-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
The Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK/MKO) has been designated a terrorist organization since 1997 when the Clinton administration put the MEK on the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The Bush administration added two alleged MEK front organizations to the State Department’s terrorist list in 2003.
The MEK is currently engaged in an extensive campaign to get delisted, and a decision by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is due shortly . The MEK is spending the big bucks to influence that decision.
Private jets to speaking engagements and fees that range from $25,000 to $100,000 have gone to a wide political spectra of speakers:
Lee Hamilton, former co-chair of the 9/11 Commission; former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, Howard Dean, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee; Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York; Michael Mukasey, the former US attorney general; Andrew Card, former White House chief of staff under George W. Bush; Tom Ridge, the former US homeland security chief; Bill Richardson, the former secretary of Energy; Gen. Peter Pace, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Wesley Clark, the former Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO; James Jones, President Obama’s former national security adviser; Gen. Anthony Zinni, the former commander of CENTCOM; former CIA chiefs James Woolsey, Porter Goss, and Michael Hayden; Louis Freeh, former FBI director; Gen. James Conway, former Commandant of the Marine Corps; and P.J. Crowley, the former US State Dept. spokesman.
That list is depressing. That these people would sell their names and reputations is shameful. The speaking fees are paid by local Iranian-American groups and contracts specifically state that “We are not a front organization for the MEK,” in a crude effort to skirt US laws regarding the support of terrorist organizations.
David Cole, a law professor at Georgetown, argues that via Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, “such speech could contribute to the group’s ‘legitimacy’ and thus increase its ability to obtain support elsewhere that could be turned to terrorist ends.” In Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, Chief Justice Roberts writes:
The statute reaches only material support coordinated with or under the direction of a designated foreign terrorist organization. Independent advocacy that might be viewed as promoting the group’s legitimacy is not covered.
However, the speakers are not independent advocates.
In an article for National Review Online, Michael B. Mukasey, Tom Ridge, and Rudolph W. Giuliani wrote that the MEK was not a terrorist group without mentioning that they are paid agents of the MEK. The authors credit the MEK with supplying “valuable intelligence.” This claim deals with Iran’s undeclared uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz. However, senior U.S. national-security officials say that all the major revelations regarding nuclear advances in Iran were reported in classified form–and from other sources–to U.S. policymakers before MEK made them public. Others claim that the Natanz information was funneled through MEK by Israel, who has a long history of supporting and funding MEK.
Iranian Green Movement spokesmen Mohsen Kadivar and Ahmad Sadri wrote that removing MEK from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations “promises to spell disaster for the pro-democracy movement in Iran, and will be a devastating setback in the country’s attempts to move forward.” The Iranian Green Movement doesn’t want anything to do with MEK.
Newsweek correspondent Maziar Bahari, who was jailed in Iran amid the unrest that followed the country’s contentious 2009 presidential election, believes the move could have damaging implications: “The delisting of the MKO would send the wrong signal to those young Iranians who have been pushing for democracy peacefully in the past 2 1/2 years.”