MeK and That Dastardly T-Word

In the news section, Jason Ditz tells us that the State Department is preparing to remove the Iranian dissident group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK) from their official list of terrorist organizations. This, after years of praise and advocacy from elite members in American politics, from Ed Randell to John Bolton to Howard Dean and Rudy Giuliani. These types of people collected payments from the MeK for their advocacy to get the group removed from the State Deparment’s list, which amounts to “material support” for terrorist groups, a felony. Of course, such well-connected, high-society types don’t get prosecuted for unlawful behavior unless it involves betraying the sanctity of marriage. And the fact that the U.S. government secretly trained MeK fighters in recent years and is now being employed by Israel to conduct acts of terrorism inside Iran probably won’t increase the likelihood of such prosecutions.

Interestingly, Glenn Greenwald has dug up the following bit of history. A document written by the Bush administration in the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, still in the archives of the White House’s website, seeks to justify the war on the basis of Saddam’s support for the very “terrorist” group we are now supporting!

Iraq shelters terrorist groups including the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO), which has used terrorist violence against Iran and in the 1970s was responsible for killing several U.S. military personnel and U.S. civilians.

This makes flagrantly clear that, as Greenwald writes, “the application of the term ‘Terrorist’ by the U.S. Government has nothing to do with how that term is commonly understood, but is instead exploited solely as a means to punish those who defy U.S. dictates and reward those who advance American interests and those of its allies (especially Israel).”

For another example, think back to the height of Obama’s war in Libya. Preeminent AEI jingo Marc Thiessan tried to justify ousting Gadhafi because, of course, he was a committed terrorist. After all, Theissan wrote, Gadhafi was:

the man who blew up Pan Am 103 over Scotland, killing 270 people; destroyed a French passenger jet over Niger, killing 171 people; bombed the La Belle discotheque in West Berlin, killing two U.S. soldiers and injuring more than 50 American servicemen; established terrorist training camps on Libyan soil; provided terrorists with arms and safe haven…

See how easy that is? Theissan and other supporters of the war went through this rap sheet repeatedly, refusing to highlight the fact that the NATO-backed rebels had direct ties to al-Qaeda and had themselves committed serious acts of “terror.”

So a terrorist is whoever our military and political leadership say it is. Until they begin to collude with them, then they’re not terrorists anymore.

5 thoughts on “MeK and That Dastardly T-Word”

  1. The politicization of terrorist also stretches to the politicization of dictators. The useful dictators are the good dictators and those who don't play ball are bad dictators. Saddam was a good dictator to the US and West in the 1980s (for arm sales in the Iran-Iraq war) but changed to a bad dictator in the 1990s (2 years after the end of the profitable Iran-Iraq war). Gaddafi was a bad dictator for decades but it changed in 2003 after Gaddafi agreed to privatize parts of his economy, buy weapons, and make oil deals (it revert to bad dictator again in 2011 — various reasons given for this change). There's also the good dictator of Bahrain who host the US Fifth fleet. Also the good dictator in Yemen who played ball before the people of Yemen removed him. The good dictator in Saudi Arabia who purchases US weapons and invests in US securities (see John Perkins). Another new good dictator will be the resource-rich Kazakhstan located strategically in central Asia.

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