The US, MKO, and the Global War on Terrorism

In a research report by Margaret D. Stock published in Refugee Council USA (RCUSA) in 2006, she has explored one of the stranger and more embarrassing legal conundrums arising out of efforts by the US Congress to tighten the immigration and criminal laws relating to terrorism. The case she delved into is the terrorist organization (MKO, MEK, PMOI, NCR, NLA) that since 1997 the Secretary of State Madeleine Albright designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), a group that has since remained on the list.

As The Department of Justice has been prosecuting and deporting persons who provide material support to MKO, at the same time, the Department of Defense has designated Iraq-based members of the group as “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention, and is maintaining its members at Camp Ashraf in Iraq, where in full awareness of its designation as a FTO the U.S. military personnel provide “material support” to the group.

Although four years old, the research report gives especial attention to the existing internal conflict in the administration wherein some party equivocate about the nature and the status of the organization for certain political interests. And MKO has long survived in Washington policy crevices and has been rallying support from conflicting factions to challenge its designation on the list. Cunning seizers of opportunity as MKO is, it knows when to take advantage of a created political gap between the administration and the group’s adversary in the political arena. As Ervand Abrahamian, a history professor at Baruch College in New York asserts about MKO, "They have a lot of money. They have spokesmen who know how to deal with congressmen and the press. But people who sign their petitions don’t know anything about the mujahedeen. […] It’s hypocritical. If we are running a war against terrorism and one day we define a group as terrorists and the next day they cease to be terrorists, that undermines U.S. credibility."
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