MEK IN ACTION….Speaking of terrorism, on Thursday Agonista Nick Hoover went the DAR in Washington to see the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK or MKO) give a conference on “regime change” in Iran.
Here’s the first part of Nick’s report:
The Agonist – Reps. Bob Filner, D-Calif., Tom Tancredo, R-Col., Ted Poe, R-Texas, Dennis Moore, R-Kan., and staffers for Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas, and James Talent, R-Mo., addressed a convention of MEK supporters today in Washington.
The MEK has been listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department since 1997, but some in Congress and close to the Administration want the group to be removed from the terrorist list. Even President Bush has called the MEK a “dissident group.”
In addition to incursions into Iran and targeted killings of Iranian officials and security agents, MEK attacks have often killed civilians there. The MEK has been accused of attacking coalition troops in Iraq, carried out attacks on the Iranian consulate to the UN and 12 other Iranian embassies in 1992, assisted Saddam Hussein in his suppression of Shiite and Kurdish insurgencies in the early 1990s, and killed U.S. military and civilian personnel working in Iran in the 1970s out of anger for American support of the shah. Members of the MEK also supported the 1979 takeover and hostage taking at the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Here is more on the group.
Tancredo called Maryam Rajavi, the MEK’s leader, “quite an extraordinary lady.”
Laura Rozen has also been doing some excellent reporting:
Several Iranian-Americans I know have been on Iranian TV the past few days fussing that the Bush administration was allowing this terrorist group to have a rally here, TV which is beamed into Iran. What’s more, the firm, Premiere Speakers Bureau, recruiting speakers for the MEK event told me Dick Armey vetted the group for them, including by checking with the State Department, and got the go-ahead from State. (I called State for confirmation on this today and was not given a clear answer). Was this what the administration intended? Did they want Teheran to see that they were allowing this MEK conference?
I know for a fact that Premiere was made well aware of who they were recruiting speakers for. They were also the speaker recruitment firm for the conference last year that MEK leader Maryam Rajavi also addressed by live video feed, that was monitored by the FBI, and was reported on by the Washington Post. Indeed, Premier’s rep told me about the article and the problems for speaker Richard Perle with the conference’s MEK association. But it was Premiere’s impression from Dick Armey that State had cleared this conference, the organizers and the financing. Hey, Washington Iran experts, what does that mean?
The MEK issue is, to my mind, the best way to separate the anything-goes fanatics from the rational supporters of the genuine opponents of theocratic governance in Iran.