Why are the US allowed to train MEK terrorists?

If you have any lingering doubt that the US-lead and British-supported "War on Terror" is a propaganda label for a cynical and violent campaign of political and economic self-interest, Why are the US allowed to train MEK terrorists? consider the revelations published by investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, for New Yorker online. He reveals that during the Bush Administration, starting in 2005, US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) were training forces of the Mujahideen e-Khalk (MEK), a dissident Iranian group who were and still are on the US terrorist list. This training took place on US soil, Nevada, and in secret, covering communication, cryptography, small arms and weaponry.

It is currently a criminal offence to provide "material support" to any organisation on the US terrorist list and, this includes mere advice. Thus, if you personally advise a terrorist organisation to put down its weapons and pursue peaceful means, you are still, according to US law, providing material support and committing a very serious crime.Why are the US allowed to train MEK terrorists?

And, yet, JSOC were actually training members of a designated terrorist organisation on US soil, presumably, with Presidential approval. No-one has been charged for this crime and no investigations are being promised by the Obama Administration.

Whilst the training of MEK stopped before Obama entered office, the alliance between top-ranking US officials and MEK did not. Follow recent revelations, the Treasury Department has commenced an investigation into evidence that two dozen former high-ranking US officials were paid thousands of dollars by the MEK to speechify and lobby (as much as $30,000 for a speech) on their behalf in the US corridors of power. As Glenn Greenwald writes in his blog at salon.com:

"These officials include several prominent George W. Bush Administration anti-terror officials like Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge, Homeland Security advisor Frances Fragos Townsend, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, UN ambassador John Bolton; as well as former Republican Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani; former Democratic governors Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and Howard Dean of Vermont; ex-FBI Director Louis Freeh; and retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton. These former officials have given speeches at home and abroad urging the State Department to remove the MEK from the FTO list."

This eye-opening list of the recent US “great and good” reveals the utterly subjective approach to Washington’s interpretation of terrorist – as well as their contempt for law (law is something that applies to ordinary people, not the powerful). It has been argued that the MEK do not deserve to be on the terrorist list, having officially renounced violence. The group are accused of having killed three US Army Officers and three US civilians in the 1970s. Now, however, they and their promoters claim that they are a liberal government-in-exile, campaigning for the downfall of the Iranian regime and bring democracy to that country.

However, it would appear that the MEK are still involved in violent attacks, as proxies for Israel and, perhaps, the US. An NBC report into the recent string of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists cited US officials claims that they were carried out by the MEK, at the direction of the Israeli secret service, Mossad. Given the US government’s unshakeable solidarity and funding of Israel, regardless of illegal activity, most commentators acknowledge that the US, though not, perhaps, being directly involved, had some awareness of the assassination campaign, possibly, Seymour Hersh suggests, providing intelligence to Mossad.

Were these assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists terrorist acts? Despite its wide use and devastating consequences (you are stripped of your right to a fair trial and, even your life, if you are accused of being a senior member of a terrorist organisation), the accusation of "terrorist" does not have a clearly defined meaning. However, given that the MEK attacks were on civilians (scientists are not combatants), that no evidence exists that Iran, as agreed by Israeli and US intelligence, are currently pursuing a nuclear weapons programme and, that Iran does not, therefore, pose Israel or the US an imminent threat, the acts clearly violated international law – and, needless to say, basic humanity.

If there was an objective definition of terrorism, the nuclear scientist assassinations must surely fall with it – and therefore, implicate the US government in terrorist activities. However, no such definition exists. As the US officials’ support and training of the MEK reveals, a terrorist is a person or that the US decides should be a terrorist.

It is clear, therefore, that not only were the US military training a terrorist organisation but that training and support has been used to commit acts of murder in Iran. This is acceptable to the US government because the Iranians are the "bad guys" and anyone who attacks them, be it terrorist organisation or extremists, are "good guys". US law might complicate this simple binary world view – but the law is not important, it can be ignored when it becomes troublesome. After all, no Bush administration government official has been prosecuted for the now established illegal Iraq war, torture tactics or warrantless phone-tapping of US citizens. Why should US elites worry about supporting terrorists?

References
Seymour M. Hersh: Our Men in Iran – New Yorker blog
Glenn Greenwald: MEK and its Material Supporters in Washington – Salon.com
Glenn Greenwald (Youtube video): Terror and Terrorism are Meaningless Propaganda Terms – University of California Television

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