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65 MARCH 2014


John Kerry Gets Pressed To Grant Asylum To Former Terrorist Group MEK, March 13, 2014 By Christina Wilkie WASHINGTON -- In what has become an all-too-familiar sight on Capitol Hill, at least a half-dozen members of the exiled Iranian group Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK, arrived at Thursday's hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, all dressed in their trademark yellow shirts. For most of the past 15 years, the group had been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. But in September 2012, as the U.S. prepared to pull troops out of Iraq, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton revoked the terrorist designation, 1 part of a diplomatic effort to persuade MEK leadership to begin moving their 3,000-plus members out of Iraq. Ever since the American pullout, the MEK has found itself under threat from Iraqis who vividly recall its decade-long alliance with Saddam Hussein. MEK members attended Thursday's hearing to advance a bold proposition: that the thousands of their adherents still living in Iraq should be granted asylum and moved to the United States. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) emerged Thursday as the most vocal proponent of this plan, which was also championed at the hearing by Reps. Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.). Rohrabacher aimed his questions at the only witness testifying that day, Secretary of State John Kerry. "I've introduced legislation, H.R. 3707, which would grant asylum to these people in Camp Ashraf, who are obviously in danger," Rohrabacher said. "Is the administration supporting this concept?" Kerry sidestepped the question in his typically diplomatic way. "There's one solution to the problem [of the MEK], and that is that we need to relocate those folks," he said.
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Current Iran "Crisis" Began With Overthrow of Democratically Elected Government in 1953, March 23, 2014 By Mark Karlin In Manufactured Crisis, investigative journalist Gareth Porter details the manipulation and fabrications that have accompanied the current Iranian nuclear situation. The main difference between this and the Iraq war conspiracy, the author says, was that the neoconservatives who were carrying it out never got the war on Iran they wanted. Have we narrowly averted a war with Iran, and were the Neocons again behind the bellicose threats against Tehran? Investigative journalist Gareth Porter offers his perspective, as detailed in Manufactured Crisis in this interview with Truthout. MARK KARLIN: You use the phrase Manufactured Crisis as the title of your book about the Iran nuclear scare. Were you thinking about Dick Cheney and George W. Bush's manufactured crisis to justify the Iraq War as precedent? GARETH PORTER: No, I wasnt thinking of the direct parallel with the "manufactured crisis" that preceded and paved the way to the invasion and occupation of Iraq when I first came up with the title. But the more I have uncovered about the details of manipulation and fabrications that have accompanied the Iranian crisis, the clearer it has become that the parallel between the two "manufactured crises" is extremely close. In fact, the book shows that the Bush administration was laying the groundwork for creating a false WMD case against Iran in much the same way that it did in the run-up to the war in Iraq. Readers will be shocked to find that the information that the Bush administration exploited politically most effectively in making the case for a covert nuclear weapons program in Iran came from a German intelligence agency source - a member of the same MEK terrorist organization - just as the source of the famous Iraqi "mobile bioweapons labs" story told by Colin Powell in a UN speech had been the source that the BND [German federal intelligence service] had code-named "Curveball." But the parallels between the two conspiracies are even stronger: In both cases the BND warned the US government not to rely on the information from its source, which had been passed on the CIA, because they had concluded it was not trustworthy. And equally startling, in both cases, the Bush administration officials pressured top CIA officials to use the information anyway, while keeping poor Colin Powell ignorant of the BND warning! I show that the "manufactured crisis" over Iran's nuclear program was part of a war conspiracy every bit as heinous as the Iraq war conspiracy. The main difference was that the neoconservatives who were carrying it out never got the war on Iran they wanted. MARK KARLIN: You describe three primary stages to the Iranian nuclear crisis diplomatic narrative. Can you briefly describe them? GARETH PORTER: The first stage was triggered by the discovery of the Natanz enrichment facility in 2002 by the Mujahedin-e-Khalq, a terrorist organization that was working hand in hand with Israel. The Bush administration, in coordination with Israel, used that event to launch an [International Atomic Energy Agency] investigation that was intended by the two allies to put Iran on trial for deceiving the IAEA for two decades in order to cover up a nuclear weapons program. That would in turn make it possible to haul Iran before the UN Security Council, giving the Bush administration a basis for a potential military option. But the IAEA investigation fizzled out, but the Bush neoconservative-Israel alliance had a secret weapon - a set of documents that was said to have come straight from a Iranian nuclear weapons research project. In 2008, the IAEA, cooperating closely with the Bush administration, began pushing those documents as evidence for Irans nuclear weapons intentions, thus beginning the second phase of the crisis. The third phase of the crisis began with an IAEA report in November 2011 that was based almost entirely on intelligence coming from Israel. It was the signal for the phase of punishing sanctions against Irans oil exports and Central Bank, which followed immediately. Read the whole Interview here:


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continued from page 1 John Kerry...

"Can't we relocate them here? Why not?" Rohrabacher shot back. "That's one of the things we're looking at," Kerry replied.

Paris-based Maryam Rajavi and her husband, Massoud Rajavi.5 Under the Rajavis, MEK members have instituted forced celibacy, mandatory divorce and gender segregation, according to a 2009 report from the nonpartisan Rand Corporation.6 The MEK is also still widely viewed as a militant organization with a "cultic focus on suicide," wrote the Rand authors, despite the group's having formally renounced violence in 2003. But long odds don't mean the MEK won't keep trying to gain asylum in the United States. No longer restricted by the terrorist designation, they are now free to spend their millions of dollars -- the source of which remains murky -- without fear of Treasury Department scrutiny. In 2013, they opened a formal office in a high-rent building on Pennsylvania Avenue and set about expanding their already large cadre of prominent Washington lobbyists. Around Washington, the MEK is known for having spent millions of dollars7 on a highly visible advocacy campaign to help secure their delisting as a terrorist organization. To plead their case, the group hired dozens of former administration officials turned government affairs consultants, 8 including Andrew Card, onetime chief of staff to President George W. Bush, and James Jones, former national security advisor to President Barack Obama.

Kerry went on to describe a new position he had created within the State Department, that of senior advisor for Mujahedin-e Khalq resettlement. In October of last year, he appointed, a longtime Kerry adviser and an expert in international law, to the position. Rohrabacher's bill is co-sponsored by many of the same lawmakers who initially backed delisting the MEK from the terrorist roll. As of Thursday, there were 46 co-sponsors.2 But administration officials privately suggest that Rohrabacher's bill, and any other efforts to grant asylum to the MEK in the United States, face nearly insurmountable odds. "It's one thing to unfreeze their assets [by removing the terrorist designation], but asylum is a whole different ballgame," an administration official said, speaking on background to The Huffington Post. To illustrate how limited U.S. asylum policy is in practice, the official noted that out of the more than 135,000 applications received from individuals fleeing Syria's bloody civil war, only 31 were admitted3 in the last fiscal year. "The policy concern with asylum is what kind of precedent that might set for the future. By those standards, the MEK isn't looking very good," said the official. So far, Winer has managed to secure visas from the Albanian government4 for more than two dozen MEK members. Other than that, however, it's been an uphill climb to convince other countries to accept MEK members, due to their cult-like characteristics and near-religious devotion to the

References: [1] middleeast/iranian-opposition-group-mek-wins-removalfrom-us-terrorist-list.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 [2] hr3707#overview [3] [4] ps/2013/06/210208.htm [5] [6] [7] [8]


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Iran says ready to pardon hundreds of exiled dissidents

AFP, March 19, 2014 Tehran (AFP) - Iran is ready to pardon hundreds of members of an exiled Iranian opposition group based at a former military camp near Baghdad, Iran's ambassador to Iraq told the Mehr news agency on Wednesday. "After conducting investigations, 423 members (of the People's Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran - PMOI) who do not have any legal problems can return to Iran," Hassan Danaeifar was quoted as saying. The number represents about 14 percent of the estimated 3,000 members of the PMOI who are living in exile at Camp Liberty, near Baghdad airport. "Iran is ready to pardon those members who did not kill anyone or do not have complaints against them," he said, without elaborating. Danaeifar added that a bid by "a considerable number of this group who wish to come back to Iran was blocked by their leaders". The leftwing PMOI was founded in the 1960s to oppose the shah of Iran. After the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted the shah it took up arms against Iran's clerical rulers and Tehran holds it responsible for murdering thousands of Iranian civilians and officials. The group set up camp in Iraq during Saddam Hussein's war with Iran in the 1980s, but was disarmed after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 toppled Saddam. Today's Shiite-majority and Iran-friendly government in Baghdad is eager to see it move elsewhere. In 2012, the United State removed the group from its terror blacklist. The move was strongly condemned by Iran. Scores of PMOI members have been killed in more than a dozen attacks on their camps since US troops withdrew from Iraq at the end of 2011. Mehr meanwhile also quoted Danaeifar as saying that Iranian Justice Minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi will travel to Iraq later this month to sign several memoranda of understanding, including the extradition of criminals.

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Members of the People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI) shout slogans while holding pictures of victims