I’m very excited and pleased to introduce today’s guest poster, Danny Postel, who comes to us with some absolutely chilling revelations about the bad faith of the neoconservatives’ supposed dedication to”freedom”(I know, I know: you’re shocked). Danny is the author of Reading “Legitimation Crisis” in Tehran: Iran and the Future of Liberalism and is co-coordinator of the Committee for Academic and Intellectual Freedom of the International Society for Iranian Studies. —Rick Perlstein By Danny Postel During the week of October 22-26, an official announcement effuses, “The nation will be rocked by the biggest conservative campus protest ever – Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, a wake-up call for Americans on 200 university and college campuses.” Ringmastered by David Horowitz, this circus will be performing under the tent of something called the”Terrorism Awareness Project.” The purpose of this ballyhoolooza, we are told, is to confront the “Big Lies” of the Left regarding terrorism and militant Islam. Worthy subjects, to be sure. Indeed I would like to help the sponsors of the “wake-up call” promote awareness of them. Toward this end, let’s consider the American Right’s “special relationship” with one group of terrorists. The U.S. State Department officially considers the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) a Foreign Terrorist Organization. While those honors date back to 1994, they’ve been renewed during the Bush years. Indeed in 2003 Foggy Bottom went further, including the National Council of Resistance of Iran — an MEK alias — under the terrorist designation. (The MEK is also known as the People’s Mujahedeen.) To make a long and bizarre story short, the MEK got its start in early 1960s Iran, helped overthrow the Shah in 1979, but quickly turned on the revolutionary government it helped bring to power. Employing an ideological blend of Stalinism and Islamism, the tactics of a paramilitary guerilla faction, and the organizational structure of a cult, the group went into exile, eventually making their home in Iraq in the mid-1980s. Not only did Saddam give the organization cover: he armed, funded, and utilized them for a variety of ends over two decades. The group’s wicked political brew was on spectacular display on the old MEK flag (see below; since abandoned) [editor, Iran-Interlink – this is still the official MEK logo], with its sickle and Kalashnikov positioned atop ofbeneath a Koranic verse. (Not — to state the obvious — that the mere presence of a Koranic verse in and of itself implies Islamist political commitments, but in this case the shoe very much fits.) Here you have virtually everything the Right claims to oppose all rolled into one: Islamism, Marxism, terrorism, and Saddam. Naturally, then, neoconservatives would utterly deplore the MEK and everything it stands for, right? The MEK would in fact make an ideal target for Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week and Terrorism Awareness efforts, no? Well, no. At least one of the carnival’s acts, it turns out, is rather fond of the Islamo-Stalinist-terrorist cult group, and has repeatedly argued for the removal of the MEK from the State Department’s list of terrorist groups and indeed urged the U.S. government to embrace it. Daniel Pipes, who will be speaking at Tufts on October 24th as part of the Horowitz high jinks, has made the MEK a recurring theme in his writings going back several years. Pipes has also gone to bat for the MEK right in the pages of Horowitz’s house organ. But Pipes is far from alone on the Right in championing the MEK. He co-authored the first piece linked to above with Patrick Clawson of the right-wing Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Right-wing commentator Max Boot has argued not merely for the removal of the MEK from the terrorist list but for funding and unleashing it to do battle with Iranian forces — this while casually acknowledging that it is a “political cult.” (More on Boot’s disfigured views .) In some cases the MEK plays a stealth role in the media machinery of the American Right. What the FOX News Channel tells viewers about Alireza Jafarzadeh when he appears on its airwaves is that he is an “FNC Foreign Affairs Analyst.” What you have to go to the FOX News website to discover, however, is that Jafarzadeh served “for a dozen years as the chief congressional liaison and media spokesman for the U.S. representative office of Iran’s parliament in exile, the National Council of Resistance of Iran.” But it is scarcely known that the sonorous-sounding National Council of Resistance of Iran is in fact a front name for the MEK. Now, it’s true that Jafarzadeh discontinued his post with the National Council of Resistance of Iran—but only when (and only because) its Washington office was forced to close in 2003 as a result of the State Department decision about it being a front for the MEK. It’s not like he had a change of heart. If you attend an “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” event, you might want to ask the speakers about this terrorist cult and whether they condemn it. Some of them might — not all neoconservatives agree on the MEK. But the fact that several prominent American conservatives have cozied up to an Islamist-Stalinist cult that was on Saddam’s payroll and the State Department considers a terrorist organization — this raises serious questions (to put it mildly) about the Right’s bedfellows and the calculus that determines them. It suggests the need for a little more terrorism awareness. CRIMES AND CORRUPTION OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER NEWS –infowars.net
How Not to Handle the Facts: Max Boot’s Pretzel Logic on Iran
Editor’s note: Los Angeles Times columnist Max Boot argued in an Oct. 25 column, “How to Handle Iran,” that America should aim to topple the Iranian government with cash infusions to guerrilla groups and, perhaps, with American military force. Boot is considered by many to be the “respectable” face of neo-conservatism. A senior fellow for national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and former editorial editor for The Wall Street Journal, he nimbly straddles the mainstream and neocon universes.
There are so many things wrong with Max Boot’s Los Angeles Times column, “How to Handle Iran,” one hardly knows where to begin.
But these “soft” measures aren’t the real deal anyway as far as Boot is concerned, as his column eventually makes clear. Washington needs to consider the option, he writes, “of going beyond peaceful measures to foment change.” Though ruling out an outright invasion, he advocates doing “to Iran what the Iranians are doing to us in Iraq,” that is, “funneling weapons and money to militias that are killing our soldiers.” Among the militias to which he advocates funneling weapons and money is the Mujahedin Khalq (MEK), an outfit Boot himself calls a “leftist political cult.” “Leftist” is euphemistic: The MEK is in fact a Stalinist political cult.
Boot mentions that the MEK “mounted attacks on Iran in the 1980s and 1990s from bases in Iraq,” but conveniently fails to mention that it was funded, supported and given cover throughout that period by Saddam Hussein himself. He also fails to mention that this group is on the State Department’s official list of terrorist organizations. (Several of Boot’s fellow neoconservatives have been campaigning for the MEK to be removed from that list, thus far unsuccessfully.)
It appears not to have occurred to Boot, or to the Mujahedin Khalq’s other conservative supporters, to find out what Iran’s human rights activists and democratic dissidents think of this “cult.” Not surprisingly, the MEK is held in near-universal disdain by those dissidents, precisely because it is a cult, a terrorist body and Stalinist in ideology—that is, undemocratic to the core. Either this contradiction hasn’t occurred to Boot or, worse, it simply doesn’t matter to him.
Likewise with what Boot calls “the only serious option left” when all is said and done: airstrikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities. What does Boot make of the fact that, without exception, every human rights activist and democratic dissident in Iran is categorically opposed to U.S. airstrikes on their country? Does this “inconvenient” fact simply not factor into Boot’s equation, or is it something that must be pushed aside in his calculus?
Whichever the case, Boot can’t have it both ways. Either he fancies himself a supporter of Iran’s democratic dissidents, in which case he has to confront the gaping discrepancies between his positions and theirs (on military strikes, on the MEK, on U.S. funding and on other issues), or he should drop the pretense of representing the views of Iran’s dissidents and frame his position in more honest terms.
As it turns out, Iran’s democratic dissidents have already solved this question for us, by making it clear that they want nothing to do with Boot’s neoconservative agenda. Boot and his fellow travelers would be well served to think through the implications of that fact.
Oct 31, 2006 – Truthdig -By Danny Postel and Nader Hashemi
[Danny Postel is senior editor of openDemocracy (http://www.opendemocracy.net/home/index.jsp) and the author of the forthcoming “Reading ‘Legitimation Crisis’ in Tehran: Iran and the Future of Liberalism” (Prickly Paradigm Press, December). Nader Hashemi is an Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow in the department of political science at Northwestern University and the author of a forthcoming book on Iran and democracy.]