Rudy Giuliani, Terrorist Supporter
For more than a year now, Americans have witnessed the repulsive spectacle of high-profile U.S. politicos speechifying, editorializing, and lobbying in support of the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK)—an Iranian expatriate group legally designated by the State Department as a “terrorist organization.” The goal of these politicos is to have the MEK’s terrorist designation removed, an effort that involves a menagerie of former government officials that includes Howard Dean, Michael Mukasey, Lee Hamilton, Tom Ridge, Bill Richardson, Wesley Clark, Michael Hayden, John Bolton, Louis Freeh—and perhaps most famously (and repulsively), Rudy Giuliani, who parlayed 9/11 fame into national reputation as Anti-Terrorist Crusader extraordinaire. New developments in the past few weeks, however, may make these men wish they’d never heard of the MEK.
Consider, for instance, the recent report by NBC’s Richard Engel and Robert Windrem about the MEK’s close collaboration with certain infamous al-Qaeda associates:
Law enforcement officials have told NBC News that in 1994, the MEK made a pact with terrorist Ramzi Yousef a year after he masterminded the first attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. According to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Yousef built an 11-pound bomb that MEK agents placed inside one of Shia Islam’s greatest shrines in Mashad, Iran, on June 20, 1994. At least 26 people, mostly women and children, were killed and 200 wounded in the attack.
That connection between Yousef, nephew of 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, and the MEK was first reported in a book, “The New Jackals,” by Simon Reeve. NBC News confirmed that Yousef told U.S. law enforcement that he had worked with the MEK on the bombing.
Who are the MEK and why are politicians like Rudy Giuliani supporting them? Well, to begin with, Rudy and his playmates aren’t doing this for free. As The Christian Science Monitor’s Scott Peterson detailed last August, the MEK and its affiliates are paying these hacks tens of thousands of dollars for their services:
Former US officials taking part in MEK-linked events told the Monitor or confirmed publicly that they received substantial fees, paid by local Iranian-American groups to speaker bureaus that handle their public appearances.
The State Dept. official, who is familiar with the speech contracts, explains the mechanism: “Your speech agent calls, and says you get $20,000 to speak for 20 minutes. They will send a private jet, you get $25,000 more when you are done, and they will send a team to brief you on what to say.”
In fact, it is these fees and other payments that, according to today’s New York Times, have recently spurred the Treasury Department’s counter-terrorism unit to investigate former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, one of the MEK’s most vocal U.S. advocates. It seems that there have long been a number of laws on the books that forbid accepting payment in exchange for assistance or services to a State Dept.-listed terrorist group.
Why has the MEK been listed by the State Department as a designated terrorist organization, like Hamas, al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab, Hezbollah, and the Tamil Tigers? Well, because, starting in the early 1970s the MEK targeted U.S. military personnel and civilians for assassination, killing at least six U.S. citizens in indiscriminate bombing attacks. Then, the MEK played a role in the takeover of the U.S. embassy during the 1979 Iranian revolution, in which 52 hostages were held for more than a year. Then, dissatisfied with the results of the Iranian revolution, the MEK joined forces with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein during his war against Iran–treachery for which, to this day, the MEK are still despised in Iran. Below is a recent panel discussion on this matter from Al-Jazeera:
NBC’s Engel and Widrem quote a 1997 U.S. State Department report that paints a grim picture of the MEK and its cultish leaders, Maryam and Massoud Rajavi :
The report, which was obtained by NBC News, was unsparing in its assessment. “The Mujahedin (MEK) collaborated with Ayatollah Khomeini to overthrow the former shah of Iran,” it said. “As part of that struggle, they assassinated at least six American citizens, supported the takeover of the U.S. embassy, and opposed the release of the American hostages.” In each case, the paper noted, “Bombs were the Mujahedin’s weapon of choice, which they frequently employed against American targets.”
The State Department report describes the Rajavis as “fundamentally undemocratic” and “not a viable alternative to the current government of Iran.”
One reason for that is the MEK’s close relationship with Saddam Hussein, as demonstrated by this 1986 video showing the late Iraqi dictator meeting with Massoud Rajavi. Saddam recruited the MEK in much the same way the Israelis allegedly have, using them to fight Iranian forces during the Iran-Iraq War, a role they took on proudly. So proudly, they invited NBC News to one of their military camps outside Baghdad in 1991.
“The National Liberation Army (MLA), the military wing of the Mujahedin, conducted raids into Iran during the latter years of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War,” according to the State Department report. The NLA’s last major offensive reportedly was conducted against Iraqi Kurds in 1991, when it joined Saddam Hussein’s brutal repression of the Kurdish rebellion. In addition to occasional acts of sabotage, the Mujahedin are responsible for violent attacks in Iran that victimize civilians.”
“Internally, the Mujahedin run their organization autocratically, suppressing dissent and eschewing tolerance of differing viewpoints,” it said. “Rajavi, who heads the Mojahedin’s political and military wings, has fostered a cult of personality around himself.”
Why do Rudy Giuliani and others want the State Department to remove the MEK from its list of terrorist organizations? Duh! So that the MEK, whose 3,000 fighters are now housed in a military base near Baghdad, can better raise funds to prosecute its terror campaign against Iran!