What’s wrong with MKO, and Michele Bachmann 35

In the video, Michelle Bachmann deplores the Iranian regime – good – and then praises an organization that opposes it – not good, because the organization is a terrorist group. She should be better informed.

She is not the only one in Congress who is misinformed about the Mujahedin al-Khalq Organization. Even the admirable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has swallowed their propaganda.

Everyone in the world who is not in favor of submitting to Islamic rule should know they must beware, in all contexts and circumstances, of any group that calls itself or in any way involves “Mujahedin”.

“Mujahedin” are jihadis, irregular warriors for Islam, whose method is terrorism. In short, “Mujahedin” are terrorists.

Michael Rubin traces the MKO’s history here.

He writes, in part:

Few terrorists groups garner the bipartisan endorsement and support that Iran’s Mujahedin al-Khalq Organization [MKO] has. On October 20, 2005, several congressmen and many aides attended a briefing in Congress. Maryam Rajavi, co-leader of the group and self-styled president-elect of Iran, addressed the gathering by video from France. She received a warm reception. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) thanked “Sister Maryam.” A bipartisan group of U.S. Congressmen have signed petitions calling for the U.S. Department of State to lift its 1997 classification of the group as a terrorist organization. In an April 8, 2003 interview, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chairwoman of the House International Relations Committee’s Central Asia and Middle East Subcommittee said, “This group loves the United States. They’re assisting us in the war on terrorism; they’re pro-U.S. This group has not been fighting against the U.S. It’s simply not true.” Ros-Lehtinen is wrong. Unfortunately, hers is a mistake common to some on the left and the right who care deeply about Iranian freedom but fail to understand the nature of a group which, in public, says the right things about freedom and democracy but, in reality is dedicated to the opposite. Maryam Rajavi and her husband Masud are adept at public relations and adroit at reinvention, but the organization over which they preside eschews democracy and embraces terrorism, autocracy, and Marxism… and Islamism.

They argued that not only did God create the world, but he also set forth a historical evolution in which a classless society would supplant capitalist inequity. …

In order to prepare itself for armed struggle, the MKO reached out to the Palestinian Liberation Organization. In 1970, several leading MKO, including [Masud] Rajavi received terrorist training in PLO camps in Jordan and Lebanon. The group subsequently cemented links to the Libyan regime of Mu‘ammar Qadhafi and to the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, the Soviet Union’s Arabian Peninsula satellite.

In May 30 and 31, 1972, shortly before President Richard Nixon’s state visit to Iran, the MKO launched a wave of bomb attacks which targeted the Iran-American Society, the U.S. Information Office, the Hotel International, Pepsi Cola, General Motors, and the Marine Oil Company. They failed to assassinate General Harold Price, head of the U.S. Military Mission in Iran. Less than three months later, they bombed the Jordanian embassy to revenge King Hussein’s September 1970 crackdown on their PLO patrons. In 1973, the MKO bombed the Pan-American Airlines building, Shell Oil, and Radio City Cinema in Tehran, and assassinated Colonel Lewis Hawkins, the deputy chief of the U.S. military mission. They did not only target foreigners. In a wave of bombings that continued into 1975, the MKO group attacked clubs, stores, police facilities, minority-owned businesses, factories it accused of having “Israeli connections,” and symbols of state and capitalism.

Not all was well within the MKO leadership. In 1975, the group divided into a Marxist faction that eschewed Islam, and a Muslim faction which did not. … Both groups continued their attacks on government and Western targets, all the while striking at each other. While the Marxist MKO was unsuccessful in an attempt to assassinate a senior U.S. diplomat, it killed three American employees of Rockwell International.

While both MKO factions participated in the Islamic Revolution, the Muslim MKO found shelter under the banner of Taleqani and rode the Revolution to prominence. They claimed some credit for the seizure of the U.S. embassy and subsequent hostage taking, and later demonstrated against their release. …

In the wake of the Islamic Revolution, [Masud] Rajavi consolidated his control over the organization. Rajavi divided the leadership into a Politburo and a Central Committee, and created a number of organizations to recruit and train new members. This proliferation of front organization, all serving an ideological and disciplined leadership, remains characteristic of the group today.

It was not long before Rajavi and the MKO came into conflict with the clerical circles surrounding Khomeini. …  [who] considered the MKO’s blending of Islam with Marxism, as well as the group’s denial of past jurisprudence, to be anathema. …

Khomeini … closed the group’s offices, banned its papers, and forced the MKO underground. …

The MKO called for national protests on June 20, 1980, and demonstrators heeded their call. Perhaps a half million poured into the streets in Tehran; many more turned out in cities across Iran. But Khomeini and his supporters in the Islamic Republic Party were ready. They labeled anyone marching in support of the MKO to be enemies of God, subject to summary execution. They kept their word. Khomeini’s followers killed hundreds. The warden of Evin Prison, Tehran’s main political prison, bragged of his execution of teenage girls.

Khomeini’s opponents responded. Terrorists—their affiliation unclear—blew up the Islamic Republic Party headquarters, killing hardline Ayatollah Mohammed Hosseini Beheshti, founder of the Islamic Republic’s judiciary, and 72 party members. Khomeini used the attack as reason to accelerate his purge. A reign of terror began. Thousands perished before Islamic Republic firing squads and upon its gallows. As Khomeini consolidated control, Iranians’ willingness to support the MKO evaporated.

The MKO did not surrender, though. It drove its terrorist campaign to a fever pitch, assassinating several hundred regime officials and Revolutionary Guards, and bombing the homes and offices of clerics. The group also targeted judges who passed sentence against their members. The MKO used suicide bombers with deadly effect, killing in separate incidents the Friday prayer leaders of Tehran and Shiraz. At its peak in July 1982, the group assassinated, on average, three regime officials per day; publicly, the MKO has claimed responsibility for the murders of over 10,000 people in Iran since 1981. But while the terrorist campaign shook the Islamic Republic to its core, it also claimed many innocent victims.

Rajavi… fled to Paris during Khomeini’s crackdown. …  Still more MKO supporters fled to Iraq, where they accepted the protection of President Saddam Hussein. What little support the group had once enjoyed in Iran evaporated, as Iranians saw the MKO rally in support of a dictator who launched a war that, by its conclusion in 1988, killed several hundred thousand Iranians. Ordinary Iranians are quite vocal in their hatred of the Islamic Republic and ridicule its current Supreme Leader ‘Ali Khamene‘i. …  But, without exception, all spew venom toward the MKO. The group violence and its betrayal of Iranian nationalism lost it all popular support in Iran. …

While the MKO lost both its revolutionary power struggle and the battle for Iranian hearts and minds, Rajavi has worked tirelessly to reinvent the MKO’s image. Again, he sought power in and sympathy from so many members’ martyrdom. At first, the group reached out to its old leftist and Arab nationalist patrons in Algeria, Lebanon, and among the PLO. It also sent delegations to the Italian and Greek Communist Parties, the Indian Socialist Party, and the British Labour Party. It found a sympathetic audience among left-leaning human rights organization and academics. The group targeted European parliamentarians. More than 3,000 parliamentarians signed a 1986 petition of support.

Paliamentarians have research staff. Why don’t they ever seem to find out the facts about Islamic terrorists, or even about Islam itself?

Seems that in America, members of Congress have been easily seduced by “pretty young women” to believe that the MKO is a paragon of noble goodness:

The admission of Ayatollah Hossein ‘Ali Montazeri, long-time Khomeini deputy, that Khomeini ordered the executions of 3,000 incarcerated MKO allowed the organization to further play the martyr card. The National Council of Resistance’s website describes an international organization with “official contacts with most European countries… [and] amicable relations with Middle Eastern nations.” The group has continued its petition drives. Congressional aides describe how the group sends pretty young women into the halls of Congress and various parliaments with innocuous petitions. Most lawmakers have little idea of the baggage the group carries. The MKO devotees get results. The group brags, “In 1992, in a joint global initiative, 1,500 parliamentarians declared their support for the NCR as the democratic alternative to the Khomeini regime. This included a majority in the US House of Representatives.” …

The organization sends baskets of goodies to ingenuous “lawmakers and commentators” who can’t be bothered to instruct their staff to find out the truth about it.

Within the United States, MKO members tell Congressmen, their staffs, and other policymakers what they want to hear: That the MKO is the only opposition movement capable of ousting the unpopular and repressive Islamic Republic. They are slick. Friendly lawmakers and commentators get Christmas baskets full of nuts and sweets. Well-dressed and well-spoken representatives of MKO front organizations approach American writers, politicians, and pundits who are critical of the regime. …

It would not be difficult for anyone investigating the MKO to learn that these mujahedin ” have little in their record to suggest democracy to be a goal. While they opposed the Islamic Republic only after Khomeini purged them from power, the group sought to replace Khomeini’s dictatorship with its own.”

They use methods of indoctrination or “brain-washing” that are common to many cults:

Today, Masud Rajavi — and his second wife Maryam — work to impose totalitarian control over its membership. Portraits of Masud and Maryam loom large in MKO demonstrations and facilities. In the West, the group forbids its members from reading anything but MKO newspapers and publications. Many MKO live in communal households and participate in mandatory study groups. In Camp Ashraf, Iraq, where many members sit in limbo following Saddam’s fall, MKO minders enforce celibacy, employ cult methods to break down individual will, and shield members from unsupervised exposure to outsiders.

The group hopes that the US has forgotten its terrorist strikes against Americans. And it seems that the US government is willing to forget:

Prior to Iraq’s liberation, there was rare interagency agreement about the MKO within the U.S. government. From Foggy Bottom to the Pentagon to the Old Executive Office Building, there was rare unanimity. As a terrorist organization closely allied with Saddam’s regime, the MKO should be considered combatants if they raised arms, and prisoners if they did not. …

During Iraq’s liberation, U.S. troops surrounded Camp Ashraf, the main MKO base in Iraq. … The U.S. military confined 3,800 MKO “security detainees” in the Camp. The Iranian government demanded forced repatriation and, through intermediaries, offered to trade al-Qaeda members sheltering in Iran for MKO members captured in Iraq. This offer was refused …

What brought about a change of view? –

How did the Left subsequently bolster Rajavi and empower the MKO? … General Ray Odierno, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, [said] …”Any organization that has given up their equipment to the coalition clearly is cooperating with us, and I believe that should lead to a review of whether they are still a terrorist organization or not.” Odierno’s statement was unwise. He had no authorization to make such a comment nor did it reflect anything but his own opinion. The MKO are masters of propaganda; he was unaware of the group’s history. Complacency in the face of an opponent’s overwhelming firepower makes an adversary smart, not democratic.

The gaffe made, the Pentagon fumbled its response. … Left-wing pundits and academic conspiracy theorists went into overdrive. …   enabling the group to project a false image of support where none existed. Partisan bloggers … and Washington Post correspondents, and New York Times’ columnists, repeated the story, substituting hypothesis for fact, citing each other and justifying their beliefs with anonymous sources. None can produce an iota of evidence. While the MKO has the support of a handful of congressmen and a small number pundits, Rajavi has no support in the power centers of Washington. Nevertheless, he bolsters his supporters’ morale and basks in the claim of support, however false.

Even in the era of resurgent realism, some issues should remain absolute. Terrorism, the deliberate targeting of civilians for political gain, should never be acceptable. Mitigating factors do not exist. True, in August 2003 the MKO exposed Iran’s covert nuclear enrichment program. It continues to penetrate Iran’s defenses and assassinate its opponents. This, though, is more a result of corruption and the Islamic Republic’s crumbling control over its periphery. The MKO — and any other group — can bribe officials and penetrate defenses. This should not give reason, on the hundredth anniversary of Iran’s Constitutional Revolution, to advance or reward Rajavi’s life-long megalomaniacal quest for power and his backward blend of Marxism and Islamism. Many “monsters of the left” use the rhetoric of democracy to realize their ambition. Masud and Maryam Rajavi, and the organization over which they exert dictatorial control, are no exception.

So Michele Bachmann has got it very wrong about whom to support in Iran against the grim ayatollahs and Ahmadinejad.  She is not alone in making this mistake, but unless she corrects her view in the light of the known facts about MKO, she does not deserve to be the GOP candidate for the presidency.


But wait, there’s more (as the TV salesmen say when they are about to “double the offer”).

Michelle Bachmann also wants “intelligent design” taught in the schools along with evolution. She thinks that both are science.

“I support intelligent design,” Bachmann told reporters in New Orleans following her speech to the Republican Leadership Conference. “What I support is putting all science on the table and then letting students decide. I don’t think it’s a good idea for government to come down on one side of a scientific issue or another, when there is reasonable doubt on both sides.”

“Intelligent design” is a euphemism for “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”.  That is not science.

As far as we know all the Republicans who are standing for the presidency are religious – as any who has yet to declare will be. There cannot (yet) be a presidential candidate who would not be religious. Or admit that he/she is not religious.

But we note Bachmann’s unintelligent design to have “intelligent design”  taught to children as if it were science, and mark it against her.