Patrick Clawson in his article titled “ A Roadmap for the Foreign Terrorist Organization List ” dated April 25, 2008, rightfully questions a lack of objective criteria for de-listing an organization deemed at some point to be a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). A direct reference to Mojahedin-e Khalgh Organization with its diverse aliases such as MEK, MKO, PMOI, OPMI, NCR, NCRI, NLA, to name just a few, draw my attention to the Clawson’s views. I was nudged by further curiosity when I noticed that a Farsi translation of Clawson’s article had appeared on MEK’s propaganda apparatus even before its seemingly original English version was published. Although MEK has a long history in using deceptive tactics, here I have no intention to draw a conclusion that Patrick Clawson is somehow linked to the MEK’s demagoguery.
My close proximity to MEK’s headquarter in Paris, France, and my direct access to inside information of this group made it hard for me not to respond to Clawson’s article and the serious flaws in his views; nor could I resist my desire to reveal the true nature of MEK and its unbridled terrorism at the core of its existence.
Clawson complains about absence of clarity in the process of revocation of an FTO designee “even after the organizations have denounced terrorism for many years….” He then goes on to contest the designation of MEK as an FTO, and in doing so refers to irrefutable evidence about the group’s history as irrelevant. [Even at this point I am still resisting the link between Clawson and MEK]. However, I feel confident to say that Clawson is much misinformed about MEK and his views of the group depict a serious lack of good judgment about its nature and deceptive tactics.
1- I challenge Clawson to produce even one credible evidence that shows MEK has publicly denounced violence and terrorism. MEK has always maintained that he has never involved in terrorism rather they use the term “revolutionary resistance.” The true question that MEK and Clawson need to answer is this: Do you believe that MEK has engaged in terrorist activities in the past? If so, when and how? And if the answer to this question is affirmative, when did MEK publicly denounce such acts?
2- MEK deserves to remain as an FTO due to its cultic and violence-loving nature evident by the treatment of its own members, its close cooperation with the former Iraqi dictator, and its participation in killing scores of innocent civilians in the name of “revolutionary resistance.
3- After the 1979 revolution in Iran MEK routinely questioned the Islamic regime for their lack of Anti US zeal. They argued that it was MEK and its supporters who took over the US embassy in Tehran but the Islamic republic took credit for it. They publicly touted their killing of US service men and wrote poems about the killing, and yet they shamelessly deny they did that today. What is even more pathetic is that Clawson has fallen for such demagogy.
4- I also challenge Clawson on his view of the European Court ruling in December 2006. I have serious doubts that if the author has bothered to read the actual ruling. In that, the Court denied MEK’s request to nullify the EU’s list of terror group in which MEK is remained for years. Yet, the group falsely claims the reverse. I have repeatedly asked MEK to translate the court’s ruling into Farsi and publish it publicly in its entirety, they have refused to do so. They have only done so for the favorable part of the ruling in which the court had ordered unfreezing of their assets due to lack of due process. The court never concluded that MEK should be removed of the EU’s terror list. To prove my point, I invite Mr. Clawson to a public debate about his views on MEK. I am confident to have little difficulty to prove Clawson’s lack of familiarity with MEK and its deceptive propaganda.
5- I support a regime change in Iran. However, I do not see a major difference between the MEK, its fanatic anti US nature, violence-driven motives, and its unbridled terrorism than those of the ruling Mullahs. Iranians historically have been a peace-loving nation. They detest the MEK.
6- The US Court of appeals has ruled many times that MEK by its own admission has been actively involved in terrorist activities. Alas and alack, Clawson has never bothered to review such legal decisions, instead has referred himself to some false information propagated by MEK with the intention to deceive its audience.
In short, de-classification of MEK from the evidence-based terror group takes more than just private whispering of anti-terrorism statements with no real substance in practice. It demands a sincere review of the past terrorist activities coupled with a public commitment to a declaration of non-violence and peaceful activities. Moreover, it requires recognizing and honoring the basic human rights of MEK’s members, and unobstructed access to the free world and family members, something that MEK has denied its members for years. MEK’s current publications are full of glorification of violence and support for terrorism for their Farsi speaking audience. This is a clear contradiction to what Clawson has claimed that the group has denounced terrorism for years. The roadmap to de-proscribing of terror list cannot be based on false and misleading information let alone demagogy.
By Ahmad Baaraan, Paris