The enemy of my enemy is my friend. ~ Arabian Proverb
Since 9/11, one of the more interesting stories to emerge in recent years about terrorist organizations and the ubiquitous War on Terror has been the not so secret bipartisan relationship and support of American politicians and high ranking government officials with the Iranian terrorist organization, MEK, Mujahedin-e Khalq. So just what is MEK:
Mujahadeen-e-Khalq (MEK) is the largest and most militant group opposed to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Also known as the People’s Mujahadeen Organization of Iran, MEK is led by husband and wife Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. MEK was added to the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist groups in 1997 and to the European Union’s terrorist list in 2002 because its attacks have often killed civilians.
MEK was founded in 1963 by a group of college-educated Iranian leftists, supporters of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq and opposed to the country’s pro-Western ruler, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The group participated in the 1979 Islamic revolution that replaced the shah with a Shiite Islamist regime led by the Ayatollah Khomeini. But MEK’s ideology, a blend of Marxism, feminism, and Islamism, put it at odds with the post-revolutionary government, and its original leadership was soon executed by the Khomeini regime. In 1981, the group was driven from its bases on the Iran-Iraq border and resettled in Paris, where it began supporting Iraq in its eight-year war against Khomeini’s Iran. In 1986, after France recognized the Iranian regime, MEK moved its headquarters to Iraq, which used MEK to harass neighboring Iran. MEK maintained its headquarters in Iraq until the American invasion in 2003 when many members surrendered their weapons.
Under US law it is a felony to provide any “material support” to a terrorist organization but this high profile group has received large fees and passionate support in recent years without the Justice Department so much as blinking. The list includes such luminaries as Republicans Michael Mukasey, Fran Townsend, Andy Card, Tom Ridge, Rudy Giuliani and Democrats Howard Dean, Ed Rendell, Bill Richardson, Wesley Clark. The meetings first came to light in December, 2010 when “America’s Mayor” Rudolph “9/11” Guiliani, along with former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former White House adviser Frances Townsend and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, flew to Paris to speak in support of the group. As Glenn Greenwald points out, “there are several remarkable aspects to this story”:
The first is that there are numerous Muslims inside the U.S. who have been prosecuted for providing “material support for Terrorism” for doing far less than these American politicians are publicly doing on behalf of a designated Terrorist group. [..]
Yet here we have numerous American political figures receiving substantial fees from a group which is legally designated under American law as a Terrorist organization. [..]
If we had anything even remotely approaching equal application of the law, Dean, Giuliani, Townsend and the others would be facing prosecution as Terrorist-helpers.
Glenn’s next questions are “How has this rag-tag Terrorist cult of Iranian dissidents, who are largely despised in Iran, able to fund such expensive campaigns and to keep U.S. officials on its dole?” and why. An NBC News report by Richard Engel and Robert Windrem helped shed some light on this:
Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders. [..]
The attacks, which have killed five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims’ cars.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement. [..]
“The relation is very intricate and close,” said Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior aide to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, speaking of the MEK and Israel. “They (Israelis) are paying … the Mujahedin. Some of their (MEK) agents … (are) providing Israel with information. And they recruit and also manage logistical support.”
Moreover, he said, the Mossad, the Israeli secret service, is training MEK members in Israel on the use of motorcycles and small bombs. In one case, he said, Mossad agents built a replica of the home of an Iranian nuclear scientist so that the assassins could familiarize themselves with the layout prior to the attack. [..]
Two senior U.S. officials confirmed for NBC News the MEK’s role in the assassinations, with one senior official saying, “All your inclinations are correct.” A third official would not confirm or deny the relationship, saying only, “It hasn’t been clearly confirmed yet.” All the officials denied any U.S. involvement in the assassinations.
As it has in the past, Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined comment. Said a spokesman, “As long as we can’t see all the evidence being claimed by NBC, the Foreign Ministry won’t react to every gossip and report being published worldwide.”
For its part, the MEK pointed to a statement calling the allegations “absolutely false.”
Glenn concluded that besides the fact that those who are politically and financially well-connected are free to commit even the most egregious crimes, this “love affair” with MEK underscores how meaningless term “terrorism” is:
it’s just a cynical term designed to delegitimize violence and even political acts undertaken by America’s enemies while shielding from criticism the actual Terrorism undertaken by itself and its allies. The spectacle whereby a designated Terrorist group can pay top American politicians to advocate for them even as they engage in violent Terrorist acts, all while being trained, funded and aided by America’s top client state, should forever end the controversy over that glaringly obvious proposition.
MEK has been attempting to present itself as the sole legitimate opposition to the Iranian regime, going so far as to claim that they are the Green Movement or the government in exile, which the Green Movement denies and a very aggressive and organized lobby effort in Washington D.C. It has obviously found support from anti-Muslims and those politicians who would like nothing more than a war with Iran.