Former Pa Governor Rendell has claimed that the State Department asked for his help in moving MEK (Mujahadin-e Khalq) members from their camp in Ashraf near the Iraqi-Iran border to Camp Liberty. I called the State Department to verify this. I have included the official State Department statement at the end of this blog post. A State Department official emphatically denied that the State Department ever requested or would ever request Rendell's help. In fact, they said the opposite. Rendell had called the State Department on MEK's behalf. My source said, "The last thing that the State Department needs is volunteer or rogue intermediaries. The MEK situation is complicated enough."
Rendell is correct that the situation with MEK is a humanitarian crisis.
Leading human rights advocate Alan Dershowitz said, "The MEK is facing a humanitarian crisis.The group agreed to give up their arms for protection. Yet, the Iraqis and Iranians have killed members of the group at Camp Ashraf and will continue to do so. The Iranian government wants Iraq to turn members of the group over to Iran, where they will be surely killed. The MEK members must be moved to safety. I am working to making that happen by talking to people in Washington."
Dershowitz, who is a true humanitarian, confirmed that he has taken no money for his advocacy. He did not want to comment on the political issues surrounding the MEK because he is only working on the humanitarian issues.
There are many misconceptions about the MEK so I checked in with several Iranian born experts on Iran. All of them are distressed that American politicians are advocating for the MEK. They also doubt that the money paid to the politicos comes from the Iranian Diaspora because most expatriate Iranians do no support the MEK.
Raisool Nafisi, a Washington political consultant, said, "The MEK is a terrorist group. It is a cult of religious automatons. MEK is a terrible dictatorship, whose culture requires complete worship of its leaders, Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. The Rajavis require complete subservience and strictly control the thinking, activities and dress of MEK members. Members are punished if they try to leave."
Reports from Rand and Human Rights Watch corroborate that the MEK abuses its own members.
He continued, "MEK, a leftist theocracy, would be worse than the present regime. Americans that are supporting them are being extremely short sighted. If they gained control of Iran, they would create anti-democratic regime."
Rendell may actually be taking blood money from Saddam Hussein.
Nafisi said, "When the head of the Iraqi Secret Police was interrogated, he confessed that Saddam Hussein was giving the MEK $30 million a month, more than $350 million in total."
Nafisi steered me to the previous New York Times reporting on the MEK. "The New York Times accurately described the conditions in the camp and the treatment of women."
That New York Times reporter, Elizabeth Rubin, who toured the camps and wrote an extensive magazine article on the MEK, has condemned in recent days the recent outpouring of support for the group.
Trita Parisi, who wrote “Treacherous Alliance-The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States” and “A Single Roll of the Dice-Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran," said, "US officials recently confirmed to NBC News that the MEK is carrying out assassinations against Iranian scientists, directly contradicting the MEK's claims to have forgone terrorism and violence. The report also cites law enforcement who say 'in 1994, the MEK made a pact with terrorist Ramzi Yousef a year after he masterminded the first attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.' According to officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity,Yousef built an 11-pound bomb that MEK agents placed inside one of Shia Islam's greatest shrines in Mashad Iran on June 20, 1994. At least 26 people, mostly women and children, were killed and 200 wounded in the attack.
This is the official statement from the State Department.
The Department of State seeks a safe, secure, humane resolution of the situation at Camp Ashraf. Our interest and our involvement is humanitarian in nature.
· Thanks to intense efforts by Ambassador Martin Kobler, the head of the United Nations’ Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), a reasonable path forward for a safe and secure relocation from Ashraf to former Camp Liberty, now called Camp Hurriya has been established.
· We have worked closely with the UN in this humanitarian pursuit, and have responded to inquiries and communicated with various private parties who have expressed an interest in this issue, including former U.S. government officials, members of foreign parliaments, and other advocates. We have, in each case, made clear that the only viable option to the Ashraf issue is a peaceful solution. We have offered our perspective on what is necessary for that to be achieved, knowing that parties were already having a dialogue with MEK representatives.
· We engage directly with the UN, the Government of Iraq, and representatives of the residents at Ashraf on the Department’s positions.