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Poor Judgment of Both MKO and its Advocates

Time is running short to vacate camp Ashraf, according to the US State Department. Following the stall in the relocation process of the residents of Camp Ashraf, the State Department has Poor Judgment of Both MKO and its Advocatesseveral times warned the Mujahedin Khalq Organization that their time to leave the Camp is on the verge of deadline. [1]

After the June 18th special briefing on Camp Ashraf at the DOS, again on Friday July 6, the departments’ coordinator for counter terrorism, Daniel Benjamin said that the MKO should not assume that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will decide to remove the group from the US terrorism list, according to the Associated Press.

The MKO pushes its propaganda machine in hope of being delisted from the US Foreign Terrorist Organization list thanks to their multimillion-dollar campaign of western politicians. As part of strategy, supporters of the group have recruited prominent former lawmakers and government officials from both parties to appear at pro-MEK events in both the US and Europe. [2]

July 6th Washington Post’s piece on the problematic issue of the MKO reports of “new questions” that “have been raised about weather private meetings, conference calls and other contacts with officials at the State Department and elsewhere in the administration over the past year require the advocates’ registration as lobbyist or agents of a foreign entity.” [3]

“Under federal law advocates for foreign organizations are required to register as lobbyists and provide details about their clients and income. But the MEK supporters have not registered, which would require disclosing the amounts they are paid and the identities of officials with whom they meet.”[4]

Thus, advocating for the cause of the MKO includes paid speeches of US prominent politicians and their calls and meetings with the state department to represent the interests of the group.
This kind of activities simply meets the definition of lobbying under the foreign Agent Registration Act. [5]

The lobbyists for the MKO are actually acting for a foreign agent. As Washington Post says, federal lobbying law defines a foreign agent as someone who acts “at the order, request, or under the direction or control, of a foreign principal, or of a person any of whose activities are directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed, or subsidized in whole or in part by a foreign principal.”[6]

Definitely the MKO is a foreign principal and those who run their cause in the US administration are foreign agents so FARA applies to them. But why such a disgrace seems so trivial to a foreign terrorist designated group’s supporters? Because of greed, cluelessness and poor judgment according to Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. [7]

Elizabeth Flack of the USNews writes in her piece on the group’s “big money to make history go away”, ”Ask any politicians who has supported the MEK ,though and they are unlikely to be able to tell you very much about the group or its history”. [8]

About greed it should be said that the money the MKO offers is obviously enough to tempt that big number of prominent former officials. Even if the MKO weren’t considered as an FTO the lobbyist of the group are required to register as their foreign agent,” A USNews investigation found that three major lobbying firms were together paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by US based Iranian-American community groups with ties to the MEK to drum up support for the resolution, writes Flock. [9]

As “skilled manipulators of public opinion”, according to RAND report, the MKO’s masterful use of propaganda is hard to resist for their targets.” there’s no doubt the MEK knows how to charm, writes Elizabeth Flock. She refers to the group’s spokesman Shahin Qobadi’s allegations and the time he spends on answering questions — actually manipulating the media. [10]

Karim Sadjadpour told the media that the MKO is working hard to take the gesture of a popular democratic opposition group.”The reality is that they’re neither popular nor democratic”, he said. [11]

Since the MEK’s American advocates obviously know so little about the group’s history, why should anyone else trust their judgment when they say that the group shouldn’t remain on the FTO list, wonders Daniel Larison of the American Conservative. [12]

As a matter of fact poor judgment is not only by the side of the group advocates but also is the MKO itself on wrong way.” While it initially looked as though the M.E.K. would be delisted in October, new comments from the White House suggest the group won’t be.”, concludes Flock. [13]

Earlier the DOS officials told reporters that t he MKO may have ‘over interpreted “the court’s ruling and they are “quite plainly, wrong” if they think that the Secretary Clinton is ruled by the court to delist them. [14]

Poor judgment is the explanation to justify the MKO’s expectation from the US administration and its supporter’s blind advocacy.

By Mazda Parsi

[1]The Associated Press, US pushes Iran opposition to vacate Iraq Camp, July6, 2012
[2]Warrick,Joby, Julie, High-priced advocacy raises questions for supporters of Iranian exile group, the Washington Post,July6,2012
[7] Flock, Elizabeth, Iranian Terrorist Group MEK Pays Big to make History Go Away, the US News, July6, 2012
[12]Larison, Daniel ,The Greed, Cluelessness, and Poor Judgment of the MEK’s American Advocates, the American Conservative, July8, 2012
[13] Flock, Elizabeth, Iranian Terrorist Group MEK Pays Big to make History Go Away, the US News, July6, 2012
[14] Special Briefing, Background Briefing: Senior Administration Officials on Camp Ashraf, June 18, 2012

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