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Our (New) Terrorists' the MEK: Have We Seen This Movie Before?

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opednews.com Headlined to H3 9/27/12

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also crossposted to Huffingtonpost

Especially in light of breaking disclosure from declassified docs that Assange is  now  considered "enemy of the state" and US investigating  their personnel  who meet with WikiLeaks supporters.  (I suppose that ultimately leads to making we supporters of freedom of the press "enemies of the state"?!  How else can the covert support for "terrorist" assassins, "jihads-on-our-side" and so on and so forth--all the manipulations and incitements--continue unfettered unless the end all real investigative reporting?!) 

And what kind of mind-boggling corruption -- of the worst kind -- influence peddling by a "foreign power" (as defined by the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to include foreign terrorist groups) -- lies hidden behind the curtain? Could some members of the MEK "foreign terrorist organization," their murderous history magically erased, be sent to a nice suburb somewhere to live as your next door neighbor as happens with the organized crime "witness protection program?" Or will the soon-to-be-legalized "terrorism" of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (or Mojahedin-e Khalq, usually referred to as MEK) find more utilitarian function in the mode of how U.S. neoconservative officials plotted with and used convicted con artist Ahmad Chalabi and his Iraqi expatriate group to gin up the false "intelligence" that served to launch the unjustified and counter-productive war on Iraq? Even worse, might this new MEK operation end up resembling the sequel to Charlie Wilson's War?

Since we cannot seem to learn from history and therefore seem doomed to repeat our mistakes, all of the above could be true. In any event, the old movie script will require few changes.

From MAK to MEK

The popular 2007 movie Charlie Wilson's War found a way to glorify a rather derelict Texas congressman's exploits and secret appropriations to fund CIA covert assistance to Mujahideen "rebels" (one faction recruited and trained by Osama Bin Laden himself) based on the repeatedly discredited notion that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." As John Hanrahan points out, Hollywood and Tom Hanks also found a way to edit out the real truth: "that the U.S.-aided Mujahedeen's ouster of the Soviets in 1989 ultimately led to civil war and the ultra-orthodox Islamic Taliban coming to power in 1996, an event that also enabled anti-Soviet fighter Osama bin Laden and his fledgling al Qaeda to set up a base from which to plan the 9/11 attacks."

... Osama bin Laden arrived in the country... sent by then-Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki bin Faisal, where he set up the Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK) which helped finance, recruit and train mujahidin fighters. Bin Laden, the MAK, and the Afghan mujahidin in total received about half a billion dollars a year from the CIA, and roughly the same from the Saudis, funneled through Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) 

... Continued US sponsorship of the al-Qaeda-Taliban nexus in Afghanistan was confirmed as late as 2000 in Congressional hearings. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on South Asia, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher -- former White House Special Assistant to President Reagan and now Senior Member of the House International Relations Committee -- declared that 'this administration has a covert policy that has empowered the Taliban and enabled this brutal movement to hold on to power'. The assumption is that 'the Taliban would bring stability to Afghanistan and permit the building of oil pipelines from Central Asia through Afghanistan to Pakistan' -- From "Our Terrorists" by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed in New Internationalist Magazine
In other words, Charlie Wilson's War seriously backfired and was a significant factor that gave rise to the 9-11 attacks. (Incidentally -- and a big reason why there's so little hope of anyone having learned from this sordid history -- is that Dana Rohrabacher happens to be one of the main Congressmen who has now taken big sums of money from the MEK front groups!) An  October 2010 report  ("Restoring Afghanistan's Tribal Balance") for the New World Strategies Coalition described U.S. covert support of the Mujahideen as follows:
During the 'jihad' against the Soviets, the Judeo-Christian West teamed up with violent Islamic radicals of the worst sort, against the Soviets, because they shared a common hatred for the godless communists. The same people American leaders once called 'freedom fighters' throughout the 80's are now [in the current war] violent extremist jihadist terrorists who commit immoral acts and heinous human rights violations that all Americans should find deplorable. Of course, before 9/11 when these 'terrorists' were fighting against the Soviets, they were 'our terrorists' and such human rights violations and war crimes hardly ever made the press. Today, people aren't really supposed to remember nor point out this interesting historical irony, especially within the media.
By fast forwarding 30 years and changing one vowel, (MAK to MEK) we see history repeating almost exactly. There's ample evidence that Iranian MEK terrorists, "our new terrorists," are responsible for conducting assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists. U.S. officials confirmed the charges leveled by Iran's leaders as well as the fact that the killings and bombings in Iran were financed, trained and armed by Israel's secret service. In an exclusive report, NBC reported that:
The group, the People's Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980. 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. -- From NBC Rock Center exclusive report February, 2012

In April of this year, Seymour Hersh reported in the New Yorker article "Our Men in Iran" that members of MEK were also being trained in Nevada by U.S. Joint Special Operation Command for covert actions to topple the Iranian government.

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The following comments are from former U.S. security experts Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett's excellent analysis of the highly politicized flip-flop, "By Delisting the MEK, the Obama Administration is taking the Moral and Strategic Bankruptcy of America's Iran Policy to a New Low":

We have seen too many times over the years just how cynically American administrations have manipulated these designations, adding and removing organizations and countries for reasons that have little or nothing to do with designees' actual involvement in terrorist activity... Yet, precisely because we know how thoroughly corrupt and politicized these designations really are, we recognize their significance as statements of U.S. policy. 

Today, the Obama administration made a truly horrible statement about U.S. policy toward Iran... Just this year, U.S. intelligence officials told high-profile media outlets that the MEK is actively collaborating with Israeli intelligence to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists, see here; Iranian officials have made the same charge. Since when did murdering unarmed civilians (and, in some instances, members of their families as well) on public streets in the middle of a heavily populated urban area (Tehran) not meet even the U.S. government's own professed standard for terrorism? 

...Here, the Obama administration is taking an organization that the U.S. government knows is directly involved in the murder of innocent people and giving this group Washington's "good housekeeping seal of approval."... Count on this: once the MEK is formally off the FTO list -- a legally defined process that will take a few months to play out -- Congress will be appropriating money to support the monafeqin as the vanguard of a new American strategy for regime change in Iran. 

In the 1990s, similar enthusiasm for Ahmad Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress -- who were about as unpopular among Iraqis as the MEK is among Iranians -- led to President Bill Clinton's signing of the Iraq Liberation Act, which paved the way for George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003. The chances for such a scenario to play out with regard to Iran over the next few years -- with even more disastrous consequences for America's strategic and moral standing -- got a lot higher today. 
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Flynt Leverett served as a Middle East expert on George W. Bush's National Security Council staff until the Iraq War and worked previously at the State Department and at the Central Intelligence Agency. Hillary Mann Leverett was the NSC expert on Iran and -- from 2001 to 2003 -- was one of only a few U.S. diplomats authorized to negotiate with the Iranians over Afghanistan, al-Qaeda and Iraq.

Governmental Influence Peddling Barely Hidden

A steady flow totaling in the millions of dollars during these last years has been revealed, funneled through various front groups to latter-day Charlie Wilson U.S. congresspersons, Washington lobbying firms and former high level Department of Justice, Homeland Security, military and U.S. counter-terrorism officials. Check out the excellent reports -- here and here -- of Chris McGreal, a Guardian investigative journalist based in Washington who really did some good research attempting to trace the sordid money trail, writing:

US policy change on banned Iranian group came after extraordinary fundraising operation to transform its image. Only a few years ago, US authorities were arresting pro-MEK activists. To the US government, the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) was a terrorist group alongside al-Qaida, Hamas and the Farc in Colombia. The MEK landed on the list in 1997 with American blood on its hands and by allying itself with Saddam Hussein along with a long list of bombings inside Iran. 

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www.coleenrowley.com

Retired FBI Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel.

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