MKO likely to be delisted as terror organization
(MNA) - The Obama administration is likely to remove Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) from the U.S. State Department's terrorism list, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The paper quoted unnamed “senior U.S. officials” as saying that though Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has yet to make any final decision on the MKO’s status, the State Department was “looking favorably” at delisting the terrorist group.
The MKO was exiled from Iran in 1981 to Paris but moved to Iraq soon after to support Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran in the 1980s. Saddam also used the group for suppressing Kurdish uprisings in the north and Shia revolts in the south.
The group, whose members now being relocated across Iraq from their base at Camp Ashraf, was designated as a terrorist group by Washington in 1997, accused of killing U.S. servicemen and contractors in the 1970s.
In February a report by NBC quoted unnamed U.S. officials as saying that the MKO was being financed, trained and armed by Israel’s Mossad in Iraqi Kurdistan to carry out assassinations within Iran. Several Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated over the past year.
In April, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported that under the Bush administration, the U.S. trained the group in tactics, communications and weaponry in Nevada as part of the “war on terror”.
Former RAND Corporation analyst Jeremiah Goulka, who has studied the MKO and visited them at Camp Ashraf, said that in addition to wanting to overthrow the Iranian government, the group’s leaders are fascinated in private sexual thoughts of their members. Sexual thoughts must be disclosed to the group and those who deny having errant thoughts are accused of hiding them and shamed and publically humiliated.
For the past year the group has been engaged in an intensive lobbying campaign in the U.S. Congress to persuade the Obama administration to remove its name from the State Department's terrorism list. Leading political and intelligence figures such as Howard Dean, Fran Townsend, Wesley Clark, Ed Rendell, Rudy Giuliani, Tom Ridge, James Jones and James Woolsey have all been paid to speak in support of the MKO and to pressure the U.S. government to delist it.
As the group is officially classified as a terrorist organization, these figures have been accused my several commentators of “aiding and abetting terrorists”, a criminal offence under U.S. law.
Due to the pressure, the U.S. Treasury Department is currently enquiring into former U.S. Governor Ed Rendell. The ex-governor was paid $20,000 by MKO for a 10-minute speech and he frequently flew to Europe to drum up support to remove the group from the terrorism list.