Saturday, July 14, 2012

MEK Spokesmen and Their Cozy Home at The Huffington Post

Earlier this week, Glenn Greenwald reported that, on Tuesday,
The Huffington Post published a post by Hossein Abedini, who was identified in the byline as a “Member of Parliament in exile of Iranian Resistance.” His extended HuffPost bio says that he “belongs to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran” (NCRI). The NCRI is the political arm of the Mujahideen-e Khalq, (MeK), the Iranian dissident group (and longtime Saddam ally) that has been formally designated by the U.S. State Department since 1997 as a Terrorist organization, yet has been paying large sums of money to a bipartisan cast of former U.S. officials to advocate on its behalf (the in-hiding President of the NCRI, Massoud Rajavi, is, along with his wife Maryam Rajavi, MeK’s leader). Abedini, the HuffPost poster, has been identified as a MeK spokesman in news reports, and has identified himself the same way when, for instance, writing letters to NBC News objecting to negative reports about the group.
After noted journalists Hooman Majd, Robert Mackey, Greenwald himself, and others "noted the oddity that HuffPost was publishing pieces from a designated Terrorist group, HuffPost deleted the piece."  A HuffPo spokesperson also told Greenwald that Abedini's post "was published by mistake," adding, "By policy, we don't publish blog posts by people affiliated with designated terrorist organizations. The blog editor who published it was unaware that NCRI is MEK's political arm. When the mistake was discovered the post was removed."

Nevertheless, all of Abedini's previous articles remain archived on HuffPo.  Furthermore, Greenwald points out that "The Huffington Post has also repeatedly published Ali Safavi, who is also identified as 'a member of Iran’s Parliament in Exile, National Council of Resistance of Iran'" and "use[s] his HuffPost platform to propagate standard MeK propaganda."  All of Safavi's posts remain accessible.

But that's not all.

There's yet another MeK/NCRI spokesman and propagandist who also regularly posts articles on HuffPo: Alireza Jafarzadeh.  All of his posts remain live on HuffPo, where he is touted (in a bio written by himself) as a foreign affairs analyst who has appeared all over Western media, speaking on behalf of the terrorist groupFox News has long featured him as a contributing commentator and he currently runs his own "consulting" firm in Washington D.C. called "Strategic Policy Consulting" which is pretty much just a phony company that manages his own media appearances and lobbying to Congress.  One look at his Twitter feed removes all doubt as to Jafarzadeh's affiliation (at the highest level) with the MeK.

In a tweet from June 2, 2012, Jafarzadeh linked to a New York Times article about potential MeK delisting and added the hastag #WhatIDreamAbout.

Many of his online bios ignore his clear connection to the MeK; however, his bio on the "Strategic Policy" site and HuffPo itself contain a version of the following: "Until August 2003, Jafarzadeh acted for a dozen years as the chief congressional liaison and media spokesperson for the US representative office of Iran’s parliament in exile, the National Council of Resistance of Iran."

When the D.C. office of NCRI was shut down in 2003 by the State Department, Jafarzadeh and others like him created a network of front organizations to continue spreading the MeK message without explicitly using the name.  According to a 2004 FBI report, Alireza Jafarzadeh was said "to be running the MEK cell in the Washington D.C. area" along with another MeK shill Soona Samsami.  No one would honestly believe that Jafarzadeh's role as MeK spokesman is something of the past.

At a Capitol Hill hearing last July, Jafarzadeh, along with well-known MeK spokesman Ali Safavi, was seen counseling three of the panel's witnesses - Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Representative Bob Filner (D-CA), and former Bush Administration Attorney General Michael Mukasey - in the halls of Congress right before the hearing.  This would appear to demonstrate even more evidence of direct coordination between current and former U.S. officials and representatives of a designated terrorist group - in the halls of our own government no less.  Shockingly, Capitol Hill police made no arrests.

But hey, at least it's not like these designated terrorists throw parties, attended by people like House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and former Homeland Security secretary and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, in Congress itself.  Oh wait, never mind.

It should also be noted that neocon hawk Danielle Pletka of AEI is even disgusted by the high-priced advocacy on behalf of the MeK by U.S. political players.  Earlier this month, she referenced the Foreign Agents Registration Act in a post excoriating paid MeK shills like Howard Dean, Mike Mukasey and Jim Jones, writing,

This litany of whoring (is there any other word?) for foreign terrorists is appalling. And don’t soothe yourself with the notion that the MEK aren’t really terrorists or are about to be delisted by the State Department. Delisting is ridiculous, but also irrelevant. Foreign principals are foreign principals, and people who do their bidding are foreign agents. FARA is a criminal statute; let’s see what Justice does about enforcing it. For shame on these lobbyists for terrorists, each and every one.

And that's coming from a pal and defender of fake dissident leader/regime change hero Ahmad Chalabi.  Yikes.


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