At a rally in Paris last Sunday, former Republican presidential candidate and House Speaker Newt Gingrich spoke on behalf of the Mujahadin-e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian opposition group considered a terrorist organization by the US State Department.
“This is a massive, world-wide movement for liberty in Iran,” Gingrich said, in a short speech posted on YouTube. “And not anything like the State Department’s descriptions.”
The push to get the group removed from the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations, presumably to make it eligible for US funding to undermine the Iranian government, ignores the fact that the MEK engage in violence to this day.
MEK fighters have been secretly trained by the US in recent years and is now being employed by Israel to conduct acts of terrorism inside Iran. To US officials in Washington though, any group that happens to oppose their enemy, Iran, are freedom fighters.
The MEK has received years of praise and advocacy from elite members in American politics, from former Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell to former UN Ambassador John Bolton to former Governor of Vermont Howard Dean and former New York Mayor 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.
Embarrassingly, Gingrich railed against the Iranian regime for the Iranian hostage crisis, where hundreds of US citizens were taken hostage at the Iranian embassy following the 1979 revolution, not knowing that the State Department says the MEK participated in it. The MEK is also said to have praised the 9/11 attacks when they occurred in 2001.
The hypocrisy of pro-MEK shills like Gingrich is stark. It was only a matter of years ago that Gingrich’s own party, making the case for a war in Iraq which he also supported, claimed Saddam’s support for the MEK “terrorist” group justified the US invasion.
“Iraq shelters terrorist groups including the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO),” read the Bush administration document, “which has used terrorist violence against Iran and in the 1970s was responsible for killing several US military personnel and US civilians.”