Thursday, December 09, 2004

MKO Lobbying: Who are the Mojahedin and what are they up to?

MKO Lobbying: "MKO Influence in U.S. Politics

Who are the Mojahedin and what are they up to?
Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the President of the United States issued Executive Order 13224. This order ostensibly blocked the assets of terrorist organizations and individuals associated with terrorism. The Mojahedin-e Khalq Organziation (aka MKO, MEK, National Council of Resistance of Iran, NCRI, People's Mojahedin of Iran, PMOI, et al.) is one such listed terrorist organization. Several years before, however, Congress passed the 1996 Antiterrorism Act which directed the State Department to draw up a list of foreign terrorist organizations. Such a list was produced by then Secretary Albright in 1997 and has been updated each two years or as required (1999 info). Additional information on the terrorist list is found in The "FTO" List and Congress. It is a common assertion of the MKO that they were listed during the Clinton administration as a "gesture" to Iran. As evidence of this, an article in the 09 October 1997 issue of the L.A. Times is cited which paraphrases an un-named Clinton administration official as stating that the listing was intended as a goodwill gesture. Whether or not there were persons in the Clinton Administration who held this view, it was made clear to me in my conversations with the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the State Department that no such political considerations were made in drawing up the list. The fact is that the MKO were included in the very first list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations under the 1996 Antiterrorism Act and this determination was consistent with prior assessments by the State Department that the MKO was an organization involved in terrorism and this view was expressed even during the first Bush Administration. Indeed, in its decision on docket No. 01-1465 the United States Court of Appeals found:

.... Petitioner argues that there is not adequate
record support for the Secretary's determination that it is a
foreign terrorist organization under the statute. However, on
this element, even the unclassified record taken alone is quite
adequate to support the Secretary's determination. Indeed,
as to this element-that is, that the organization engages in
terrorist activities-the People's Mojahedin has effectively
admitted not only the adequacy of the unclassified record, but
the truth of the allegation."