One of the major news stories today on the Iranian satellite television channel Simaye Azadi was the favorable news coverage the MEK (Rajavi Cult) received on September 24, 2005 in the New York Times and in the International Herald Tribune. Craig S. Smith’s article appeared as “Exiled Iranians Try to Foment Revolution From France” in the New York Times and as “An implacable opponent to the mullahs of Iran” in the International Herald Tribune.
Both newspapers reported the statements of Maryam Rajavi during an interview at MEK headquarters in Auvers-Sur-Oise, France. While the reporter raised questions about or mentioned frequent criticisms of the MEK (cult organization, mandatory divorce, members burning themselves to death, the unusual marriage of Massoud Rajavi and of Maryam Rajavi), the newspapers published Maryam Rajavi’s responses without identifying factual errors. For example:
“She denies that the movement ever accepted financial support from Iraq or fought against Iraqi Shiites and Kurds on Mr. Hussein’s behalf, as some people claim.”
Smith included a description of Maryam Rajavi that readers of the New York Times who believed that Fidel Castro was the “George Washington of Cuba” will find endearing: “She speaks volumes on a Castro-like scale”- The New York Times’ support for Castro’s 1959 takeover of Cuba was so strong that the National Review responded by placing a picture of Fidel Castro on its cover with the words: “I got my job through the New York Times”.
On September 12, 2002, President George W. Bush spoke to the United Nations General Assembly. His Office of the Press Secretary distributed a background paper supporting his remarks: "A Decade of Deception and Defiance". The section “Saddam Hussein’s Support for International Terrorism” included the MEK and did not include al-Qaeda:
“Iraq shelters terrorist groups including the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO), which has used terrorist violence against Iran and in the 1970s was responsible for killing several U.S. military personnel and U.S. civilians.”
President George W. Bush employed two major pretexts to dupe Americans into supporting the Iraq War: (1) extend the war on terror to Iraq, a major sponsor of terrorist organizations such as the MEK (2) find and destroy weapons of mass destruction before Saddam Hussein uses the weapons or sells the weapons to terrorists.
The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune have published claims contrary to American government reports. On October 13, 2004, Newsweek published “Shades of Gray” by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball.
The Newsweek article contains details counter to New York Times and International Herald Tribune articles:
1. Chief U.S. weapons inspector Charles Duelfer’s report includes evidence that Saddam Hussein allocated approximately $16 million of oil to the MEK over a 4-year period prior to the Iraq War. Saddam Hussein made the allocations using the United Nations-managed Oil-for-Food program. Saddam Hussein signed approvals to add any group to the Oil Allocation Recipient List.
2. The MEK’s response was that Iranian intelligence agents must have been involved with placing the MEK on the list!
3. MEK war crimes in Iraq:
But a U.S. official told NEWSWEEK that more recent reporting from Camp Ashraf indicates that about 40 MEK members have been identified as possible candidates for prosecution. Most likely, the official said, the prosecutions would take place in Iraq, where MEK members might be charged with crimes against humanity or war crimes associated with assistance they provided Saddam’s regime including acting as a paramilitary force to suppress uprisings by the Shia. Another handful, perhaps four to six, might be brought to the United States for prosecution for terrorist-related acts or other crimes, the official said.”
Quiz: Who is publishing the truth about the MEK: Maryam Rajavi, New York Times and the International Herald Tribune, President George W. Bush, or Newsweek?
Please email your answers and references to: [email protected]
“A Decade of Deception and Defiance”, Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, September 12, 2002.
Brennan, Phil, “The New York Times: The “Newspaper of Record”- Some Record, Ether Zone, January 30, 2002.
Isikoff, Michael, and Mark Hosenball, “Shades of Gray”, Newsweek, October 13, 2004.