Republicans’ Support for MKO Angers US Media
The US Republicans’ increasing support for the anti-Iran terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) and their extensive lobbying for taking the group off the list of terrorist organizations have received harsh reactions from the side of the US political analysts and media.
Lawrence Davidson, a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania, wrote in an article titled "Republicans Give Aid to Terrorists", published by consortiumnews website, that US hypocrisy regarding terrorism is one of those topics that Official Washington typically ignores.
Politicians and the press wax indignant about "terrorists" who lack powerful American defenders, but then look the other way or find excuses when the "terrorists" are on "our side", Davidson wrote.
The most glaring examples have related to right-wing Cuban terrorists who had close ties to the Bush Family, but there are also double standards regarding Mid-East groups, Lawrence Davidson notes.
Here is an interesting piece of news from the Washington Post: "A group of prominent US Republicans" went to Paris last month to attend a rally of the French Committee for a Democratic Iran. This organization just happens to be intimately connected with the MKO.
"And what is the MKO? It is an Iranian exile group, originally Marxist in ideology that has been on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations since 1997. And, as we will see, our "prominent Republican" visitors knew of this connection – knew it and apparently were not put off by the fact at all," Davidson added.
As described by the Washington Post, there were former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, former White House homeland security adviser Frances F. Townsend and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey publically demanding that "Obama…take the controversial Mojahedin-e Khalq opposition group off the US list of foreign terrorist organizations and incorporate it into efforts to overturn the government in Tehran".
In other words, these four stalwart defenders of the homeland from terrorism were lending material support to a designated terrorist organization through speech that was coordinated to enhance the cause of that group, the report added.
Meantime, David Cole, one of the best civil rights lawyers in the US explains the situation in a New York Times op-ed : "The problem is that the United States government has labeled the Mojahedin-e Khalq a ‘foreign terrorist organization,’ making it a crime to provide it, directly or indirectly, with any material support. And, according to the Justice Department …material support includes not only cash and other tangible aid, but also speech coordinated with a ‘foreign terrorist organization’ for its benefit."
As Cole points out, this law is a serious infringement of the First Amendment rights of US citizens and it was recently challenged in the courts in the case "Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project."
It was the Obama administration that successfully upheld the law before the Supreme Court.
Subsequently, the FBI has been issuing subpoenas and raiding homes of people in Chicago and Minneapolis who allegedly have connections with Palestinian and Columbian resistance organizations.
The actions of these republicans should create a dilemma for President Obama. Consistency in applying the law demands that he make sure that Giuliani, Ridge, Townsend and Mukasey are treated in the same way his Justice Department is treating people in Chicago and Minneapolis.
The MKO, whose main stronghold is in Iraq, is blacklisted by much of the international community, including the United States.
Before an overture by the EU, the MKO was on the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations subject to an EU-wide assets freeze. Yet, the MKO puppet leader, Maryam Rajavi, who has residency in France, regularly visited Brussels and despite the ban enjoyed full freedom in Europe.
The MKO is behind a slew of assassinations and bombings inside Iran, a number of EU parliamentarians said in a recent letter in which they slammed a British court decision to remove the MKO from the British terror list. The EU officials also added that the group has no public support within Iran because of their role in helping Saddam Hussein in the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-1988).
Many of the MKO members abandoned the terrorist organization while most of those still remaining in the camp are said to be willing to quit but are under pressure and torture not to do so.
A May 2005 Human Rights Watch report accused the MKO of running prison camps in Iraq and committing human rights violations.
According to the Human Rights Watch report, the outlawed group puts defectors under torture and jail terms.
The group, founded in the 1960s, blended elements of Islamism and Stalinism and participated in the overthrow of the US-backed Shah of Iran in 1979. Ahead of the revolution, the MKO conducted attacks and assassinations against both Iranian and Western targets.
Leaders of the group have been fighting to shed its terrorist tag after a series of bloody anti-Western attacks in the 1970s, and nearly 30 years of violent struggle against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In recent months, high-ranking MKO members have been lobbying governments around the world in the hope of acknowledgement as a legitimate opposition group.
The UK initiative, however, prompted the European Union to establish relations with the exiled organization now based in Paris. The European Court of First Instance threw its weight behind the MKO in December and annulled its previous decision to freeze its funds.
The group started assassination of the citizens and officials after the revolution in a bid to take control of the newly established Islamic Republic. It killed several of Iran’s new leaders in the early years after the revolution, including the then President, Mohammad Ali Rajayee, Prime Minister, Mohammad Javad Bahonar and the Judiciary Chief, Mohammad Hossein Beheshti who were killed in bomb attacks by MKO members in 1981.
The group fled to Iraq in 1986, where it was protected by Saddam Hussein and where it helped the Iraqi dictator suppress Shiite and Kurd uprisings in the country.
The terrorist group joined Saddam’s army during the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-1988) and helped Saddam and killed thousands of Iranian civilians and soldiers during the US-backed Iraqi imposed war on Iran.
Since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the group, which now adheres to a pro-free-market philosophy, has been strongly backed by neo-conservatives in the United States, who also argue for the MKO to be taken off the US terror list.
The MKO has been in Iraq’s Diyala province since the 1980s.
Iraqi security forces took control of the training base of the MKO at Camp Ashraf – about 60km (37 miles) north of Baghdad – last year and detained dozens of the members of the terrorist group.
The Iraqi authority also changed the name of the military center from Camp Ashraf to the Camp of New Iraq.