MSNBC: Israel trains Iranian terror group to kill nuclear scientists

Tehran car bombing
2011 Tehran car bombing. (Photo: Mehdi Marizad / Fars)

Yesterday, MSNBC reported that Mossad agents trained an Iranian group on the U.S. terror list, in order to carry out assassinations of nuclear scientists. Active since the 1970s, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran are credited as responsible for five deadly attacks on scientists since 2007.

Rock Center with Brian Williams MSNBC report.

MSNBC spoke with Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior aide in the Iranian government whose assertion the terror organization was linked to Mossad was confirmed.  The group was “financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service.”  MSNBC reports:

Moreover, [Larigani] said, the Mossad, the Israeli secret service, is training MEK [the Iranian terror group] members in Israel on the use of motorcycles and small bombs. In one case, he said, Mossad agents built a replica of the home of an Iranian nuclear scientist so that the assassins could familiarize themselves with the layout prior to the attack. [Emphasis added]

The news station’s evidence is based upon interviews with Iranian officials, and documents apprehended from a thwarted assassination attempt in 2010.

The Iranian terror organization denies allegations of a relationship with Mossad, citing the report as “absolutely false.” Conversely, U.S. government officials stated to MSNBC “all your inclinations are correct,” and affirm no involvement.  However, skepticism remains, Al Jazeera previously chronicled the group’s strong U.S. ties:

George W. Bush’s attorney general Michael Mukasey has described MEK members as ‘courageous freedom fighters’. President Barack Obama’s former national security advisor, General James L. Jones, gave a speech at a MEK conference dominated by non-Iranians. Their events have also been attended by former Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge, former NATO supreme commander Wesley Clark and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Hat tip to Paul Mutter for catching this**
 

About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.
Posted in Iran, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Middle East, US Policy in the Middle East | Tagged

{ 44 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. edwin says:

    Glenn Greenwald has a good post on the topic.

    Israel, MEK and state sponsor of Terror groups

    • Thanks for that link, where I also watched the video of Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister (presumably the youngest FM in the world) talk about her opposition to military intervention against any regime, including Iran and Syria.

      I could not help but be impressed by this statesperson – head and shoulders above the clowns like John Bolton and their ilk. If you haven’t watched this video, I strongly recommend it:

    • American says:

      Let me quote some of that just in case people don’t go to the link. It’s important. People need to see how politicians are the real terrorist.

      link to salon.com

      ”One of the most under-reported political stories of the last year is the devoted advocacy of numerous prominent American political figures on behalf of an Iranian group long formally designated as a Terrorist organization under U.S. law. A large bipartisan cast has received substantial fees from that group, the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), and has then become their passionate defenders. The group of MEK shills includes former top Bush officials and other Republicans (Michael Mukasey, Fran Townsend, Andy Card, Tom Ridge, Rudy Giuliani) as well as prominent Democrats (Howard Dean, Ed Rendell, Bill Richardson, Wesley Clark). As The Christian Science Monitor reported last August, those individuals “have been paid tens of thousands of dollars to speak in support of the MEK.” No matter what one thinks of this group – here is a summary of its activities – it is formally designated as a Terrorist group .

      Yet here we have numerous American political figures receiving substantial fees from a group which is legally designated under American law as a Terrorist organization. Beyond that, they are meeting with the Terrorist leaders of that group repeatedly (Howard Dean told NPR last year about the group’s leader, Maryam Rajavi: “I have actually had dinner with Mrs. Rajavi on numerous occasions. I do not find her very terrorist-like” and has even insisted that she should be recognized as Iran’s President, while Rudy Giuliani publicly told her at a Paris conference in December: “These are the most important yearnings of the human soul that you support, and for your organization to be described as a terrorist organization is just simply a disgrace”). And, after receiving fees from the Terrorist group and meeting with its Terror leaders, these American political figures are going forth and disseminating pro-MEK messages on its behalf and working to have it removed from the Terrorist list.

      Then there’s long been the baffling question of where MEK was getting all of this money to pay these American officials. Indeed, the pro-MEK campaign has been lavishly funded. As the CSM noted: ”Besides the string of well-attended events at prestigious American hotels and locations, and in Paris, Brussels, and Berlin, the campaign has included full-page advertisements in The New York Times and Washington Post — which can cost $175,000 apiece.” MEK is basically little more than a nomadic cult: after they sided with Saddam Hussein in his war with Iran, they were widely loathed in Iran and their 3,400 members long lived in camps in Iraq, but the Malaki government no longer wants them there. How has this rag-tag Terrorist cult of Iranian dissidents, who are largely despised in Iran, able to fund such expensive campaigns and to keep U.S. officials on its dole?

      All of these mysteries received substantial clarity from an NBC News report by Richard Engel and Robert Windrem yesterday. Citing two anonymous “senior U.S. officials,” that report makes two amazing claims: (1) that it was MEK which perpetrated the string of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and (2) the Terrorist group “is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service.” These senior officials also admitted that “the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign” but claims it “has no direct involvement.” Iran has long insisted the Israel and the U.S. are using MEK to carry out Terrorist attacks on its soil, including the murder of its scientists, and NBC notes that these acknowledgments “confirm charges leveled by Iran’s leaders” (MEK issued a statement denying the report).

      If these senior U.S. officials are telling the truth, there are a number of vital questions and conclusions raised by this. First, it would mean that the assurances by MEK’s paid American shills such as Howard Dean that “they are unarmed” are totally false: whoever murdered these scientists is obviously well-armed. Second, this should completely gut the effort to remove MEK from the list of designated Terrorist groups; after all, murdering Iran’s scientists through the use of bombs and guns is a defining act of a Terror group, at least as U.S. law attempts to define the term. Third, this should forever resolve the debate in which I was involved last month about whether the attack on these Iranian scientists constitutes Terrorism; as Daniel Larson put it yesterday: “If true, the murders of Iranian nuclear scientists with bombs have been committed by a recognized terrorist group. Can everyone acknowledge at this point that these attacks were acts of terrorism?”

      Fourth, and most important: if this report is true, is this not definitive proof that Israel is, by definition, a so-called state sponsor of Terrorism? Leaving everything else aside, if Israel, as NBC reports, has “financed, trained and armed” a group officially designated by the U.S. Government as a Terrorist organization, isn’t that the definitive act of how one becomes an official “state sponsor of Terrorism”? Amazingly, as Daniel Larison notes, one of the people who most vocally attacked me for labeling the murder of Iranian scientists as “Terrorism” and for generally arguing that Terrorism is a meaningless, cynically applied term — Commentary‘s Jonathan Tobin — yesterday issued a justification for why Israel should be working with Terrorist groups like MEK. As Larison wrote about Tobin’s article:

      In other words, Israeli state sponsorship of a terrorist group is acceptable because it’s in a good cause. . . . Because Israel is overreacting to a perceived threat from Iran, Tobin believes it is entirely defensible for Israel to partner with a recognized terrorist group. In other words, Tobin believes that terrorism is “entirely defensible” so long as it is committed by the right people and directed at the right targets. It’s as if he is going out of his way to vindicate Glenn Greenwald.

      Of course, as I documented in my last book, those who are politically and financially well-connected are free to commit even the most egregious crimes; for that reason, the very idea of prosecuting Giuliani, Rendell, Ridge, Townsend, Dean and friends for their paid labor on behalf of a Terrorist group is unthinkable, a suggestion not fit for decent company, even though powerless Muslims have been viciously prosecuted for far less egregious connections to such groups. But this incident also underscores the specific point that the term Terrorism is so completely meaningless, manipulated and mischievous: it’s just a cynical term designed to delegitimize violence and even political acts undertaken by America’s enemies while shielding from criticism the actual Terrorism undertaken by itself and its allies. The spectacle whereby a designated Terrorist group can pay top American politicians to advocate for them even as they engage in violent Terrorist acts, all while being trained, funded and aided by America’s top client state, should forever end the controversy over that glaringly obvious proposition.

      * * * * *
      This move to delist the MEK started about 5 years ago…first I saw of them was in 2005 in WP article about a big rally in DC for the MEK led by Bolton, Brownback, Schumer, Feith and the usual suspects. Last time I looked the MEK had killed 5 Americans. They use to target US ambassadors and US Military officers at overseas bases.

  2. Will it get more official than this? The US and Israel are state sponsors of terrorism.

  3. Antidote says:

    “TEHRAN—Amidst mounting geopolitical tensions, Iranian officials said Wednesday they were increasingly concerned about the United States of America’s uranium-enrichment program, fearing the Western nation may soon be capable of producing its 8,500th nuclear weapon. “Our intelligence estimates indicate that, if it is allowed to progress with its aggressive nuclear program, the United States may soon possess its 8,500th atomic weapon capable of reaching Iran,” said Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi, adding that Americans have the fuel, the facilities, and “everything they need” to manufacture even more weapons-grade fissile material. “Obviously, the prospect of this happening is very distressing to Iran and all countries like Iran. After all, the United States is a volatile nation that’s proven it needs little provocation to attack anyone anywhere in the world whom it perceives to be a threat.” Iranian intelligence experts also warned of the very real, and very frightening, possibility of the U.S. providing weapons and resources to a rogue third-party state such as Israel.”

    the onion.com

  4. iamuglow says:

    This story showing up on on MNBC of all places, seems (to me) like the US govt trying to publically distance itself from the Iranian assasinations. Its like a follow up to the story in FP magazine last month.

    There were a ton of comments on the story yesterday. For what its worth, probably half were intellegent, the rest were congradulatory towards Israel assasinating scientists.

    • You are probably right. I had the sense that this was deliberately leaked – but to what end?

      • iamuglow says:

        Pure speculation, but….

        Optimistically, it could be signs of Obama or other US officals taking the offensive against being pushed into war with Iran. Trying to tell the Iranians “it ain’t us”.

        Cynically it might just be PR and there is no distance btwn the US and Israel. The US is assasinating people in the ME…its not unbeliveable that they were involved in these acts in Iran.

        Maybe they got caught red-handed and to stay ahead of the Iranians pulling a Dubai type press conference….they’ve said “hey, Israel. You gotta take the bad PR on this one….We’re going to make out that you were impersonating CIA agents…”and Israel is like “whatever man, but you know as usually, this is going to cost you.”

        If its the optimistic option…they are going to have to get way tougher if they want to turn the tide on Iran…telling Americans Israelis are impersonating CIA agents and assasinating people apparently is not enough in this insane day and age. Too many Americans are still thinking this is about 9/11 or Sharia law.

        They’ll need to bring in some AIPAC officials, uncover a spy ring…make a huge story of how foregin agents are pushing for war…that IMO will wake Americans up.

        • The cynic in me doesn’t consider the Obama administration, infested as it is with Israel-firsters (sue me!) ever coming up with a credible challenge to AIPAC.

          The optimist in me hopes that if Ron Paul is prevented from ascending to the presidency, Obama, in his second term, finds the testicular fortitude to actually do what many Israel-firsters fear that he might – defy Israel and govern in with US interest in mind – and kennel the dogs of war.

          2012 – smirk away, ye Mayan gods! We may not live long enough to see 2013.

      • the entire iran thing is absurd for any rational patriotic american (or any rational HUMAN BEING)- nothing is in it for us, and we could literally loose everything if we do this insane war (regional ME conflict erupts, oil spikes, global recession/depression, massive US political dissent, adding trillions to our out of control deficit, and the USD could get displaced as the US would be highly in debt and looking pretty crazy/unstable to any country which might want to service our debt [at high interest]).

        even from a sane israeli POV, the obvious path would be containment with IAEA verification (and a 2SS peace deal in time; to defuse the entire regional insanity). i think the majority of israelis oppose an israeli war with iran, and many oppose a US war on iran…. namely as israel will likely take about the same heat regardless of who does it (missiles landing in tel aviv seems pretty much a given).

        i don’t want to give too much credit to obama, but it think it is possible the “good guys” in the power structure/administration are now rounding the wagons and trying to avoid an intentional or “unintentional” war with iran. they realize this is not the iraq debacle, where we can “get away” with one…. this literally could mean an accelerated descent of the US itself, and could destroy the US as we know it over a few years/decade. the tipping point for us may be iran, if we have not gone past the tipping point already with corrupt politics, debt, and right wing insanity…

        it seems like people in the US (and israel as well), seem to be leaking the facts and rational analysis of the iranian threat to counter “the powers that be” that want an insane war.

        this war is insane, if it happens.

        if we get bomb iran, i think i have to leave the country. it’s a mess, but that would be the final straw for me. not paying taxes to destroy another country and mine at the same time.

        • if we get bomb iran, i think i have to leave the country.

          …and go where? What part of this planet will be safe from the nuclear fallout in the resulting WW3, that includes China and Russia?

  5. Blake says:

    Just read about this on ICH. One commentator mentioned that in the 1960′s 5 Swedish scientests were murdered by MOSSAD and after that Sweden canceled the Iraq military contract.

  6. marc b. says:

    elizabeth rubin of the NYT wrote an article on the MEK several years back that made it sound the equivalent of a nascent, nw asian version of the khmer rouge, and later an article (last year i believe) about the various american supporters of MEK such as howard dean, rudy g., etc. and so much for the ‘where are the adults’ argument on the foreign policy failings of the US. James Jones apparently *hearts* the MEK, too.

    edit

    link to nytimes.com

    link to cscs.umich.edu

  7. spuxx says:

    Providing material support to a terrorist group is a violation of the Patriot Act.

    David Cole, a professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, who argued the case for the Humanitarian Law Project, commented on developments since the decision.

    He noted that several prominent former officeholders, including Rudolph Giuliani and Tom Ridge, had spoken in support of the Mujahedeen Khalq [MEK], an Iranian opposition group designated by the United States as a terrorist organization.[5] He stated that he supported their right to speak but that even nonviolent advocacy (such as urging that a designation as “terrorist” be revoked) was illegal under the Supreme Court’s decision.

    • Israel is not under the jurisdiction of US laws even if they control what laws are made in the US.

      • For me, what was most compelling was the allegation that Mossad built a replica of the scientist’s house. It not necessarily the legality, but the intimacy.

        • I was startled by that as well. What would you have to do in order to do that? Get the plans from the Housing Dept. ? Walk around the house with a video camera? Obviously couldn’t be a foreigner to do that, so local assistance would be a prerequisite.

        • ritzl says:

          @Allison

          Under adjudicated US (Patriot Act) law, the intimacy IS the [il]legality. People/Muslims are in jail for this, now, for far less.

          As you have shown, it’s not even obscure, these Israeli connections to terrorist groups. I would go so far as to say that anyone that contributes to fungible Israel, supports terrorism and faces prison time. Same as the numerous Muslim inmates currently serving prison terms for vastly lesser connections.

          I’m probably going to get adversely moderated for this, but dang if this isn’t a Jewish distinction/question/privilege (and I say that acknowledging the good work you and so many others do on this site). If the recent call by Adler to assassinate Obama if he didn’t toe the GoI line on Iran was done by a Muslim say for the interests of the GoI[ran], they’d be already in jail.

          As Greenwald points out, I can’t believe the glaring double standard.

        • jimmy says:

          pre-meditated murder….

          aint it wonderful what the human mind can come up with and then justify it

  8. seafoid says:

    The thing about Iran is that Israeli pressure to go to war is right out in the open. There is no coyness as there was over Iraq. The Holocaust justifies everything including industrialised mass murder in Iran.

    link to haaretz.com

    “Nonetheless, when push comes to shove, when all the other options have been exhausted, when there is no other avenue left, when it’s yes or no, do or die, kill or be killed – then I think that most Israelis and Jews, including myself, will support a military attack. And the only way to prevent such a risky and dangerous development is to stop the Iranian nuclear problem dead in its tracks, and to stop it now.

    Otherwise, in all likelihood, with grave doubts and terrible misgivings, the planes, will be dispatched, the missiles will be launched, the troops will be landed and the bombs will then explode. Because the phrase “Never Again”, however grossly misused and cynically manipulated throughout the years, was actually meant for this very moment. ”

    The deluded Israeli code of Holocaust, paranoia, nationalism and militarism.

  9. Kathleen says:

    Followed comments for awhile over at the NBC RockCenter thread above yesterday. Put up lots of links to factual information over there. Lots of folks want to keep their heads up where the sun does not shine. Some incredibly racist and deadly comments. Several thousand comments. Interesting.

    folks remember contact your Reps as often as you can let them know what you think about the situation with Iran and the I/P issue.

  10. Kathleen says:

    There was really a push a couple of months ago to take MEK off the terrorist list. There was a big gathering of folks, lots of guest on news programs, the the floor of congress. Big push. Must be something to do with Israel collaborating with a terrorist group etc. Right the US allegedly will not do business with countries doing deals with countries groups that the US has on a terrorist list. Seymour Hersh has written plenty about US and Israeli forces on the ground in Iran for at least three years

    • ritzl says:

      The fact that MEK’s not off the list, as of today, may speak to the huge tug o’ war (heh, politics) and leverage over Israeli demands in this admin.

      I’m a skeptic, but it may be the case.

      • Kathleen says:

        It sounds like some intelligence groups in the US may not want them off the US list. Otherwise the big push a few months ago to get them off the US terrorist list would have succeeded

  11. Les says:

    Scary stuff from Counterpunch:

    Meanwhile, on another front, the networks are ready. A CounterPunch informant reports:

    “I was visiting ABCNews the other day to see a friend who works on graphics. When I went to his room, he showed me all the graphics he was making in anticipation of the Israeli attack on Iran; not just maps, but flight patterns, trajectories, and 3-d models of U.S. aircraft carrier fleets.

    “But what was most disturbing – was that ABC, and presumably other networks, have been rehearsing these scenarios for over 2 weeks, with newscasters and retired generals in front of maps talking about missiles and delivery systems, and at their newsdesks – the screens are emblazoned with “This is a Drill” to assure they don’t go out on air – (like War of the Worlds).

    “Then reports of counter-attacks by Hezballah in Lebanon with rockets on Israeli cities – it was mind-numbing. Very disturbing – when pre-visualization becomes real.”

    Another CounterPuncher emails us:

    “Just a quick possible scoop for the news room – I have a neighbor who bounces for a Seattle bar, and he had some very rowdy US service men in the bar the other night. When he asked them what was up, they told him they were being deployed to the mid-east as a front-running group for an operation in Iran.”

    link to counterpunch.org

  12. MRW says:

    Must-read article:

    Published on Thursday, February 9, 2012 by Common Dreams
    Israel vs. Iran: The Truth Slips Out
    by Ira Chernus
    link to commondreams.org

    If Israel did use even one nuke against a conventional attack it would probably lose the last shred of its dwindling support around the world, including most of its support in the U.S., and end up isolated, a pariah in the international community. That’s the greatest nightmare for most Israelis.

    I haven’t found Israeli officials good at assessing consequences. Why would I expect them to be any better at it now? Not wanting to be a freier is adolescent, to say the least; it’s a peasant or a gang member’s over-arching value.

  13. Interesting article on Prof. Stephen Walt’s FP site about a martian’s view of the Iran debate.

    link to walt.foreignpolicy.com

    Unfortunately, the comments section on the site has become completely overrun by Hasbara denizens, whose rude and offensive comments make it impossible to have a sane discussion there. Maybe winning hearts and minds isn’t the goal – preferring to just shut down any discussions not favorable to Israel.

    I see one or two valiant posters there trying to inject facts and perspectives, but they are vastly outnumbered.

    That FP site could learn a bit about moderating from MW. I am surprised Prof. Walt hasn’t raised the issue.

    • lobewyper says:

      C & D,
      I totally agree about the need for Walt to monitor his comments. The problem of hasbara trolls has always been an issue, but the levels of childish vituperation reached in the past few weeks really discourage me from reading/responding to his Comments sections. A shame, because it doesn’t have to be like this, and because Walt is one of the leading discussants of American foreign policy. (I’m glad I’m not the only one concerned about this.)

      • American says:

        The main troll at Walt’s is a poster calling himself USMarineSniper. He makes 2 wild, idiotic and profane comments to every one comment by someone else.
        I was trying to think of some way of getting rid of him. It’s illegal to impersonate a military member, like wearing a uniform ,but not necessarily illegal to call yourself one on the net. Some young guy was arrested in Calif for pretending to be a marine. However under the possibility that if someone is claiming a identity on the net they might also be making false claims in real life then there are some people who might be interested enough to take a look at it and contact Walt, although I don’t know if he would reveal the guy’s IP.
        Anyway these people are the ones who might be interested enough to check out his crap:

        link to usmcscoutsniper.org

        United States Marine Corps Scout/Sniper Association
        PO Box 762
        Quantico, VA 22134

        • My understanding is that Walt doesn’t own the site and is merely a paid blogger there. I have voiced my complaints to the site’s administrators on several occasions, and had one or two posts removed, but for the most part, “Marine Diaper” and his ilk continue to post their filth unhindered.

  14. Shingo says:

    So in the last month, we’ve established that Israel is supporting 2 groups listed by the State Department as terrorist groups – Jundalla and the MEK.

    That makes Israel a state sponsor of terror. Something we can use next time the Hasbrats refer to Iran as the world’s biggest state sponsor of terror.

  15. tombishop says:

    Max Blumenthal on RT about Israel’s use of MEK in Iran. “”Israel Using Terrorist Groups To Carry Out Attacks”" is at: link to tinyurl.com

    Glenn Greenwald on the same topic. “Israel, MEK and state sponsor of Terror groups” is at: link to tinyurl.com

  16. kalithea says:

    And suddenly the Obama Administration admits Al Qaeda is in Syria, and they’re phrasing it: Al Qaeda seeks to exploit…blah-blah-blah.

    Yeah, we’re supposed to believe they weren’t there all along and that Salafis and Libyan mercenaries aren’t mixed up with the Opposition. This uprising was cleverly manufactured by three parties: Israel, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. So Assad was telling the truth after all: the violence and sabotage is being carried out by terrorists and foreign saboteurs. I’ll bet the roof snipers who cover their faces are also terrorists.

    The big three knew the Opposition in Syria was weak so no doubt it was pumped up with other elements, weaponry and intelligence. AQ in Afghanistan was provided with weaponry and intelligence to fight the Russians. No doubt the Russians saw through the Syrian uprising all along. Heck, AQ was also in Libya! “Fool me once, shame on you…fool me twice, shame on me!” They didn’t want to fall prey to that one. In other words, it’s hard to topple a regime WITHOUT AQ’s help.

  17. An interesting twist on the story:

    Mossad training terrorists to kill Iran’s nuclear scientists, U.S. officials claim… but is Israel’s real target Obama?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2099142/Mossad-training-terrorists-kill-Irans-nuclear-scientists-U-S-officials-claim–Israels-real-target-Obama.html

  18. lobewyper says:

    I continue to think that this Israeli talk about attacking Iran is bluff. The US realizes that such could initiate a world of trouble for us and for our “best friend.” The leak about the Israel-MEK connection without the slightest attempt (so far) at denial represents in my view yet another warning to Israel by the US government to back off. I think the tide is turning against Israeli and US war-mongers.

    This whole business of “extra-judicial” killings (pre-meditated murder, as jimmy noted) goes very much against the value systems of most Americans, who do not trust government much and love to watch movies about heroic resistance to/exposure of government duplicity. These same Americans also suspect that they themselves could become targets of their own government–given the right circumstances.

    I agree with those who consider this leak another step in the process of opening daylight between ourselves and the Israelis, as well as a warning to the latter.

  19. Kathleen says:

    Allison/Annie think you will like one of Glenn Greenwalds latest
    Israel, MEK and state sponsor of Terror groups

    link to salon.com

    He makes such great points about how our Reps and others have been dealing with MEK. Why these individuals have not been held accountable for dealing with a group or individuals involved with a group that is on the US terrorist list
    “One of the most under-reported political stories of the last year is the devoted advocacy of numerous prominent American political figures on behalf of an Iranian group long formally designated as a Terrorist organization under U.S. law. A large bipartisan cast has received substantial fees from that group, the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), and has then become their passionate defenders. The group of MEK shills includes former top Bush officials and other Republicans (Michael Mukasey, Fran Townsend, Andy Card, Tom Ridge, Rudy Giuliani) as well as prominent Democrats (Howard Dean, Ed Rendell, Bill Richardson, Wesley Clark). As The Christian Science Monitor reported last August, those individuals “have been paid tens of thousands of dollars to speak in support of the MEK.” No matter what one thinks of this group – here is a summary of its activities – it is formally designated as a Terrorist group and it is thus a felony under U.S. law to provide it with any “material support.”

    There are several remarkable aspects to this story. The first is that there are numerous Muslims inside the U.S. who have been prosecuted for providing “material support for Terrorism” for doing far less than these American politicians are publicly doing on behalf of a designated Terrorist group. A Staten Island satellite TV salesman in 2009 was sentenced to five years in federal prison merely for including a Hezbollah TV channel as part of the satellite package he sold to customers; a Massachusetts resident, Tarek Mehanna, is being prosecuted now ”for posting pro-jihadist material on the internet”; a 24-year-old Pakistani legal resident living in Virginia, Jubair Ahmad, was indicted last September for uploading a 5-minute video to YouTube that was highly critical of U.S. actions in the Muslim world, an allegedly criminal act simply because prosecutors claim he discussed the video in advance with the son of a leader of a designated Terrorist organization (Lashkar-e-Tayyiba); a Saudi Arabian graduate student, Sami Omar al-Hussayen, was prosecuted simply for maintaining a website with links “to groups that praised suicide bombings in Chechnya and in Israel” and “jihadist” sites that solicited donations for extremist groups (he was ultimately acquitted); and last July, a 22-year-old former Penn State student and son of an instructor at the school, Emerson Winfield Begolly, was indicted for — in the FBI’s words — “repeatedly using the Internet to promote violent jihad against Americans” by posting comments on a “jihadist” Internet forum including “a comment online that praised the shootings” at a Marine Corps base, action which former Obama lawyer Marty Lederman said “does not at first glance appear to be different from the sort of advocacy of unlawful conduct that is entitled to substantial First Amendment protection.”

    Yet here we have numerous American political figures receiving substantial fees from a group which is legally designated under American law as a Terrorist organization. Beyond that, they are meeting with the Terrorist leaders of that group repeatedly (Howard Dean told NPR last year about the group’s leader, Maryam Rajavi: “I have actually had dinner with Mrs. Rajavi on numerous occasions. I do not find her very terrorist-like” and has even insisted that she should be recognized as Iran’s President, while Rudy Giuliani publicly told her at a Paris conference in December: “These are the most important yearnings of the human soul that you support, and for your organization to be described as a terrorist organization is just simply a disgrace”). And, after receiving fees from the Terrorist group and meeting with its Terror leaders, these American political figures are going forth and disseminating pro-MEK messages on its behalf and working to have it removed from the Terrorist list.”

    He makes great points at the end of the article also about Israel dealing with MEK and that they are on the US terrorist list. Not sure why Greenwald keeps saying that MEK was “formerly” on the US terrorist list. I thought the MEK was still on the US terrorist list

    • MHughes976 says:

      Thanks for the reference, Kathleen – I would understand Greenwald to be saying that there is currently an effort to de-list the MEK. Not surprising, really.
      ‘Doesn’t look like a terrorist!’ – Conrad’s Secret Agent is quite a good read on the subject of how terrorists can have all sorts of outward appearances. Our life would be easier if they all went round with masks and sputtering bombs.