Why are Howard Dean and Rudy Giuliani Lobbying for a Terrorist Group?

Monday, March 19, 2012
Howard Dean and Rudy Giuliani (AP Photos)
The answer to the question in the headline, of course, is money, and quite a lot of it. Although exact amounts are unknown, the Iranian dissident group Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) (People’s Mujahedin of Iran)–which the State Department has designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization since 1997–has paid tens of thousands of dollars to politicians and other opinion-leaders for speaking to or on behalf of the group over the past few years. It has been a rare bipartisan effort, including Democrats Dean, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, and former Congressmen Lee Hamilton and Patrick Kennedy; as well as Republicans Giuliani, former Congressman Porter Goss, former National Security Advisor Fran Townsend, and former Transportation Secretary Andrew Card.
 
MEK, which was formed in 1963 to oppose the regime of the former Shah of Iran, now seeks to overthrow the Shi’ite government that has been in power since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. During the 1970s, MEK perpetrated several bombings that killed some Americans, leading to its inclusion on the terror list. Since the U.S. also considers Iran an enemy, and MEK publicly renounced violence in 2001, its supporters argue that the U.S. should remove MEK from the terror list, as the European Union did in 2009. Critics note, however, that MEK has been linked–although by no means definitively–to a series of killings of Iranian nuclear scientists allegedly masterminded by the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad.
 
Until MEK is removed from the terror list, however, it is a felony to provide material support to it, and according to the Supreme Court decision of Holder v. Humanitarian Law (2010), merely speaking in favor of a designated terrorist organization constitutes material support if the speech is coordinated with that organization. Thus in 2009 a Staten Island satellite TV salesman was sentenced to five years in prison just for selling a satellite TV package that happened to include a Hezbollah TV channel. In that light, the fact that the Treasury Department recently opened an investigation into MEK’s payment of speaker fees to former Governor Rendell is not surprising. Given the political prominence and social status of the other pro-MEK speakers, the question will be how seriously these issues will be investigated and prosecuted.
-Matt Bewig
 
To Learn More:
Iranian Group's Big-Money Push to Get off US Terrorist List (by Scott Peterson, Christian Science Monitor)

Terrorist Group Lobbies Congress for De-Listing (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov) 

Comments

Charleston Voice 2 years ago
mujahedin-e-khalq (mek): israel-sponsored terrorist group http://chasvoice.blogspot.com/2012/03/mujahedin-e-khalq-mek-israel-sponsored.html
alisadeq 2 years ago
how about links to articles that support delisting mek? rethink mek terror designation http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/19/rethink-mek-terror-designation/ the timing of the treasury department investigation into speeches allegedly given by a top democrat for the mujahedeen-e-khalq (mek) is highly suspect (“top democrat’s speeches for terrorist group probed,” web, march 9). for over a year, dozens of high-ranking former officials have advocated for the mek’s delisting. the recent subpoena was related to payments that former pennsylvania gov. edward g. rendell has accepted for “public speaking engagements.” no wrongdoing has been proved. beyond this diversion, the larger question is: does the mek belong on the terrorist list? indeed, support for delisting “is widespread in washington.” for years, congress has called for mek’s delisting, with a majority going on the record and calling it a legitimate opposition to the iranian regime. this was reiterated by 228 members in october 2000 and 150 members in december 2002. most recently, 98 members of congress from both sides of the aisle co-sponsored house resolution 60, which urges delisting. despite a federal court ruling in 2010, the state department has been delaying for 20 months. why has it refused to present evidence to the court all this time? this unlawful listing is the real reason why so many senior officials have been furious and are therefore advocating on behalf of the mek

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