A recent UK Court of Appeals decision to uphold a lower court ruling that PMOI (MEK, or MKO) is no longer “concerned in terrorism” revealed serious flaws and a lack of sophistication in the UK legal framework when it comes to combating terrorism. In addition to other vital means, a serious fight against terrorism requires a mature legal system that could not be easily manipulated by deceptive tactics and faulty reasoning developed by terrorist organisations in their efforts to take advantage of our legal apparatus with its pre-911 outlook and structure. After all, leaders of such organisations are known to be masters of deception and PMOI’s leaders are no exception.
Paragraph 38 of the above ruling that has been quoted by the press appears to be the pivotal wisdom behind the UK Appeals Court decision
38- An organisation that has temporarily ceased from terrorist activities for tactical reasons is to be contrasted with an organisation that has decided to attempt to achieve its aims by other than violent means. The latter cannot be said to be ‘concerned in terrorism’, even if the possibility exists that it might decide to revert to terrorism in the future.
In Paragraph 16, the Court takes note of the PMOI statement that: “The PMOI’s permanent cessation of any military activity is the result of a deliberate choice to abandon all military action and instead to use political will as a means of bringing about freedom and democracy in Iran. Taking account of domestic and international circumstances, the PMOI decided at an extraordinary Congress held in Iraq in June 2001, to put an end to its military activities in Iran (i.e. to all its military activities). The decision taken by the extraordinary Congress was ratified by the two ordinary congresses organised in early September 2001 and 2003. This policy has been stated publicly and the PMOI’s leadership and membership signed statements to this effect.”
The Court then quotes several other statements purported to be made by the PMOI and its representatives “denouncing terrorism.” To better illustrate the flaws in the Court’s thinking that led to its erroneous decision, I have quoted most of these statements below directly from the Court’s ruling:
29. On 6 September 2004, in a public and formal address, then PMOI Secretary General, Mrs Moj[g]an Parsai, announced, ‘As it has declared on many occasions, the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran condemns all forms of terrorism and has played a major role in a combating terrorism and fundamentalism under the banner of Islam – inspired by the clerical regime…
In February 2006, in her speech on the anniversary of the fall of the Shah, the PMOI’s current Secretary-General, Ms Sedigheh Hosseini, who was elected in September 2005, again condemned violence and called for a peaceful solution. She said ‘We have said before and reiterate now that we are categorically opposed to and condemn any type of violence.’ She added, ‘We announced our commitment to the call by the Iranian Resistance’s President-elect in October 2003 for a referendum… ”
49- (a) there was a significant change in the nature of the PMOI’s activities in 2001 and thereafter, and…
(c) the nature of the rhetoric employed in their publications and propaganda by the PMOI and other, related, organisations such as NCRI, changed significantly during 2001 and 2002 such that, from 2002, we were not shown any material which either claimed responsibility for any acts that could fall within the definition of terrorism for the purposes of the Act or even reported the actions of others carrying out such activities
To realise the manipulations and deceptive tactics that led to PMOI/Mek outsmarting the UK Courts, one needs to understand the language behind the statement attributed to the organisation. Just like any other cultic group, PMOI has its own lingo with self-serving definitions of words and phrases. This is even more true when it comes to defining loaded terms such as “terrorism.” The following arguments can be made to illustrate the disingenuous and demagoguery nature of the group’s statements to the court in “denouncing terrorism.” They also show the lack of sophistication in the EU legal system PMOI has taken advantage of.
The truth of the matter is, not only has MEK refused to denounce violence in its Farsi (Persian) publications, but a review of its recent Farsi materials reveals the opposite. A true denouncement of terrorism should start with a publicly-stated commitment to peaceful and non-violent agenda in the group’s mainstream media, and in its native language. To whisper anti-terror statements to non-Iranian audience without first defining terrorism, and yet publicly glorifying violence under the façade of “revolutionary military resistance” is a known deceptive tactic for those familiar with terror groups. When PLO decided to abandon its military campaign against Israel, and before it was taken seriously by the international community, they publicly announced the shift in their views for their own people in their native tongue, Arabic. PLO also publicly vouched for its commitment to peaceful settlement of its conflicts with Israel followed by announcing its readiness to join the negotiation table.
This is a good paradigm to gauge MEK’s sincerity in its non-violent and peaceful approach, if indeed such commitment exists. PMOI has never believed that its past and present actions have amounted to terrorism. Therefore, when they make private statements denouncing terrorism, what they actually mean is denouncing the actions of others deemed to fall under the definition of “terrorism” in the group’s own dictionary.
The mullahs in Iran, rightly branded as the godfather of international terrorism, have done exactly the same. They too denounce terrorism, and even see themselves as the “victim” of such acts. They do this because they see the actions of others (their opponents) as terrorist activities, not their own. It seems as though the term terrorism is defined by the subjective underlying beliefs and causes of its perpetrators. PMOI claims whatever they do is aimed at the toppling of an oppressive regime, therefore it is justified. Consequently, violence and killing of others is not labelled as terrorism, it is worded as “revolutionary military resistance” as stated in the PMOI’s various Farsi (Persian) publications.
To make my point even clearer, I pose the following key, yet simple question to those who seem to have believed PMOI’s private statement in denouncing terrorism. Does PMOI believe that its military actions in the past fit the definition of terrorism? Any answer but a definitive “yes” to this question leads to a logical conclusion that relying on the PMOI’s private remarks in denouncing what the group considers as terrorism is akin to believing Hitler’s orations in endorsing friendship and cooperation among neighbours. It is a pure manipulation.
The core philosophy of PMOI’s existence is based on violence and terrorism. This is depicted in the group’s emblem as well as the logo of the group’s Farsi (Persian) weekly, the Mojahed.
As seen in the pictures above (left), there is a Koran verse that sits on top of a globe. The informal translation of this verse reads “God has given His priority and special blessings to the warriors (Mujahedin) of His path than the non-warriors (sitters).” This crystallises MEK’s core ideology to establish a world under the Islamic laws. The Earth meridian on the left side of the globe emphasises MEK’s beliefs in internationalism. Also as evident in the emblem, the term Mojahed has graphically metamorphosed into an arm bearing a rifle. This is meant to portray MEK’s core philosophy that military might is the only means of achieving the organization’s goals. The picture on the right is the PMOI’s weekly logo. In this logo, a mirror image of the word MOJAHED in projected as a rifle (April 30, 2008), again, to depict the group’s core view that violence and terrorism is the way to go. The Farsi statement at the bottom of the pictures above refers to National Liberation Army (NLA), the group’s main apparatus of violence and terrorism, and reads “long live NLA as the mighty arm of the heroic people of Iran.” (Mojahed weekly, No. 906, May 7, 2008).
Once again, emphasizing violence and terrorism as the PMOI’s main artery of its existence. With regard to the absence of terror activities by MEK in the past five years (supposedly the threshold period for removal from the FTO list), it would suffice to remind the English maxim that “the wolf may lose his teeth but never his nature.” The group was disarmed after the coalition forces raided Camp Ashraf in 2003, effectively pulling the teeth of its terror machine. The savage nature of PMOI has remained intact, however.
A strong court system is needed if we are serious in combating terrorism. The UK court fell short of a mature legal framework when it was manipulated by the PMOI. This should teach other courts in EU to be alert and cognizant of terror groups tactics. Terror groups like PMOI are capable of deceiving politicians and the public. They take advantage of a porous legal system and waylay for the due time to show their true barbaric nature.
Ahmad Baaraan – Paris, May 19, 2008 – [email protected]