By Richard Sale
I believe that delisting the Mujahadeen-e Khalq (MEK) from the US foreign terrorist organizations (FTO) list is in every way reprehensible. I realize that all US public officials, especially the president, are involved in systems of necessity and that without satisfying those necessities, their hold on power wouldn’t last very long. Everyone agrees that the president is a pawn of political speculations and maneuvers, and that he is at once the citizen, the voter, the candidate, the taxpayer, as well as the ordinary, common man. But this results in a curious split of judgment, and the result is that we look on the same individual as responsible and irresponsible, depending which of these fictions we adopt, and whether we are in a juridical or an objective frame of mind.
But one has to remember certain historical facts, the first being that at the beginning of his administration, President Obama wanted to relax tensions with Iran and engage with it diplomatically while Israel continued to carry out killings of Iranian nuclear scientists using its proxies, including an armed group of Iranian dissidents, the MEK, a group that has high-level political backers in the US despite being a terrorist organization.
I have said publicly, quoting former US officials, that a number of Israeli terrorists were members of the MEK, who are paid by Israel to do targeted killings of Iranian nationals. “The MEK is being used as the assassination arm of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service,” said Vince Cannistraro, former CIA chief of counterterrorism. He also said that the MEK is in charge of executing “the motor attacks on Iranian targets chosen by Israel. They go to Israel for training, and Israel pays them.”
According to one former senior CIA official, the MEK is particularly violent. Back in the 1970s, in France, they did killings of Americans in Paris, including six or seven US Army sergeants. He added that the French “were terrified of them.”
As part of Israel’s continuing battle to hold off the Iranian nuclear program, the MEK, paid by Israel, have not only assassinated Iran’s nuclear scientists, but US officials have said they believe that a saboteur at the Natanz nuclear facility, probably an MEK member, used a memory stick to infect the machines there.
These officials said using a person on the ground would greatly increase the probability of computer infection, as opposed to passively waiting for the software to spread through the system. “Iranian double agents” would have helped to target the most vulnerable spots in the system,” said a high ranking source. In October 2010, Iran’s intelligence minister, Heydar Moslehi, said an unspecified number of “nuclear spies” were arrested in connection with the Stuxnet.33 virus.
It is a dismal history, but, alas, as I said, we are all slaves of necessity.
– Richard Sale was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and his entry was given a National Press Club Award for “excellence in diplomatic reporting” in 1989. He has been reporting on intelligence since 1977, most recently as UPI’s Intelligence Correspondent. Sale’s book, “Clinton’s Secret Wars,” was selected by the History and Military Book Clubs and Book of the Month 2.