politicians and businessmen; just prior to the inauguration, the Ukrainian government signed a $600,000 contract with the BGR Group, a Washington lobbying firm founded by prominent Republicans.
Fuks also traveled to D.C. to attend events around the inauguration. He didn’t meet the president. A few months later, Fuks signed the contract with Giuliani to advise Kernes. Giuliani said he’d met Fuks twice in New York before seeing him again in Kharkiv, but he expressed surprise when I told him Fuks had met with Trump several times in the mid-2000s to discuss a Trump Tower Moscow deal.
When I met Fuks at his dark-panneled office in central Kiev, he talked expansively about his work with Giuliani but wouldn’t say how much he’d paid him. He dismissed a local press report that Giuliani received $400,000 just to give a speech during the trip. Everyone involved has a different understanding of Giuliani’s role. Fuks recalled talking to Giuliani about relations between the U.S. and Ukraine: “He said, ‘Ukraine is our partner, we will help.’ He has a very positive attitude toward Ukraine, so he undertook to lobby for us.”
“I got clients before I represented President Trump, and I’m gonna get clients afterwards”
Giuliani is adamant he doesn’t lobby. He explained that Fuks and Kernes wanted his advice because “they had been invaded by allegedly Russians and were afraid they’d be invaded again.” Fuks and Kernes said nothing to me about the Russia threat prompting their interest in bringing Giuliani to Kharkiv, and in fact Kernes faced allegations of siding with pro-Russia separatists during the Maidan Revolution—Ukrainian prosecutors questioned him about reports that he kidnapped and beat up anti-Russian activists. Kernes said his political enemies had cooked up the allegations, and criminal proceedings were dropped in 2018 after local prosecutors failed to pursue the case. After the questioning, he stopped supporting Yanukovych and backed Poroshenko, who won the presidency later that year.
Kernes is a wealthy man. He earns an official salary of about $32,000 a year as mayor, a position he’s held since 2010. Before then, he was president of a local refinery and a member of the city council for eight years. In recent mandatory filings he declared that he had almost $2 million in cash and had received $674,000 in dividends from an asset management company. He also reported owning shares in a local energy distributor and a bank. Despite his substantial influence in Kharkiv, and despite a lengthy report from Giuliani Security & Safety, the Kharkiv emergency service center remains unbuilt.
Transparency International calls Ukraine the most corruptcountry in Europe after Russia, but Giuliani brushes off concerns about taking on clients there. “I do business honestly,” he said. “I’m doing the same things today as I was five years ago. They haven’t changed as a result of my representing the president.” Whatever he does next, whether it’s continuing as Trump’s personal lawyer or going back to full-time consulting, Giuliani is confident the business will continue to flow. “I got clients before I represented President Trump, and I’m gonna get clients afterwards,” he said. “After I stop representing him, I’ll be doing more work overseas, because I’ll have more time.” —With Daryna Krasnolutska, Ezra Fieser, Luiza Ferraz, Erik Larson, and Andrew Martin
Rudy Giuliani, MEK Terrorists, Jarard Kushner, Mike Pence, Netanyahu …
Cristina Maza, Newsweek, February 19 2019:… The group has an office in Washington, D.C., and has registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) with the name National Council of Resistance of Iran. “NCRI-US engages in disseminating information about the politico-economic situation in Iran and the Middle East, holds conferences and gatherings, conducts meetings, and engages in media activities.
TRUMP LAWYER RUDY GIULIANI GIVES RALLY CALLING FOR IRAN REGIME CHANGE RIGHT OUTSIDE WARSAW MIDDLE EAST SUMMIT FEATURING JARED KUSHNER, MIKE PENCE
head of a U.S.-led summit on the Middle East that got underway today in Warsaw, Poland, President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani was spotted giving a speech at an event for the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran or the Mojahedin-e Khalq, also known as MEK.
“It’s a great honor for me to be here with you in order to make a very important point to all of the government officials who are meeting across the way in the stadium,” Giuliani told the crowd. “In order to have peace and security in the Middle East, there has to be a major change in the theocratic dictatorship in Iran. It must end, and end quickly, in order to have peace and stability.”
.@RudyGiuliani: In order to have peace and security in the Mid-East there has to be a major change in the theocratic dictatorship in #Iran. It must end and end quickly in order to have stability.#FreeIranWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran #FreeIranRally@USAdarFarsi pic.twitter.com/Q7jOOdFyEc
— Iran Freedom (@4FreedominIran) February 13, 2019
The group, which the U.S. listed as a terrorist organization until as recently as 2012, openly advocates for regime change in Iran. Giuliani has a longstanding relationship with MEK and frequently speaks at its annual conferences in Paris.
“If the MEK were holding an event on the South Pole, Rudy Giuliani would participate,” Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, Director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College and former Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the State Department, told Newsweek. “He seems wholly addicted to the group’s honorarium checks, and he refuses to let it bother him that the MEK has American blood on its hands. He is the picture of a man without principle.”
Experts estimate that MEK pays its high-profile speakers up to $50,000 for their appearances. The group says raises money from private donations, but the source of its funding has never been publicly verified.
The MEK is having a rally in Warsaw where as usual about a third of the crowd is random non-Iranians who've been bussed in from Slovakia and can't read the signs they're holding pic.twitter.com/NnJyqMxnEY
— Gregg Carlstrom (@glcarlstrom) February 13, 2019
Other U.S. officials who have spoken at MEK rallies include National Security Adviser John Bolton and former U.S. Representative Newt Gingrich. Bolton is another vocal proponent of regime change in Iran.
SIAVOSH HOSSEINI/NURPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES
The group has an office in Washington, D.C., and has registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) with the name National Council of Resistance of Iran.
“NCRI-US engages in disseminating information about the politico-economic situation in Iran and the Middle East, holds conferences and gatherings, conducts meetings, and engages in media activities. It will respond to inquiries as well as brief the U.S. Government, Congress and the general public,” reads one of the group’s recent FARA filings.
MEK first formed as a student group in the 1960s, when it espoused an ideology that mixed Marxism with Shiite Islam.
After Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini rose to power, he became suspicious of MEK’s Marxist ideology and prohibited the group from taking a role in government. In response, MEK began to launch attacks against Khomeini’s followers. The MEK bombed the headquarters of Iran’s ruling party in 1981, killing more than 70 government officials.
In 1992, the group gained international notoriety by attacking Iranian embassies in 13 different countries, including the Iranian mission to the United Nations.
MEK has been described as a cult and is deeply unpopular in Iran. Today, the group is led from Paris by Maryam Rajavi, the wife of MEK founder Massoud Rajavi, who disappeared mysteriously in the early 2000s. The group is known to pay participants to attend its events to create the appearance that it has more robust support than it actually does.
The U.S.-led summit on the Middle East takes place in Poland throughout Wednesday and Thursday. Iran is expected to be a major topic of discussion during the event.
Untangling The Web Of The Saudi-Israeli-US Propaganda War On Iran
Behnam Gharagozli, Iranian.com, February 06 2019:… One manifestation of this trend is witnessing how the MEK was somehow transformed from a terrorist organization to a dissident Iranian organization after only a short time. This transformation from terrorist to dissident just so happened to occur after the MEK’s base in Iraq was sacked (the MEK had been an ally of Saddam Hussein) and the calls for regime change in Iran grew louder. That the mainstream media belongs to only a handful of large corporate entities is another fact to consider.
Untangling The Web Of The Saudi-Israeli-US Propaganda War On Iran
Shortly after the horrific attacks on 9/11, it was discovered that there was an American plan to dismantle the regimes of seven countries: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and lastly, Iran. Since then, the world witnessed regime change and subsequent civil wars in Iraq and Libya while Somalia and Sudan remain failed states. However, Iran, along with its close ally, the Lebanese Hezbollah, which is said to be stronger than the Lebanese army and the most powerful non-state armed actor on earth, remain not only fully functional but have in fact expanded their power vis-à-vis the United States, Israel and their Gulf Arab governments.
US-Israeli-Saudi efforts in the Middle East since 2001 have provided multiple instances of Blowback—long term, unintended negative consequences of foreign policy. Nowhere is this more telling than Iran’s expanded and still growing influence in the region as the result of American missteps. Rather than converting Iraq into a launching pad to effectuate regime change in Iran, the United States saw Iranian influence and control grow in Iraq. Rather than meeting its declared mission of knocking out the Lebanese Hezbollah in 2006, Israel suffered its third defeat at the hands of the Iranian ally. In Iraq’s quest to rid its country of ISIS fighters, one Iranian official joked that the Iraqis prefer to have Iranian commanders lead from the front rather than American advisers direct them from the rear. Relatedly, world opinion generally credits Iranian Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Suleimani, rather than any American, Israeli or Saudi counterpart, as the one who led the successful campaign against ISIS in Iraq.
Instead of giving up its quest for regime change in Iran, the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia appear to be more determined than ever.
Instead of giving up its quest for regime change in Iran, the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia appear to be more determined than ever. Evidence for this is found not only in Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and imposition of harsh sanctions against Iran, but also in the mainstream media’s bias in reporting on Iran. Rather than analyzing the obvious drawbacks in pursuing regime change in Iran (e.g. the expected high loss of human life, enormous cost to the American taxpayer and resulting chaos in what would in all likelihood result in a fragmentation of the country similar to that of Syria and Libya), the mainstream media curiously appears to favor a regime change policy.
While this may initially appear to be surprising, identifying the many groups that would benefit from regime change in Iran quickly harmonizes the disparity between facts and reporting. Saudi Arabia and Israel would greatly benefit from Iranian regime change, as it would eliminate their chief rival in the region. The notorious terrorist cult organization, Mujahedin-e Khalq (“MEK”) would be a likely beneficiary, as it would clear the way for them to achieve their goal of acquiring power in the country (an objective that they failed to achieve after the 1979 revolution). Simultaneously, Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi (the would be ruler of Iran but for the 1979 revolution) of the Pahlavi family would potentially be able to return to some sort of a leadership position in the country. The neoconservative establishment in the United States that infamously brought us the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and subsequent brutal aftermath would stand to benefit, as regime change in Iran was their ultimate goal (“Anyway can go to Baghdad. Real men go to Tehran.”). One must recall that the neoconservatives sought a fairy tale scenario wherein the fall of Baghdad would lead to the rest of the Middle East (Iran included) to magically turn into pro-American liberal democracies.
The goal of removing the clerical regime in Iran is apparently so powerful that it has united groups that would otherwise hate one another. Indeed, absent a hatred of the Iranian regime, there are few commonalities between a Zionist, Saudi royalist, Iranian monarchist, MEK member and a Neocon. Nevertheless, many of these various groupings have found a loose yet committed confederation in their quest for regime change.
This confederation has revealed itself in the mainstream media’s bias against Iran. One manifestation of this trend is witnessing how the MEK was somehow transformed from a terrorist organization to a dissident Iranian organization after only a short time. This transformation from terrorist to dissident just so happened to occur after the MEK’s base in Iraq was sacked (the MEK had been an ally of Saddam Hussein) and the calls for regime change in Iran grew louder.
That the mainstream media belongs to only a handful of large corporate entities is another fact to consider. What this means for pro-regime change groupings is that there are relatively few sources that must be purchased to create an echo chamber favoring their political agenda. What is more, it is odd that Persian language outlets such as Voice of America, Manoto, Kalameh and Radio Farda consistently and persistently appear to favor regime change despite so many obvious policy drawbacks.
…it is important to expose media outlets that receive funding from the Israeli government, Saudi Kingdom, MEK, Pahlavi family and neoconservative groups.
In light of the above, it is important to expose media outlets that receive funding from the Israeli government, Saudi Kingdom, MEK, Pahlavi family and neoconservative groups. This will reveal important biases to alert the public of another American foreign policy misadventure that will dwarf the carnage of Operation Iraqi “Freedom.
Historical Background Behind the Saudi-Israeli-US Alliance Against Iran
That the MEK and Pahlavi family seek regime change in Iran should come as no surprise. Both organizations adamantly feel as though they are the true rulers of Iran and that they were unjustly pushed out of power by the current regime.
However, it is important to identify the geopolitics behind the Saudi-Israeli-US alliance against Iran to put the issue in its proper context. This is especially so as Saudi Arabia and Israel (along with their respective lobbies in the United States) face an uncomfortable reality: Iran’s status as an ethnic minority in the region, important strategic position, natural resources, large economy, powerful military and significant influence in the Middle East make Iran a much better geopolitical ally to the United States than both Israel and Saudi Arabia combined.
The U.S-Saudi relationship dates back to the 1940s wherein the United States essentially committed to protect the Saudi Royal Family in exchange for cheap oil. American commitment to this doctrine was subsequently reinforced in the Nixon and Carter Doctrines.
Prior to the 1979 revolution in Iran, the United States had set up a regional containment strategy designed to check Soviet power with American allies in light of American commitments elsewhere such as Vietnam. In May 1972, President Nixon’s administration immensely increased support of the pro-Western Shah of Iran, Muhammad Reza Pahlavi. The Nixon Doctrine essentially stood on two pillars:
Saudi Arabia and Pahlavi Iran (aka “twin pillars”). Pahlavi Iran was a crucial pro-Western buffer state and was regarded as the “strategic prize.”
Shah of Iran with President Nixon during a state visit to the United States, July 24, 1973. Source: Richard Nixon Foundation
1979 brought the twin pillar policy crashing down as it brought an end to Pahlavi Iran and replaced it with an anti-American Islamic Republic that sought to export its revolution. This resulted in the Carter Doctrine wherein the United States declared that:
Any attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.
The anti-American nature of Iran’s 1979 revolution and the Carter Doctrine turned the United States and Iran from allies to enemies. Indeed, on January 7, 1981, President Carter signed a secret directive authorizing “the Pentagon to use force to prevent Iran from closing the Strait of Hormuz to oil exports.” What is politically ironic but geopolitically not surprising is that President Reagan continued the Carter Doctrine.
Since American officials at the time viewed military force as a last resort, the United States required a proxy to enforce the Carter Doctrine. As a result, Reagan administration threw its weight behind Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
Saddam Hussein Iran-Iraq war 1980s. Credit: Wikipedia
The Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) revealed Saddam Hussein to be an incompetent military proxy for the United States. Throughout the war, American officials expressed repeated anxiety about the Iraqi military’s ability to perform against Iranian advances. Indeed, American aid was crucial to preventing a decisive Iranian victory in the Iran-Iraq war.
Saddam Hussein would subsequently prove himself to be a liability. Not realizing that he was merely an American pawn to protect the other Arab governments in the Persian Gulf from Iranian expansion, Saddam invaded oil rich Kuwait. This foolish move invited direct American military intervention in Operation Desert Storm (1990-1991) and severely weakened Iraq’s military.
After essentially decimating its regional strongman, the United States was left without a military proxy to check Iranian expansion in the region. While the Cold War was over, American concerns about Iranian influence throughout the Middle East remained. Indeed, President George H.W. Bush generally continued the Carter Doctrine upon his signing of the National Security Directive 26 on October 2, 1989.
President Clinton’s lack of foreign policy experience allowed his National Security Advisor, Martin Indyk, a former AIPAC director to dominate Clinton’s Middle East policy. Indyk convinced Clinton to pursue a policy of containment vis-à-vis Iran.
Meanwhile, Israel, emboldened by the fall of the Soviet Union, the crippling of Saddam Hussein (an arch nemesis of Israel) and having an ally in the Clinton White House, began to depict Iran as a threat to advance its “New Middle East” ambitions. Israeli Prime Minister’s Yitzhak Rabin’s proposal whereby Israel would play a central role in the Middle East required Israel to demonize the only remaining regional power in the Middle East: Iran. That Rabin’s vilification of Iran flew in the face of Israel supplying Iran with weaponry and lobbying the United States to do so throughout the Iran-Iraq war apparently was of no importance.
Utilizing the often repeated but poorly supported myth of Israeli military invincibility, Israel and its lobby in the United States was able to convince the Clinton administration that Israel could replace Saddam as the regional pro-American powerhouse to thwart Iranian influence.
Israeli-AIPAC efforts in the United States quickly bore fruit in the anti-Iran campaign. AIPAC successfully lobbied the Clinton administration and subsequently Congress to halt all U.S. trade with Iran despite Israel continuing trade with Iran. This included cancellation of a $1 billion Iranian oil contract with an American company, Conoco. Although the Conoco deal found support in the State Department and CIA, pro-Israeli forces in the United States ended the deal by way of the Iran Libya Sanctions Act. This also served as the third failed attempt by then Iranian Akbar Hashemi President to normalize relations with the United States and therefore emboldened Iranian hardliners. Simultaneously, then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich publicly secured $18 million for covert operations against Iran while arguing for regime change.
9/11 would considerably raise the stakes. With the rise of neo-conservatism in the United States, the Israeli lobby found a welcoming ear in their quest for regional expansion. The Israel lobby’s role in pushing the United States to invading Iraq is well documented.
Iran saw the writing on the wall. Indeed, neo-conservatives were not ambiguous about their ambitions for regime change in Iran. Such voices manifested themselves via official means by way of President Bush’s Axis of Evil speech in 2002 vilifying Iran despite Iran providing the Americans with crucial support in defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan. This resulted in Iran converting its cooperation with the United States in Afghanistan into subversion.
Oddly, the United States did not have a concrete plan in place to invade Iran after toppling Saddam. The Bush administration did not conduct war games or simulations on this topic.
Nevertheless, Iran offered the United States and Israel the 2003 grand bargain (which has received little attention in American mainstream media) whereby the two countries would normalize relations, Iran would offer full access to its nuclear, chemical and biological tech programs, cooperation on fighting terrorism, assistance in stabilizing post-Saddam Iraq and pressuring Palestinian opposition groups to stop violence against Israel. The proposal even offered to disarm the Lebanese Hezbollah. The Bush administration and Israel instead decided to pursue regime change and rejected the grand bargain.
Coupled with American incompetence in stabilizing post-Saddam Iraq (e.g. Paul Bremer’s de-Baathification policy), U.S. and Israeli announcements for regime change convinced the Iranian regime to not only subvert American efforts in Iraq, but to take advantage of the power vacuum that the American invasion created and expand Iranian influence in Iraq. Rather than becoming a launching pad for an American invasion of Iran, post-Saddam Iraq turned into an Iranian ally.
Iran’s increased strength and expansion throughout the Middle East pushed Saudi Arabia and Israel closer together. The two countries had always had an unusual alliance. The Saudi Kingdom’s rise to power in the country significantly owes a debt to the British favoring the Ibn Saud family (the current ruling family in Saudi Arabia) over the Hashemites (the would be ruling family in Saudi Arabia). Part of the British preference was due to the Ibn Saud family’s approval of the creation of the state of Israel as per Britain’s Balfour Declaration. Recently, Saudi Royalists and Zionist hardliners have found a common enemy in Iran and decided that it would be convenient to reinforce their alliance.
However, the United States, Israel nor Saudi Arabia has the ability to overthrow the Iranian regime by way of overt military force. American military plans in the late 1990s asserted that toppling the Islamic Republic by force would require three years of fighting and at least half a million troops. Such plans and the estimates upon which they were premised were based on circumstances that predated the Iranian regime’s entrenchment in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Currently, therefore, it is logical to conclude that the current cost to topple the clerical regime in Iran is much higher. As such, the three countries have resorted to a propaganda war in hopes of weakening Iran and creating the conditions necessary for regime change.
Instances of Reporting Bias
On October 31, 2018, the Guardian published an article headlined “Concern over UK-Based Iranian TV Channel’s Links to Saudi Arabia.” In that article, Saeed Kamali Dehghan detailed that a UK-based Iranian TV station is being funded by a “secretive offshore entity” with close links to the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (“MBS”). The UK-based Iranian TV station, “Iranian International TV” joined the many exiled Iranian channels that reach Iranian residents by way of satellite television such as BBC’s Persian service and Manoto TV. An insider claimed that the channel had turned into a platform for “ethnic partisanship and sectarianism.” The article went on to identify instances where Iranian International TV provided the MEK a platform and how its parent company, Volant Media has strong links with the Saudi Royal Family. Importantly, Iranian International TV receives no commercial income, which makes its dependence on Saudi funding and corresponding Saudi bias incredibly apparent.
The article notes that “According to one source, Saudi Arabia gave” $250 million to launch Iran International. Subsequently, Tasnim News and Press TV observed that according to a tweet from the Guardian correspondent, Dehghan, that “one source” was Khashoggi. The tweet unambiguously indicated that:
“I can confirm that Jamal Khashoggi was killed because of speaking to me on the phone from Istanbul in the morning on 26 September, revealing that London-based Iran International TV was funded by Mohammad bin Salman and Saud al-Qahtani.”
This tweet, which was later deleted, did not receive any considerable coverage in American mainstream media. One may argue that Tasnim News and Press TV have a strong pro-Iran and anti-Saudi bias. However, such an argument would ignore the fact that the tweet from Saeed Kamali Dehghan stands on its own regardless of any bias on the part of Tasnim and Press TV.
While mainstream American media has provided some coverage on the Khashoggi murder, it has failed to do so within the crucial policy framework of Trump’s pro-regime change stance in Iran.
When considered in conjunction with Trump’s November 20th statement pardoning Saudi Arabia in part by demonizing Iran, the above strongly supports the contention that the United States has declared a propaganda war on Iran. That Trump has admitted to having personal business interests (and subsequently denied those business interests when confronted) with the Saudi Kingdom only bolsters the claim. Trump’s decision to cite Israeli interests when defending the U.S.-Saudi relationship only further reveals that there is coordination among the U.S, Israel and Saudi Arabia in this regime change campaign against Iran.
In 2017, protests began in one of Iran’s largest cities, Mashhad. The trigger appears to have been dissatisfaction regarding the price of food and necessities. Regime change advocates quickly sought to exploit these protests. Many who agreed with the protestors’ grievances were concerned that external forces like the Pahlavi family and MEK would attempt to leverage what appeared to be reasonable complaints to push for their own goals.
Such concerns turned out to be well founded. The Guardian reported on June 30, 2018 that Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, admitted that the protests were “happening because of many of our people in Albania.” What is significant about Albania is that it is the location where MEK’s compound is located. On November 9, 2018, the Guardian revealed that MEK’s “main work in Albania involves fighting online in an escalating information war.” This information war included a 1,000 member “troll farm” in Albania that would post propaganda in multiple different languages and multiple different online outlets (including Facebook, Twitter and others).
The above was virtually absent in mainstream American media. When read in conjunction with statements by John Bolton (who would subsequently become Trump’s National Security Adviser) at a 2017 MEK rally calling for regime change in Iran by 2019, it is difficult to ignore the Trump administration’s reckless regime change policy in Iran. What is even more troubling is that the Trump administration intends to achieve this goal by using an organization that the Iranian general public sees as synonymous with treason.
$300 Million Contract
With respect to why the Iran protests were happening, Giuliani also referred to “many of our people…throughout the world.” On August 4, 2018, the Critics Chronicle revealed that Saudi Arabia paid $300 million to Reza Pahlavi, the Crown Prince of the Pahlavi family and the would be heir to Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s throne but for the 1979 revolution. This $300 million contract was intended for Reza Pahlavi to promote anti-government protests in Iran. At the writing of this draft, that article is not available online. However, the story was republished in November by other outlets including Tehran Times. Consistent with the overall trend, this story did not appear in mainstream American media.
Credible Iran analysts across the world are nearly unanimous in their belief that Reza Pahlavi, like MEK, has little to no support among the Iranian general public. That the American mainstream media would not report that an unpopular figure like Reza Pahlavi received $300 million to promote regime change in Iran cements the contention of an Israeli-Saudi-US information war.
Mossad To Use Mercenary MEK For Fatal False Flag Op In Albania
Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh, Iranian.com, November 04 2018:… The logical conclusion would be the creation of a false flag operation involving an attack on MEK members in Albania (outside the European Union so that it cannot be thwarted or investigated) which leaves some dead, and which can be blamed on Iran. Rajavi would be happy to fulfil this order since this would fill the bank of the “blood of martyrs” as she calls …
Mossad To Use Mercenary MEK For Fatal False Flag Op In Albania
On October 30, Denmark claimed that Iran had sent intelligence agents to assassinate the leader of the Danish branch of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA). Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen robustly denounced the alleged plot as “totally unacceptable” and Denmark’s foreign ministry said it would urge other European countries to impose sanctions on Iran. The plot was apparently revenge for the terrorist attack on a military parade in Ahvaz Iran in September in which 29 people were killed. Iran however said it had already tracked down and killed ISIS operatives in Syria and Iraq which it blamed for the massacre. This prompts the question, why Iran would commit a further act of violence in Europe at a time when President Rouhani is on a diplomatic mission to persuade European leaders to maintain the JCPOA and resist following America in imposing sanctions?
According to Israeli journalist Barak Ravid, Mossad tipped off Denmark’s security and intelligence agency about the assassination plot. But this was only the latest in a series of similar alleged plots this year aimed at implicating Iran. In June on the eve of a visit by President Rohani to France, a bomb plot aimed at the Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) cult was also blamed on Iranian intelligence. Two of the plotters were subsequently found to have long term links with the MEK. Again, Mossad had given intelligence to the Belgians who made arrests. Again, the unanswered question is why would Iran do anything to jeopardise relations with Europe and threaten continuation of the JCPOA?
“Two of the plotters were subsequently found to have long term links with the MEK.”
Iran’s accusers have failed to explain this discrepancy. Reuters fantastically wrote: “Apparently, Iran is working hard behind the scenes to disrupt its relations with Europe.” Similarly, the Wall Street Journal, which ran a series of articles specifically on this issue, was unable to come up with a plausible explanation saying only that “The allegation that an Iranian operative plotted an attack on French soil is jeopardizing Europe’s support for the accord.” Again, why would this serve Iran’s interest? Perhaps then we must turn attention to these accusers to explain what is going on.
Earlier in March, Albanian police detained two Iranian journalists at a cultural event in Tirana. This time it was the MEK which falsely claimed Iran had sent agents to kill members of their group whose base is 30 kilometres away. The men had come to celebrate Nowruz at the invitation of the Bektashi’s World Chief Baba Mondi, on regular visas issued by the Albanian consulate in Turkey. The police subsequently apologised to the men and the Baba Mondi for the mistake. But even then the Albanian media was warning of false flag opsinvolving MEK.
A pattern emerges in all three cases: based on intelligence from Mossad the alleged assassination target – an anti-Iran, pro-West group – is identified, European security is quick to act, suspects are arrested, Reuters breaks the news, Iranian intelligence agents are implicated, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo immediately condemns Iran and his statements are further broadcast by American media, Iran denies any involvement, the WSJand other media embellish the story with imaginative detail of the individuals involved. Knowing that MEK leader Maryam Rajavi is among these accusers allows a clearer interpretation of events.
In the days leading up to the arrest in Denmark, Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) cult leader Maryam Rajavi held clandestine meetings with Israeli agents in the International Hotel in Tirana. Her presence in Albania provides a key to unlocking the mystery surrounding the plots allegedly involving Iranian intelligence accused of plotting to kill enemies on European soil.
As the MEK’s de facto leader, Rajavi’s role is to provide services to her backers – a virulently anti-Iran cabal from the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia – through the slave labour of MEK members. Rajavi receives funds to keep her group functioning but does not pass this money on to the members who do the work. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein the demands on MEK have changed. The cult’s new benefactor Prince Turki al-Faisal who made his presence felt at their Villepinte propaganda event in June 2016, is a former Intelligence chief. The MEK of Saddam/Massoud Rajavi which was overwhelmingly military/terrorist has now been replaced by the MEK of Turki/Maryam and is overwhelmingly intelligence/terrorist. MEK’s history of clandestine, intelligence-led activity is now being exploited. Rajavi is motivated by the survival of her cult. She will do whatever necessary to ensure the group does not disintegrate. As these authors explained in a previous article, MEK has a long history of self-serving bloodshed to boost morale and prevent further defections.
“In this context the MEK’s orders are clear; set up a situation to blame on Iran.”
In this context the MEK’s orders are clear; set up a situation to blame on Iran. There is precedence. In Iraq, from one year ahead of the controversial attack on Camp Ashraf which left 53 dead, MEK were shouting ‘Iran wants to kill us’. Iraqi investigators were not allowed to interview MEK survivors of the attack. Then later, in Albania, Malik Sharai, a witness to those events, was eliminated. Ex-members said he was about to leave the group. Similarly, while in Camp Liberty, MEK leaders began to cry victimhood days before a missile attack on the base which they blamed on Iran. Iraqi investigators found no link with Iran.
With this background, if it is remembered that MEK members are expendable, that their role is to sacrifice their lives, the stark conclusion is that fatalities will follow. And if the alleged plots by Iran which Foreign Minister Zarif describes as an “Incredible series of coincidences. Or, a simple chronology of a Mossad program to kill the JCPOA”, fail to drive a wedge between Iran and Europe, then clearly more drastic measures will be needed. Something that would force Europe to react against Iran. The logical conclusion would be the creation of a false flag operation involving an attack on MEK members in Albania (outside the European Union so that it cannot be thwarted or investigated) which leaves some dead, and which can be blamed on Iran. Rajavi would be happy to fulfil this order since this would fill the bank of the “blood of martyrs” as she calls the MEK’s sacrifices. It would also motivate the disaffected members who are regularly leaving the cult – last week alone 6 people managed to escape. With this in mind, Maryam Rajavi’s meetings with Israeli agents in the International Hotel in Tirana would indicate that a fatal event is imminent.
By Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh
Albanian Translation by Gazeta Impakt)
Mosadi do të përdorë mercenarët e organizatës MEK për sulme të rreme fatale brenda Shqipërisë
gazeta impakt –
November 4, 2018
nga Anne dhe Massoud Khodabandeh.
Në 30 tetor, Danimarka deklaroi se Irani kishte dërguar agjentët e inteligjencës për të vrarë udhëheqësin e degës daneze të Lëvizjes së Luftës Arabe për Çlirimin e Ahvazit (ASMLA). Kryeministri Lars Lokke Rasmusen e denoncoi fuqishëm komplotin e dyshuar duke e quajtur atë “krejtësisht të papranueshëm”, ndërsa ministria e jashtme e Danimarkës tha se do t’i nxiste edhe vendet e tjera evropiane që të vendosnin sanksione ndaj Iranit. Komploti ishte me sa duket hakmarrje për sulmin terrorist në një paradë ushtarake në Ahvaz të Iranit në shtator, në të cilën u vranë 29 vetë. Megjithatë Irani tha se i kishte gjurmuar dhe vrarë përgjegjësit, operatorët e ISIS-it, të cilët i kishte fajësuar për masakrën. Kjo shtron pyetjen se përse Irani do të kryente një akt të mëtejshëm dhune në Evropë në një kohë kur Presidenti Rouhani gjendet në një mision diplomatik për të bindur udhëheqësit evropianë që të ruajnë JCPOA-n dhe të rezistojnë duke mos e ndjekur Amerikën në vendosjen e sanksioneve?
Sipas gazetarit izraelit Barak Ravid, Mosadi informoi agjencinë e sigurimit dhe të inteligjencës të Danimarkës për komplotin e vrasjes. Por kjo ishte vetëm e fundit nga një seri komplotesh të ngjashme të pretenduara këtë vit që synonin të implikonin Iranin. Në qershor, në prag të vizitës së Presidentit Rohani në Francë, një komplot me bombë që synonte të godiste kultin Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) ju mvesh inteligjencës iraniane. Më vonë, dy nga komplotuesit dolën se kishin pasur lidhje të vjetra me MEK. Përsëri, Mosadi i kishte dhënë informacione sekrete belgëve të cilët u përgjigjen duke kryer arrestime. Sërish pyetja pa përgjigje që shtrohet është se përse Irani do të bënte veprime të tilla për të rrezikuar marrëdhëniet me Europën dhe në anën tjetër të kërcënonte vazhdimin e marrëveshjes JCPOA?
Paditësit e Iranit nuk kanë arritur të shpjegojnë këtë mospërputhje. Reuters ka shkruar për këtë në një mënyrë fantastike: “Me sa duket Irani po punon shumë prapa skene për të prishur marrëdhëniet e tij me Evropën”. Ngjashëm me këtë Wall Street Journal, që publikoi një seri artikujsh në mënyrë specifike për këtë çështje, nuk ishte në gjendje të krijonte një shpjegim të besueshëm. Kjo media vetëm tha se: “Dyshohet se një agjent iranian deshi të kryejë një komplot sulmi në tokën franceze duke rrezikuar mbështetjen e Evropës për marrëveshjen.” Pse do t’i shërbente përsëri ky veprim interesit të Iranit? Atëherë ndoshta duhet ta kthejmë vëmendjen tek akuzuesit për të marrë shpjegimin se çfarë po ndodh.
Më herët në mars, policia shqiptare arrestoi dy gazetarë iranianë në pension në një aktivitet kulturor në Tiranë. Këtë herë ishte MEK që në mënyrë të rreme pretendonte se Irani kishte dërguar agjentë për të vrarë anëtarët e grupit të tij, baza e të cilit është 30 kilometra larg Tiranës. Personat kishin ardhur me viza të rregullta të lëshuara nga konsullata shqiptare në Turqi për të festuar Nevruzin me ftesë të kryegjyshit botëror Bektashian Baba Mondit. Policia më pas u kërkoi falje për gabimin personave dhe Baba Mondit. Por edhe atëherë mediat shqiptare po paralajmëronin opsione të sulmeve të rreme (false flags) që përfshinin MEK-un.
Një skenar shfaqet në të trija rastet: bazuar në informacionet e Mossadit, objektivi i supozuar identifikohet si një grup anti-iranian, pro-perëndimor, siguria evropiane tregohet e shpejtë për të vepruar, të dyshuarit arrestohen, Reuters jep lajmin, agjentët iranianë janë të implikuar, Sekretari amerikan i Shtetit Mike Pompeo menjëherë dënon Iranin dhe deklaratat e tij transmetohen më tej në mediat amerikane, Irani mohon çdo përfshirje, WSJ dhe mediat e tjera e zbukurojnë historinë me detaje imagjinare të individëve të përfshirë. Duke ditur se kreu i MEK, Maryam Rajavi është në mesin e këtyre akuzuesve lejon një interpretim më të qartë të ngjarjeve.
Në ditët para arrestimit në Danimarkë, udhëheqësja e kultit Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) Maryam Rajavi mbajti takime klandestine me agjentë izraelitë në hotelin Tirana Internacional në Tiranë. Prania e saj në Shqipëri ofron një zgjidhje për zhbllokimin e misterit që rrethon komplotet në të cilat thuhet se janë përfshirë inteligjenca iraniane e akuzuar për komplotet për të vrarë armiqtë në tokën evropiane.
Si lidere de facto e MEK-ut, roli i Rajavit është të ofrojë shërbime për mbështetësit e saj – një intrigë të fortë anti-iraniane për SHBA-në, Izraelin dhe Arabinë Saudite – nëpërmjet punës skllavëruese të anëtarëve të MEK-ut. Rajavi merr fonde për të mbajtur funksionimin e grupit, por këto para nuk ua kalon anëtarëve që bëjnë punën. Që nga rënia e Sadam Huseinit, kërkesat e MEK-ut kanë ndryshuar. Princi Turki al-Faisal, bamirësi i ri i kultit, i cili e bëri prezantimin e tij në veprimtarinë propagandistike të MEK në Villepinte në qershor 2016, ka qenë një ish-shef i inteligjencës. MEK-u i Saddamit / Massoud Rajavit i cili ishte me tepër i militarizuar dhe terrorist tani është zëvendësuar me MEK-un e Turkit / Merjemit dhe është më tepër grup spiunazhi / terrorist. Historia e MEK-ut me veprimtarinë e tij klandestine dhe spiunazhin e tij sa vjen dhe bëhet më e qartë. Rajavi është e motivuar nga mbijetesa e kultit të saj. Ajo do të bëjë gjithçka që është e nevojshme për të siguruar që grupi të mos shpërbëhet. Siç e kanë shpjeguar disa autorë në disa artikuj të mëparshëm, MEK ka një histori të gjatë me gjakderdhje brenda perbrenda grupit për të rritur moralin dhe për të parandaluar dezertimet e mëtejshme.
Në këtë kontekst synimet e MEK-ut janë të qarta; krijimi i një situatë për të fajësuar Iranin. Ka një paraprirje të gjërave. Në Irak, një vit përpara sulmit të diskutueshëm në Kampin Ashraf ku u vranë 53 vetë, MEK bërtiste, “Irani kërkon që të na vrasë”. Hetuesit irakianë nuk u lejuan që të intervistonin të mbijetuarit e MEK-ut. Më vonë në Shqipëri, Malik Sharai, një dëshmitar i atyre ngjarjeve u eliminua. Ish-anëtarët thonë se ai ishte gati që të largohej nga grupi. Ngjashëm me këtë, ndërsa ndodheshin në Kampin Liberty ku udhëheqësit e MEK-ut po përkujtonin ditët e tyre të vuajtjeve, ndodh një sulm me raketa. Ata fajësuan menjëherë Iranin për sulmin, megjithatë hetuesit irakienë nuk gjetën asnjë lidhje të sulmit me Iranin.
Me këtë lloj formimi, duke parë që anëtarët e MEK-ut janë të tillë, ku roli i tyre është të sakrifikojnë jetët e tyre, përfundimi është i zymtë dhe ka per tu shoqëruar me viktima. Dhe nëse komplotet e pretenduara të Iranit të cilat Ministri i Jashtëm Zarif i ka përshkruar si një “seri e pabesueshme rastësore. Ose thjesht një kronologji e një programi të Mosadit për të shkatërruar JCPOA-n”, dështojnë për të krijuar një çarje mes Iranit dhe Evropës, atëherë do të nevojiten masa shumë më drastike. Diçka që do ta detyronte Evropën të reagonte kundër Iranit. Konkluzioni logjik do të ishte krijimi i një operacioni me sulme të rreme (false flags) që do të përfshinte një sulm kundër anëtarëve të MEK-ut në Shqipëri (jashtë Bashkimit Evropian në mënyrë që sulmi të mos mund të pengohej ose të hetohej) gjë që do të linte disa të vdekur dhe ku të mund të fajësohej Irani. Rajavi do të ishte mëse e lumtur ta përmbushte këtë pasi që kjo do ta mbushte bankën e “gjakut të dëshmorëve”, ashtu sic i quan ajo sakrificat e MEK-ut. Gjithashtu do ti motivonte anëtarët e pakënaqur që rregullisht e lënë kultin, ku vetëm javën e kaluar 6 veta ia dolën që të largoheshin nga organizata MEK. Duke menduar këto dhe duke parë takimet e Maryam Rajavit me agjentët izraelitë në hotelin Tirana International në Tiranë, lihet të kuptohet se një ngjarje fatale ka për të qenë e afërt./iranian/Gazeta Impakt