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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.

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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