MeK should be de-listed, yet speaking fee sources investigated?

Editor’s Note – It is interesting to ponder why the Mujahedin e-Khalq (MeK) is still listed on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations while the Taliban are not. In 2009, the European Union de-listed the MeK, yet they remain on the list.

One wonders why a pro-western group, wrongly added to the list by the Clinton Administration in 1997; a legitimate resistance group fighting to overthrow Iran,  a group who has been very instrumental in aiding the west against Iran, is not rewarded for its great work. It is asserted by many that the Clinton Administration did so to appease and aid talks with Iran back then, but it certainly did not work.

Now it is difficult to understand why the Hillary Clinton led State Department will not act positively on behalf of the MeK. Why? Maybe because they want the law to stand so they can go after certain people. When we weigh the decisions of the Holder DoJ on who gets investigated versus those allowed to walk off Scott-free it defies credulity. But why Shelton, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs who was appointed by Clinton in 1997, why Louis Freeh, also appointed by Clinton in 1993 to head the FBI?

Well, it appears that anyone defending an arch-enemy of Iran is fair game. How does that add up in our current war of words on Iran? Perhaps its a ploy to show that they are acting this way to off set the public furor over other non-investigations, or partisan investigations the Holder DoJ is conducting. There seems to be no rhyme or reason.

Ex-US officials investigated over speeches to Iranian dissident group on terror list

MSNBC Open Channel

By Michael Isikoff, National investigative correspondent

Speaking firms representing ex-FBI Director Louis Freeh and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton have received federal subpoenas as part of an expanding investigation into the source of payments to former top government officials who have publicly advocated removing an Iranian dissident group from the State Department list of terrorist groups, three sources familiar with the investigation told NBC News.

The investigation, being conducted by the Treasury Department, is focused on whether the former officials may have received funding, directly or indirectly, from the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, thereby violating longstanding federal law barring financial dealings with terrorist groups. The sources, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, said that speaking fees given to the former officials total hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Gen. Hugh Shelton, left, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and ex-FBI Director Louis Freeh are among the top former U.S. government officials whose speaking fees have been subpoenaed.

“This is about finding out where the money is coming from,” an Obama administration official familiar with the probe said. “This has been a source of enormous concern for a long time now. You have to ask the question, whether this is a prima facie case of material support for terrorism.”

Freeh and Shelton are among 40 former senior U.S. government officials who have participated in a public lobbying campaign – including appearing at overseas conferences and speaking at public rallies – aimed at persuading the U.S. government to remove the MEK from the terror list.

First-class flights
Many of the speakers have received fees of about $30,000 or more per talk and first-class flights to European capitals, according to two sources familiar with the arrangements.

Edward Rendell, a former Pennsylvania governor and ex-Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, whose speaking firm also received a subpoena, has received $160,000 over the past year for appearing at about seven conferences and rallies, including some in Paris, Brussels and Geneva, according to his office. (Rendell is a contributor to MSNBC TV.)

The former officials have said they were told the fees came from wealthy American and foreign supporters of the MEK, not the group itself — and they resent any suggestion they are abetting a terrorist group.

“We’re all pretty miffed,” Shelton told NBC News. “None of us involved in this would say a good word about anyone suspected of being a terrorist.” But Shelton said that he’s “pretty passionate” that the MEK represents a legitimate resistance group fighting to overthrow “America’s number one enemy” — the Iranian government.

Shelton said that he was informed by Keppler Speakers, the agency that handles his speaking engagements, that it had been subpoenaed for records of talks he has given over the past year at conferences and rallies sponsored by the MEK. He said Freeh told him that Greater Talent Network, the firm that handles the former FBI director’s speaking engagements, also received a subpoena.

See the slideshow on Iranian everyday life here.

Freeh did not respond to requests for comment. (A Keppler executive also did not respond. Reached by phone, Tom Marcosson, an executive vice president of Greater Talent, declined to comment.)

But Rendell told NBC News that he received an email this week from Freeh’s office alerting him and more than three dozen other former senior officials that subpoenas were being issued by the Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control. The email asked that the former senior officials contact Freeh and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Freeh and Mukasey, who have been among the leaders in the campaign to “delist” the MEK, are hiring a lawyer to represent all former senior officials caught up in the investigation, the email from Freeh’s office said, according to Rendell.

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John Sullivan, a spokesman for the Treasury Department, said the department does not comment on “potential” investigations. But he added in an email: “The MEK is a designated terrorist group, therefore U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with or providing services to this group. The Treasury Department takes sanctions enforcement seriously and routinely investigates potential violations of sanctions law.”

It is unclear how far Treasury Department officials intend to push the probe — or why they chose to launch it now, more than a year after the lobbying campaign began. But NBC News has obtained one possible clue: A small Pennsylvania-based speakers firm called Speakers Access wrote an email in September inviting a Washington based national security expert to speak at a conference in Geneva, Switzerland “on behalf of our client, National Council of Resistance of Iran, Foreign Affairs Committee.” The National Council of Resistance is considered by the Treasury Department to be one of the “aliases” of the MEK and is itself designated as a terror group.

The email was later turned over to the FBI and other U.S. officials. The Speakers Access executive who wrote the email, who asked not to be identified, said the email was a “mistake” and that the client was actually another organization — “the Committee for Human Rights in Iran,” which is not on the terror list but which has the same contact in Paris as the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

The executive said Speakers Access has since ceased any dealings with either group and turned over all its records on the matter after receiving a Treasury Department subpoena months ago.

The investigation comes at a time of intense internal debate about the MEK, in part spurred by assertions it could prove a useful ally in pressuring the Iranian government to suspend its nuclear program. NBC News reported recently that MEK operatives, trained by the Israeli Mossad, are believed by some U.S. intelligence officials to have been involved in the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists — a report that the group has denied as “absolutely false.”

Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran’s nuclear scientists, U.S. officials say

U.S. officials say that the MEK has a long history of terrorist acts, including bombings and assassinations, against Iranian leaders during the 1980s and that at least six Americans died in such attacks. The group — which was once allied with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein — is also viewed warily because of the slavish devotion of its followers to its Paris based leader, Maryan Rajavi.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior aide to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, describes what Iranian leaders believe is a close relationship between Israel’s secret service, the Mossad, and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States.

“The MEK has a crazy edge to it,” said Michael Leiter, former director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center and an NBC News consultant. “It always struck me as a cult as much as a terrorist group.” (A spokesman for the MEK did not respond to an email request for comment.)

But the group’s supporters say it has long since publicly renounced violence and that Rajavi has proclaimed the group’s adherence to democratic principles. “They want the mullahs out of Iran and they want to replace them with a constitution based on the Declaration of Independence,” said Shelton.

The group has also generated sympathy over the plight of its followers at Camp Ashraf, a paramilitary camp on the Iran-Iraq border, where they have been detained – and until recently protected – by the U.S military since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. U.S. officials have been seeking the group’s cooperation to resettle the estimated 2,500 remaining MEK members at Camp Ashraf to a new facility near the Baghdad airport, where they can be processed by the United Nations as refugees and resettled elsewhere.  

But the process has stalled – in part over disputes about the conditions of transfer – and MEK advocates say they fear the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, at Iran’s urging, may move in to slaughter the group’s members. “This could be a humanitarian disaster,” said Rendell.

Rendell said that there have been weekly conference calls among a “core group” of former U.S. senior officials participating in the lobbying campaign, organized by Freeh, to talk about ways to prod the State Department to remove the MEK from the terror list and protect its followers at Camp Ashraf. He identified this group as including former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean and Mukasey — all of whom have publicly spoken out on behalf of the MEK and spoken at its rallies.

Officials act as middle men
These weekly conference calls have also turned into back channel negotiations over the Camp Ashraf issue. In recent weeks, Rendell said, State Department Ambassador Daniel Fried, the special envoy for detainee issues, has joined the phone calls, urging the pro-MEK “core” members to pass along messages to MEK leaders in Paris, Rendell said.

“The core group talks to Freeh every week,” he said. “It’s Ridge, myself, Dean, Freeh, Mukasey. Shelton has joined us on occasion. … We were the ones that Fried asked to communicate with the MEK, telling them, ‘This is the best deal you’re going to get.’ He will say, ‘Listen, you guys have to persuade the MEK to do this. Tell them, OK, tell Paris, they have to persuade the people to get on the buses (at Camp Ashraf.) We then communicate [with the MEK].”

Fried declined comment. But a senior State Department official confirmed his participation in the calls as a means of communicating with MEK leaders in Paris — something U.S. officials are barred from doing — in order to work out a “peaceful” resolution over the conflict over Camp Ashraf.

Rendell said that he and other members of the core group have met with Rajavi in Paris and sent emails to her chief deputy, Farzin Hashemi, passing along Fried’s messages. “The bottom line is, we all believe we are protecting people,” he said.

But the bottom line for some U.S. officials is that the former government officials participating in the pro-MEK campaign are being paid handsomely for promoting a dubious cause sponsored by an officially designated terrorist group. Despite the public lobbying campaign, there is still deep suspicion about the MEK and its motives — and concerns that once its members leave Camp Ashraf, many of its followers will return to terrorism, said one senior official speaking on condition of anonymity.

“It’s extraordinary that so many distinguished public servants would shill for a group that has American blood on its hands,” the official said.

Thrown under the bus – Obama's loose lips

Editor’s Note – How to destroy America’s reputation, friendships, economy, and exceptionalism in a few easy steps; that seems to be the theme of the Obama administration.

Bow to foreign potentates, apologize to everyone, bad-mouth America overseas, reveal friends’ secrets, appease enemies, throw allies under the bus, and spend your way into oblivion.

Could there be any greater clear and present danger to America?

                                                    (AP Photo/Journal Times, Mark Hertzberg)

Arrogance and appeasement. Could there be a worse recipe?

Loose Lips

New York Post

How’s this for astonishing: NBC News is reporting that Israeli spies have been involved in the assassinations of five Iranian nuclear scientists.

So far, not so bad. We’d say the engineers basically needed killing.

But here’s the astonishing part: The source for the story apparently is the Obama administration — albeit through anonymous leaks.

The network claims that Israel used members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK), a dissident group the United States classified as a terrorist group in 1998, to ice the engineers. An Iranian spokesman told NBC the Mossad has been flying MeK members to Israel for training and sending them back home to carry out assassinations, which began in 2007.

The allegations are nothing new. What is new is that “senior US officials” are said to have confirmed the gory details. One must wonder why.

We understand that the Obama administration’s ties with Israel are strained — at best — and that the State Department has a particular allergy to the Jewish state. But Iran’s nuclear program is about much more than Israel alone.

A nuclear-armed Iran would pose a near-existential threat to US allies in the region — meaning a nuclear-arms race among its Arab neighbors would be inevitable. And, of course, the lion’s share of the world’s oil passes through the Persian Gulf.

So who cares whether the MeK is a designated terror group? (Britain and the European Union already removed it from their lists, and there is pressure on America to do the same.) And isn’t Iran itself the leading exporter of terrorism in the world?

Let’s be frank: Were the MeK to play the critical role in derailing an Iranian bomb, it would be far more deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize than a certain president of the United States we could mention.

So why is the administration making such details public?

President Obama did Israel no favors when he pressured it to join his love-peace-and-harmony nuclear summit in 2010, undermining a basic pillar of Israel’s security — its undisclosed nuclear program.

And his administration has done far worse damage now, which may make it much harder for Israel to operate in Iran. Trouble is, Israel won’t suffer the consequences alone. Everyone will.

America included.

Al-Shahab – The focus is elsewhere as killing increases

Editor’s Note – Al-Shabab is a Somali faction of Al Qaeda that in recent days, has emerged as a killing machine, and Kenyan soldiers have even entered Somalia to confront them. Included below is the latest article on that theater. Border wars and the struggle for control of Somalia have become a major conflict that the UN and NATO forces have essentially ignored. We are witnessing yet another re-do of Mogadishu as US troops land in Uganda, and it is spreading to other regions. Yet, the wars in the Middle East and North Africa also include the massive fighting and death toll on the Kurd group and around Turkey and Iraq. The PKK has been deemed a terror organization by the United States.

al-Shabab Somali Faction aligned with al-Qaeda

Our diplomatic strategy seems most predominantly focused on Afghanistan and Pakistan despite the myriad issues elsewhere. Currently, Hillary Clinton has a very large delegation with her for her meeting with Karzai. “U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Afghan President Hamid Karzai participated in a joint press conference in Kabul on the eve of Clinton’s visit to Pakistan”. In the Wednesday address, Clinton warned Pakistan against harboring terrorists, using what The New York Times labeled “some of the Obama administration’s most pointed language to date.

Clinton and Karzai discussed the implications of Pakistan providing safe haven to militants including the Taliban and the Haqqani, and Clinton pledged to “push the Pakistanis very hard” on the issue of terrorism. Clinton is scheduled to arrive in Islamabad on Thursday accompanied by an “unusually powerful” delegation including U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey and CIA Director David Petraeus, and will reportedly deliver a message of both “support and pressure” to Pakistan. Despite the “muscular show of diplomatic force,” The New York Times reports that talks may be plagued by “fundamentally different views” held by the two countries on how to combat terrorism. That is an understatement of course, and its not the only set of differing views in that theater.

Pakistan Security Brief – In recent months, Pakistan has “turned the tables” on the U.S. by charging that terrorist safe havens have developed in eastern Afghanistan, which Pakistan suggests is the “new regional hub for Islamist militants.” According to the Washington Post, some analysts have expressed that Pakistan may be “pushing this case as an excuse for not pursuing the Haqqani Network” in Pakistani territory. Meanwhile, the U.S. is pushing Pakistan to accept a proposal allowing for international monitoring bodies to be stationed along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to ensure regional security and non-interference prior to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2014.”

Somali Shebab rebels claim dozens of dead AU peacekeepers

By Mustafa Haji Abdi


Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels displayed “over 70” dead bodies outside Mogadishu on Thursday, which they claimed were African Union peacekeepers killed in battle.

If verified, it would be the worst massacre and largest single defeat that the AU force in Mogadishu has suffered in some four years of bloody battles defending the weak Western-backed government against the hardline Shebab.

“We have killed more than 70 of the enemy soldiers today… We have inflicted heavy losses on them and you can see their dead bodies,” Shebab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said, displaying the bodies in the dust to reporters.

Angry crowds dragged some of the bodies across the ground, witnesses said.

Photographs show long lines of at least 20 bodies dressed in military uniform laid out in the sand, surrounded by a large crowd with their faces covered.

Witnesses confirmed that the dead bodies were displayed in the extremist Shebab-controlled Alamada area, some 18 kilometres (11 miles) outside the war-torn capital late Thursday, and that the bodies were not Somalis.

“I have seen the largest number of soldiers killed in a battle, I have counted 63 Burundian soldiers, all of them dead, the Shebab brought them on trucks to Alamada,” Hasan Yunus, a witness said.

“Some of the dead bodies were dragged along by angry residents — I could not count them exactly, but there were more than 60,” said Ahmed Jama, another witness.

African Union Mission for Somalia (AMISOM) troops and government forces have been pushing into remaining rebel areas in Mogadishu, after the bulk of the Shebab abandoned fixed positions in August.

Burundian troops with the 9,000 strong AMISOM force control the sector closest to the fighting and are believed to have led the assault.

Ugandan soldiers make up the bulk of the AU force and control other sections of the anarchic capital.

Despite their pullout from much from the capital, the Shebab have not wavered from their aim to topple the AU-protected government. They still control large swathes of southern and central Somalia, and remain a serious security threat.

Shebab fighters in southern Somalia are also facing assaults from Kenyan troops and tanks backed by air strikes since Nairobi declared war on the insurgents and confirmed it had moved its forces into Somalia on Sunday.

Kenya’s military said Thursday it had seized the coastal area of Ras Kamboni without a fight, a former Shebab stronghold just across the Somali border, said military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir.

Inland, Chirchir said Kenyan troops were bogged down by “heavy rains” some 100 kilometres (60 miles) inside Somalia, as they prepared to push forward to seize the town of Afmadow, where Somali government forces were fighting.

Nairobi’s unprecedented military incursion into Somalia, which it said had already killed dozens of Shebab fighters, has triggered warnings of bloody retaliation by the Shebab.

The Shebab deny involvement in a spate of attacks and abductions from Kenya — including that of a disabled French woman who died in captivity — that Nairobi says prompted its offensive.

In Somalia, there has been a series of suicide bombings in the capital since the Shebab rebels said they were abandoning face-to-face battles and switching to guerrilla tactics in the city instead.

Earlier this month, a suicide bomber exploded a truck laden with explosives, killing at least 82 people and wounding many more.

But the deaths in Mogadishu Thursday provide a grim warning suggesting that the Shebab remain a powerful military threat.

Shamso Abdulkadir was amongst the giant crowd who came to see the dead bodies, and said that some wore body armour and helmets.

“I have counted 70, most of them were shot in the head and shoulders,” Abdulakdir told AFP.

“Residents gathered to watch the dead bodies after they were publicly displayed, and then afterwards, they were dragged about by people,” she said.

Somali government and AMISOM officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Heavy fighting was reported in the northwest Deynile district throughout Thursday, but Somali government officials had earlier said they were moving alongside AU troops “towards the final strongholds of the terrorist militants”.

Battles began before dawn in Mogadishu as AU-backed Somali forces advanced on holdout Islamist Shebab positions, officials and witnesses said.

The fighting was centered in Deynile suburb, a remaining pocket still held by the Al-Qaeda linked militants, which borders the rebel-held Afgoye, the world’s largest camp for displaced people.

President Obama, Uphold the Law and Unleash an Iranian Spring

By Paul E. Vallely – MG US Army (ret)

Member of the Iran Policy Committee

Iran Policy Committee
Iran Policy Committee

It is this time of the year again and the “tiny tyrant of the desert,” the Iranian regime’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is in town to get the world media interested in his denial of everybody’s rights and destruction of a country, a nation, or the main Iranian opposition.

But the world attention should not be on him, as the era for the dictators is over. Instead the world should pay attention to what the Iranian people have to say and to the suffering and ideals of a nation which has been suppressed by the ruthless Ayatollahs for over three decades.

Both the United Nations and the heads of state who travel to New York as well as our own president must focus on the plight of a population who, with unmatched passion for democracy, may be slaughtered if the world does not fulfill its responsibility. As a citizen of the world and as a General, I feel obligated to speak up.

Halfway across the world, in a dusty, besieged Iraqi outpost known as Camp Ashraf, the lives of 3400 Iranian refugees, members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), rest in America’s hands. A legitimate and highly effective democratic resistance movement, the MEK were wrongly designated as a terrorist organization during past U.S. Administrations. The Iranian regime and the government of Iraq that we helped to establish take this “terrorist” designation of the MEK as a license to kill. As a result, scores of unarmed men, women, and children are being murdered with impunity. Keeping MEK on the list is literally a green light for Iran and Iraq to massacre all of the people in Camp Ashraf.

President Obama has been strangely mum on the topic. While both the UK and the European Union have removed the MEK from terrorism lists, the American President has ignored the unfolding humanitarian crisis. He may be correct to think that this problem is something he inherited from previous administrations and is not his doing. He maysubscribe to the view of past administrations and not wish to “provoke” the tyrannical regime in Tehran by de-listing their mortal foes in the MEK. But President Obama can no longer avoid the legal responsibility the US bears for protecting these people.

As Iran’s main opposition group, the MEK has been based in Iraq since the 1980’s. After the MEK surrendered their weapons and renounced violence following the 2001 invasion of Iraq and took refuge in Camp Ashraf, they were deemed “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention and were to be shielded by the U.S. military.

With this bond of trust, the residents of Camp Ashraf became dedicated partners of the US who provide critical intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program and promote a popularly-supported representative republic in Iran. Indeed, the MEK ardently support democracy, freedom, gender and ethnic equality and human rights. Despite these commitments and the promise of protection by America, they die at the hands of pro-Iranian death squads.

The MEK does not meet and has never met the statutory criteria for being designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) in the US. A nonviolent, disarmed group cannot as a matter of law be an FTO (the use of violence is the fundamental criterion for such a designation).

A federal appeals court in July 2010 ordered the department to reconsider its position. However, no decision has been made or even signaled by the Obama administration, and with each passing day, the danger increases.

On April 8, 36 innocent civilians lost their lives in a massacre at the hands of the Iraqi Army, which is now receiving materiel and financial support from Iran.

So, will President Obama uphold the law and direct the US State Department to avert the impending humanitarian crisis?

From a legal and humanitarian standpoint, delisting the MEK should seem a cut and dried case. However, there is an intensive disinformation campaign underway in Washington that supports Tehran’s position of marginalizing and ultimately destroying the MEK. The MEK has in recent weeks been branded a “cult”, a group with no basis of support in Iran, and more. These charges have no basis in reality, and even if they had, they would not constitute grounds for the FTO designation.

President Obama has an opportunity to be on the right side of the law and on the right side of history. Let us hope this opportunity is not squandered.

MG Vallely – Chairman Stand Up America US and Founding Member of the Iran Policy Committee.

MEK – A Free Iran’s Strongest Lobby In USA

PMOI – People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran

By Nooredin Abedian

OpEdNews Website, 16 Sept 2011 – Following events in Arab Spring, Tehran finds that it has to ensure maximum pressure on its opposition. Delisting MEK helps opponents seeking democracy in Iran and will be a blow for the fundamentalist dictator in Iran.
What’s wrong with the so-called lobbying of a group accused of terrorism, in order to repel the nomination, even if the said nomination affects US foreign policy?

More surprising is that an entity known as the Iranian regime’s strongest lobby in the United States, which has been asked several times to register as a ‘foreign agent’ of the clerical regime in the country under the Freedom of Information Act, raise hell about the ‘lobbying to get a terrorist group off State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO)’ list’. 

In spite of having seemingly served as ‘policy advisor on foreign affairs issues’ in the Congress, Jamal Abdi, policy director of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) recommends that ‘lobbying’ for the MEK, the main Iranian opposition movement put in 1997 on the US State Department’s list of FTOs be stopped at any price, as it sees the effort a ‘campaign to manipulate US national security decisions’.

The reasoning that the MEK is a terrorist organization as presented by Mr. Abdi has nothing new to all that has been put forward against the opposition by the clerical regime in power in Iran, that is having killed Americans in 1970s when the Shah was in power in Iran, having tortured its own members, having kept its members by force in Iraq where they are currently under deadly attacks from the pro-Iranian government of Nouri Al-Maliki. The only new element Mr. Abdi has added to the old rhetoric by the clerics is his claim that the ‘UN High Commissioner on Refugees has publicly offered to facilitate a refugee resettlement process but has stated that individuals at Ashraf (camp where 3400 MEK members are staying in Iraq) have refused to renounce violence, a prerequisite to participating.’

As an observer of Iranian politics, I find the above allegations ‘perverse’, as the English special court on proscribed organizations ruling in 2007 on the same issue called them. But just for information: The Americans killed in 1970 were not assassinated by the MEK, but by a splinter group according to a public report of the Rockwell Company, for whom the men worked at the time. The writer refers to RAND corp.’s report on the MEK to reason that members have been kept in Ashraf against there will, but nor him neither RAND do not mention that every member of the MEK was interviewed privately by several agencies of the United States before the RAND report and anybody expressing a wish to leave did actually leave the camp, so how could they have been kept there against their will, in a camp under US surveillance?

The writer is keen to cite Human Rights’ Watch as his source for alleging MEK tortured members, but the whole HRW report has been much discredited because it was only based on telephone interviews with alleged former members several of whom were later shown to be bought by the clerical regime’s security and intelligence apparatus. Apart that, several of the interviewed individuals admitted that the MEK had helped them find refuge in the West. Does that make sense that an organization tortures its members and then send them out to the world to speak about that? Did a single such case exist during the Cold war?   And the part about the UN High Commissioner for Refugees is simply not true. First of all, never does the UN body impose such conditions, as to renounce violence as a prerequisite of being accepted as asylum seeker. Then every member of the MEK has rendered his or her arm to the US forces in 2003 and is categorically considered as having renounced violence, so the allegations is twice untrue.

But what is striking in Mr. Abdi’s article is not the lack of truth. Not only is he repeating allegations put forward by the clerics in power in Tehran, but he recommends that measures similar to those used down there be applied here, that is to prevent people, even famous ex-authorities, from expressing their views, on pretext of ‘national security’. He seems to ignore that before ‘national security’, the Gods have placed the ‘rule of law’, though he knows pretty well that all those people being hanged in public in Iran are hanged under similar allegations, which is having put in jeopardy the national security. I am sure that if it were to the clerics, they would not hesitate to hang people in Washington for having expressed their views freely. Fortunately that is not what the writer is calling for, he just wants them silenced. So would the clerics in Iran.

Nooredin Abedian taught in Iranian higher-education institutions before settling in France as a political refugee in 1981. He writes for a variety of publications on Iranian politics and issues concerning human rights.