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MEK Re-Ups 3 Year Old Nuclear Propaganda

Terror Group is Sounding Board for Dubious US Intel

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | July 13, 2013

giuliani_rajavi

Rudy Giuliani with MEK leader Maryam Rajavi
(Photo Credit: Jacques Demarthon / AFP)

Embracing its recent removal from the U.S. State Department’s list of designated foreign terrorist organizations, the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), an exiled Iranian terror cult with deep pockets and close ties to the Washington establishment, is attempting to ramp up the fear-mongering and propaganda over Iran’s nuclear program following last month’s election of moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani as the Islamic Republic’s next president.

In April 2013, the group opened an office in Washington DC and officially registered as a lobbying organization the following month.

Now, a Reuters article from July 11, 2013 reported the MEK and its affiliate organizations such as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) claim to have “obtained reliable information on a new and completely secret site designated for [Iran’s] nuclear project,” despite providing no credible evidence to back up the allegation.

The supposed site is said to be “located in a complex of tunnels beneath mountains 10 km (6 miles) east of the town of Damavand, itself about 50 km northeast of Tehran.” The MEK claimed that construction of the site began in 2006 and it was recently completed. “The site consists of four tunnels and has been constructed by a group of engineering and construction companies associated with the engineering arms of the Ministry of Defence and the IRGC (Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards force),” a statement from the terror group said.

Unsurprisingly, the Iranian government immediately denied the allegations.

As in nearly all media reports on the MEK, Reuters credits the group with having “exposed Iran’s uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and a heavy water facility at Arak” in 2002. But beyond the fact that Iran’s nuclear program was never a secret, this specific claim is untrue, as nuclear experts Jeffrey Lewis and Mark Hibbs pointed out back in 2006.

In fact, the U.S. intelligence community had been tracking Iran’s nuclear facility development for quite some time, notably its construction at both Natanz and Arak. Lewis notes that, in 2002, “someone leaked that information to an Iranian dissident group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which then released the second-hand dope in a press conference where they got the details wrong.” The information the MEK supposedly gleans from sources inside Iran are actually just leaks received from intelligence agencies in the United States and Israel.

Since then, the MEK has not itself provided a single shred of credible information regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Furthermore, in early 2007, an unnamed senior official at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) revealed to the Los Angeles Times, “Since 2002, pretty much all the intelligence that’s come to us [from the United States about the Iranian nuclear program] has proved to be wrong” and has never led to significant discoveries inside Iran.

“They gave us a paper with a list of sites. [The inspectors] did some follow-up, they went to some military sites, but there was no sign of [banned nuclear] activities,” the official told The Guardian at the time. Additionally, the LA Times reported that “U.S. officials privately acknowledge that much of their evidence on Iran’s nuclear plans and programs remains ambiguous, fragmented and difficult to prove.”

Additionally, the Associated Press reported this past May that, when it comes to accusations about the Iranian nuclear program and despite their terrible track record, “about 80 percent of the intelligence comes from the United States and its allies.”

Reuters, writing about the MEK’s most recent revelation, noted, “The group released satellite photographs of what it said was the site. But the images did not appear to constitute hard evidence to support the assertion that it was a planned nuclear facility.” Clearly, a non-state actor like the MEK doesn’t have satellites of its own floating around in space taking pictures of Iranian mountains; it’s obviously getting the information from government organizations with advanced spying resources.

Though these latest claims by the MEK have garnered quite a bit of attention this week, they are, in fact, nothing new.  Allegations about tunnel systems have long been a go-to source of alarmism over Iran’s nuclear program. Back in January 2010, on the heels of promoting an opinion piece that explicitly advocated an unprovoked military attack on Iran, The New York Times‘ William Broad published a hysterical report, which claimed, “Over the past decade, Iran has quietly hidden an increasingly large part of its atomic complex in networks of tunnels and bunkers across the country.”

The report goes on to lament that Iranian efforts to protect their own nuclear infrastructure from military attack is viewed by the U.S. administration as “a stealth weapon, complicating the West’s military and geopolitical calculus.” Translation: it’s harder to spy on things and then blow them up when they’re not out in the open and that’s annoying.

Broad doesn’t even try to mask the frustration:

“It complicates your targeting,” said Richard L. Russell, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst now at the National Defense University. “We’re used to facilities being above ground. Underground, it becomes literally a black hole. You can’t be sure what’s taking place.”

Even the Israelis concede that solid rock can render bombs useless. Late last month, the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, told Parliament that the Qum plant was “located in bunkers that cannot be destroyed through a conventional attack.”

Despite the decades of threats from the United States and Israel, then-U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates didn’t realize the blistering irony when, discussing the heavily-fortified uranium enrichment site at Fordow, he said, “If they wanted it for peaceful purposes, there’s no reason to put it so deep underground, no reason to be deceptive about it, keep it a secret for a protracted period of time.”

Later in his report, Broad describes Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a tunnel aficionado and quotes Greg Duckworth, a “civilian scientist” described as having “recently led a Pentagon research effort to pinpoint enemy tunnels,” as saying, “Deeply buried targets have been a problem forever. And it’s getting worse.”

As the January 2010 report continues, a familiar name emerges under the heading “An Opposition Watchdog.” Who could that be? Broad writes, “In 2002, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an opposition group, revealed that Iran was building a secret underground nuclear plant at Natanz that turned out to be for enriching uranium. Enrichment plants can make fuel for reactors or, with a little more effort, atom bombs.”

He goes on to sing the praises of NCRI for having announced “that Iran was digging tunnels for missile and atomic work at 14 sites” in 2005 and announcing “that Iran was tunneling in the mountains near Natanz, the sprawling enrichment site” in 2007, which he says was confirmed by satellite images.

In December 2009, Broad writes that NCRI issued yet another report on “Iranian military tunneling,” which claimed “Iran had dug tunnels and bunkers for research facilities, ammunition storage, military headquarters and command and control centers.”

“A group of factories” in the mountains east of Tehran, it insisted without providing proof, specialize in “the manufacturing of nuclear warheads.”

Broad even quotes the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Frank Pabian saying of the MEK, “They’re right 90 percent of the time. That doesn’t mean they’re perfect, but 90 percent is a pretty good record.” Mohamed ElBaradei, former IAEA Director-General, had a different take on the group. “We followed whatever they came up with. And a lot of it was bogus.”

In his reporting, William Broad never once identifies the MEK or NCRI as an officially designated terrorist group, which at the time they both were and had been for over a decade.

To hammer home how deliberately alarmist the claims actually were, the Times even published the article with a photograph of a smiling Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his entourage in red hardhats emerging from what is apparently supposed to resemble a steel-reinforced underground lair. Yet the photo is wholly unrelated to any of the allegations made within the report.

The caption beneath of the picture reads, “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, center, at a highway tunnel near Tehran. Much of Iran’s atomic work is also in tunnels.”

Yes, that really happened. Fit to print, indeed.

The focus on Iranian tunnels leads inevitably to discussion of American military capabilities and the challenges faced by less vulnerable facilities. Broad, in his 2010 report, noted that the “Pentagon is racing to develop a deadly tunnel weapon” for such circumstances. That weapon has since been completed and tested, but has not been sold to Israel for fear it might be used without American authorization.

Clearly, the MEK’s latest revelations are recycled claims and, like before, are essentially allegations based on vague intelligence leaked to the group by American officials. The MEK merely acts as a laundering service for the unproven accusations of its handlers in the United States and Israel.

Unfortunately, the mainstream press – even when skeptical about the information – continues to dutifully provide a platform for such propaganda and fear-mongering by publishing such accusations.

July 15, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

MEK Spokesmen and Their Cozy Home at The Huffington Post

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | July 14, 2012

Earlier this week, Glenn Greenwald reported that, on Tuesday,

The Huffington Post published a post by Hossein Abedini, who was identified in the byline as a “Member of Parliament in exile of Iranian Resistance.” His extended HuffPost bio says that he “belongs to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran” (NCRI). The NCRI is the political arm of the Mujahideen-e Khalq, (MeK), the Iranian dissident group (and longtime Saddam ally) that has been formally designated by the U.S. State Department since 1997 as a Terrorist organization, yet has been paying large sums of money to a bipartisan cast of former U.S. officials to advocate on its behalf (the in-hiding President of the NCRI, Massoud Rajavi, is, along with his wife Maryam Rajavi, MeK’s leader). Abedini, the HuffPost poster, has been identified as a MeK spokesman in news reports, and has identified himself the same way when, for instance, writing letters to NBC News objecting to negative reports about the group.

After noted journalists Hooman Majd, Robert Mackey, Greenwald himself, and others “noted the oddity that HuffPost was publishing pieces from a designated Terrorist group, HuffPost deleted the piece.”  A HuffPo spokesperson also told Greenwald that Abedini’s post “was published by mistake,” adding, “By policy, we don’t publish blog posts by people affiliated with designated terrorist organizations. The blog editor who published it was unaware that NCRI is MEK’s political arm. When the mistake was discovered the post was removed.”

Nevertheless, all of Abedini’s previous articles remain archived on HuffPo.  Furthermore, Greenwald points out that “The Huffington Post has also repeatedly published Ali Safavi, who is also identified as ‘a member of Iran’s Parliament in Exile, National Council of Resistance of Iran'” and “use[s] his HuffPost platform to propagate standard MeK propaganda.”  All of Safavi’s posts remain accessible.

But that’s not all.

There’s yet another MeK/NCRI spokesman and propagandist who also regularly posts articles on HuffPo: Alireza Jafarzadeh.  All of his posts remain live on HuffPo, where he is touted (in a bio written by himself) as a foreign affairs analyst who has appeared all over Western media, speaking on behalf of the terrorist group.  Fox News has long featured him as a contributing commentator and he currently runs his own “consulting” firm in Washington D.C. called “Strategic Policy Consulting” which is pretty much just a phony company that manages his own media appearances and lobbying to Congress.  One look at his Twitter feed removes all doubt as to Jafarzadeh’s affiliation (at the highest level) with the MeK. … Full article

July 16, 2012 Posted by | Corruption, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Columnist Clarence Page Spoke at Rally for Iranian Militant Group

By Justin Elliott | ProPublica | July 2, 2012

Late last month,  syndicated columnist Clarence Page appeared at a rally in Paris in support of the Mujahadin-e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian group that has been lobbying Washington to be removed from the U.S. government’s list of designated foreign terrorist organizations.

Before a huge crowd waving portraits of MEK leaders Maryam and Massoud Rajavi as well as Iranian flags, Page called for the MEK to be removed from the official terrorist organization list.

Contacted about the appearance by ProPublica, Page said he has decided to give back his speaking fee for the event, as well as reimburse the cost of travel to and from France, which was paid for by a group called the Organizing Committee for Convention for Democracy in Iran.

“I thought they were simply a group of Iranian exiles who were opposed to the regime in Tehran,” Page said. “I later found out they can be construed as a MEK front group, and I don’t think it’s worth it to my reputation to be perceived as a paid spokesman for any political cause.”

Page said he was paid a fee of $20,000 and travel expenses and that he attended the June 23 event during vacation time. He said he just arrived back at work from vacation and has not yet given back the money. He did not have the text of the speech he delivered, but he told ProPublica he spoke in favor of the MEK being removed from the list of  terrorist organizations, a move he expects to occur shortly.

The MEK, which fiercely opposes the current regime in Iran, has  mounted a high-priced lobbying and legal battle to get off the terrorist list in recent years. The group was placed on the list in 1997 by the Clinton Administration, which cited its record of attacks against Iranian targets.  The group also “assassinated several U.S. military personnel and U.S. civilians working on defense projects in Tehran” in the 1970s when the U.S. was allied with the Shah, according to the State Department. The MEK says it has renounced violence. A federal appeals court last month ordered the State Department to decide within four months whether the MEK should remain on the list.

Groups supporting the MEK have paid millions of dollars to attract former officials and retired military officers to appear at events supporting the group in recent years. But because the MEK is an officially designated terrorist organization, it is illegal for Americans to accept money from the MEK itself. NBC reported in March that former officials had received subpoenas as part of a federal probe “focused on whether the former officials may have received funding, directly or indirectly, from the [MEK].”

Besides Page’s role as a columnist whose work is distributed by Tribune Media Services, he is also a member of the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board. Page has not written about Iran in his  column recently, but the Tribune editorial board regularly weighs in on foreign policy. Last month, the paper called on the Obama administration to “ratchet up the economic pressure” on Iran in the dispute over the country’s nuclear program. A spokeswoman for the Tribune did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Organizers assert  that 100,000 people attended the Paris event last month, but that figure has not been independently verified. In a speech, Maryam Rajavi hailed the “unparalleled bipartisan coalition which has challenged the official policy” that labels the MEK a terrorist group.

Others attending the event last month include Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, former Bush administration official John Bolton, and several former high-ranking military officers.

“When I got involved with it, I saw the stellar list of VIPs who were also on the program, and I saw this to be another conference with another speech,” Page said.

Page said the invitation to the event last month came through his agent Janet LeBrun Cosby and Bethesda-based Speakers Worldwide.

~

Video of Newt Gingrich speech at the event:

July 3, 2012 Posted by | Corruption, Video | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Columnist Clarence Page Spoke at Rally for Iranian Militant Group

US leaders charged for accepting money from anti-Iran terrorist group

Rehmat’s World | March 19, 2012

On Friday, the US Treasury Department issued subpoenas into an investigation against over three dozen former high ranking US government and military officials for accepting large sum of money in return for lobbying for an anti-Tehran government terrorist militant group, the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), known as ‘Munafiqun-e-Khalq (or People’s traitors) in Iran. The group is listed as a ‘terrorist organization’ by the State Department. Allegedly, these Judeo-Christians sold their souls to the devil for $30,000 to $160,000.

All under investigation are ‘Israel-Firsters’ belonging to the Republican, Democratic and Tea parties. The list includes former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell (Jewish) of Pennsylvania and currently MSNBC contributor, Democratic Gov. Howard Dean (Jewish) of Vermont; former Republican Homeland Security Advisor to George W. Bush and currently CNN’s resident terror expert, Frances Townsend (Jewish), Bush’s Attorney General, Michael Mukasey (Jewish), and former UN ambassador John Bolton (crypto-Jew); former Republican Mayor of New York, Rudolph Guiliani (Zionist Christian); and ex-FBI Director Louis Freeh (crypto Jew) and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton (friend of Jewish Army).

Several of these evil-doers have been advocating tirelessly to get the MEK removed from the US terrorist list. Howard Dean, Gens. Hugh H. Shelton, Peter Pace, Wesley K. Clark, James L. Jones and Rudolph Guiliani and several others went to Paris to meet MEK’s boss, Maryam Rajavi, who told these Muslim haters to urge Washington to recognize her as the President of Iran.

Both MEK and Jundallah terrorist groups are linked with Israel which has used them to destablize Iran by bombing civilian and military targets and assassination of country’s top nuclear scientists.

According to a ruling by the US Supreme Court in 2010 – a DOJ interpretation of the ‘material support’ statute, the MEK’s listing as a terror organization makes it illegal to coordinate with, provide assistance to, or take payment from the group.

Glenn Greenwald, American Jewish lawyer, columnist, author and blogger wrote in Salon recently:

“There are large numbers of people – almost always Muslims – who have been prosecuted and are now in prison for providing “material support” to Terrorist groups for doing far less than Fran Townsend and her fellow cast of bipartisan ex-officials have done with and on behalf of MEK. In fact, the US Government has been (under the administration in which Townsend worked) and still is (under the administration Rendell supports) continuously prosecuting Muslims for providing “material support” for Terrorist groups based on their pure speech, all while Fran Townsend, Ed Rendell and company have said nothing or, worse, supported the legal interpretations that justified these prosecutions“.

March 20, 2012 Posted by | Corruption, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Comments Off on US leaders charged for accepting money from anti-Iran terrorist group