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article imageOp-Ed: Big money helps remove Iranian opposition group from terror list

By Ken Hanly     Sep 21, 2012 in Politics
Washington - The People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK, PMOI, or MKO) has been removed from the U.S. list of terror organizations. Anonymous officials claim that the decision was made by Hillary Clinton but will not be announced until later.
The group has been on the U.S. list of terrorist groups for some time. It is against the law to provide support for groups on the list but there has been big money spent supporting the MEK drive to be removed from the terror list. The U.S treasury depatrment has been examining fees to Shelton, Freeh, Mukasey and Rendell to see if the firms have breached U.S. law against providing material support for a terrorist group. I predict nothing will come of it. When it comes to providing material support for the MEK the U.S. actually provided training to members of the MEK in the U.S. as the appended video shows! Will actions be launched against the U.S. Special Forces command?
The MEK is a terrorist group that is useful to the U.S. in secret operations against Iran and in obtaining useful intelligence from inside Iran. While individuals have received long jail sentences for indirect support for Hamas and Hezbollah these are not organizations useful to the U.S.
The MEK was founded back in 1965 by leftist Muslim university students who espoused an amalgam of Marxist and Islamist ideas. The group was one of the leaders of the revolution that overthrew the U.S. installed and supported Pahlavi Shah. However the group soon fell out with the new Islamic Republic and has long worked for its overthrow.
During the Iran-Iraq war MEK was given sanctuary by Saddam Hussein and the group mounted attacks into Iran from Iraq. In 2001 the MEK renounced violence. The group has headquarters in Paris France. The group was disarmed during the U.S. occupation of Iraq and observed a ceasefire at Camp Ashraf in Iraq. The Iraqi government forced them to move to a former U.S. military base Camp Liberty after Iraq took control.
The designation of the group as a terrorist organization had already been lifted by the Council of the European Union in January of 2009 after a long legal and political battle there. Now the group has won the same type of political and legal battle in the U.S. Data researched by The Centre for Responsive Politics shows that key Iranian-American organizations and others have spent millions on a campaign to have the group removed from the terror list. Even though the group killed many people through terrorist actions including Americans the MEK is now portrayed as a loyal ally U.S. opposed to the present Iranian regime.
Among the contributors to the campaign to delist the MEK are Saeid Ghaemi head of Colorado's Iranian American community. He is reported to have spent almost $900,000 of his own money to a Washington lobby firm to help the MEK. Other Iranian American groups have paid up to half a million dollars to lobby firms to help get the ban removed. The MEK may not have overthrown the Iranian regime but they certainly have won the battle that will transform them from terrorists to freedom fighters. Political power may not come from the barrel of a gun as Mao thought but from having barrels of money.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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