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American Resistance To Empire

Libyan Gen. Haftar Sends 70 Wounded To Russia For Treatment

70 of Haftar’s forces to Russia for treatment

libya-prospect

LIBYAPROSPECT – Benghazi

A military source said that the forces of the House of Representatives (HoR) under the leadership of General Khalifa Haftar had transported 70 wounded soldiers to Russia for treatment.

The source added that this is an indication that the cooperation between Haftar and Russia had started.

An army officer said that the wounded had traveled to Russia from Benghazi through Egypt.

Haftar has a cooperating relationship with Egypt and Emirates in fighting the revolutionaries’ council in Benghazi.

From his side, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said, on Wednesday, that his country considers Haftar as one of the main Libya personalities.

Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum, Lavrov added that the Libyan crisis must be ended as soon as possible.

He said that he supports the meeting between the main parties in the Libyan conflict. Lavrov called for a meeting that gathers the head of the Presidential Council (PC), Fayez Al-Sarraj, the head of the HoR Ageela Saleh, and Haftar.

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Sunni Terrorism is Killing Internationally but America Blames Iran: Christians and Hezbollah

[USA, CIA Created Sunni Islamic Terrorism ; Most World Terrorism Is By Sunni Terrorists, 4 Years Running ]

Sunni Terrorism is Killing Internationally but America Blames Iran: Christians and Hezbollah

modern-tokyo-times

 

 

Sunni Terrorism is Killing Internationally but America Blames Iran: Christians and Hezbollah

Boutros Hussein, Chika Mori, and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

iran

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Donald Trump of America was elected based on promises over the internal economy and re-energizing the nation state by focusing on equal trade agreements that envisage greater protection for American workers. Sadly, it seems that in the realm of geopolitics, terrorism, and military issues, that the usual easy slogans are back in favor in order to appease Israel and Saudi Arabia respectively. Therefore, if events spiral out of control in the Ukraine, it appears that promises with solving the relationship with the Russian Federation may also be missed.

James Mattis, the US Defense Secretary, is citing Iran with being the “biggest state sponsor of terrorism.” Yet mentioning Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen, in relation to Iran being involved in terrorism is not only false, it denies the stable role of Iran in helping to defeat ISIS (Islamic State – IS) in Iraq and Syria. This, amazingly, includes Iran assisting America by stealth in Iraq because without Iran’s resolve – and the role of Shia militias – then the central government of Baghdad was threatened with being overrun by ISIS prior to the counterattack.

Equally, religious minorities, including Christians and Yazidis in Iraq, are threatened by the genocidal and enslaving tendencies of Sunni Islamists in this country based on endless atrocities by ISIS. Similarly, in Syria, the Shia force of Hezbollah is helping to protect Syrians of all faiths, irrespective if Christian, Druze, or Muslim. Likewise, the main Christian politician in Lebanon, Michel Aoun, is known to have good relations with Hezbollah.

Indeed, Sunni Islamic terrorism is responsible for September 11 in America just like the same ideology is spreading its barbaric tendencies in Europe. Maybe Mattis isn’t aware of the difference of geopolitics and international terrorism? After all, the terrorists of Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab, Al-Nusra, Boko Haram, ISIS, the Taliban, and a plethora of others, follow the same Sunni Islamic intrigues in line with the political ambitions of the Sunni Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. In other words, Africans, Asians, Europeans, and North Americans, are threatened solely by Sunni Islamic terrorism in countless nations. Also, in parts of some European cities, the reality of Sunni Islamization based on Gulf petrodollars and the policies of naïve politically correct liberals in Europe is altering the demographic and religious landscape.

ISIS to the anti-Shia state institutionalism of Saudi Arabia and other nations including Bahrain are fermenting sectarianism based on the endless persecution of Shia Muslims. Given this reality, the growth of Al-Qaeda (AQAP in Yemen) in Yemen and the growing tentacles of ISIS in this nation are based on the Sunni Muslim coalition under the leadership of Saudi Arabia. Therefore, the Shia in Yemen – and all forces opposed to the Saudi Arabia led coalition – face the triple forces of Sunni Islamic aggression, Western military arms boosting Saudi Arabia, and the wrath of bloodthirsty Sunni Islamist groups including AQAP and ISIS.

Mattis said, “We have seen their [Iran’s] misconduct, their misbehavior, from Lebanon and Syria to Bahrain and to Yemen and it’s got to be addressed at some point.”

Yet, this statement by Mattis seems more aimed at appeasing Israel and Saudi Arabia, rather than caring about the religious mosaic of the region and finding a space in order for Christians to survive throughout the Middle East. For example, in Syria, it is government forces and allies including Hezbollah that are enabling the Christians to survive the genocidal tendencies of ISIS and other Sunni Islamist sectarian terrorist forces. Likewise, Hezbollah and Christians in the Aoun camp in Lebanon – and at a local level based on the initiatives of Shia mosques and Christian churches – seek to maintain the religious mosaic of this nation.

His Eminence, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, an extremely powerful religious cleric in the movement of Hezbollah knows full well the real danger to the entire region. Nasrallah said, “I want to ask the Christians before the Muslims: You are seeing what is taking place in Syria. I am not causing sectarian evocations. Let no one say that Sayyed is doing so. Not at all! Where are your churches? Where are your patriarchs? Where are your nuns? Where are your crosses? Where are the statues of Mary (pbuh)? Where are your sanctities? Where are all of these? What has the world done for them? What did the world do for them previously in Iraq? Aren’t these groups causing all of this in all the regions?”

Nasrallah is confirming that Christians and Christian churches survive openly in Lebanon and in Syria under government controlled areas. Indeed, Syrian soldiers of all faiths, be they Muslim or Christian, are on the frontline against ISIS and various al-Qaeda affiliates. Whereas, in Iraq, the demise of the Christian population is based on the intrigues of major Western powers and the role of Sunni Islamists in major Gulf nations that are spreading Sunni Islamic sectarianism. Similarly, not one single Christian church is tolerated in Saudi Arabia. Also, in major Western nations, the problem is Sunni Islamist educational indoctrination that is being tolerated via Takfiri Sunni mosques and Sunni Islamist educational facilities that are creating states within a state.

In a past article by Modern Tokyo Times, it was stated, “It is ironic that Hezbollah (Hizbullah) in Lebanon under His Eminence, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, is more concerned about the plight of Christians and other religious minorities, rather than the so-called democratic West. Indeed, it is abundantly clear that America, France, and the United Kingdom are fully behind the emptying of Christians throughout the Middle East based on their close ties with feudal Gulf monarchies. Therefore, while Saudi Arabia bans the Christian faith it is also clear that Western meddling in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, is leading to a catastrophe for the Christian populations of these nations. Indeed, it is even hard to say nations about Iraq and Libya because Gulf and Western destabilization policies have led to failed states. Syria, thankfully, is fighting tenaciously in order to preserve the religious mosaic and to prevent another failed state.”

Mattis is clearly delusional at best but at worse his words are based on enormous manipulation of language. Yes, Iran and Hezbollah are anti-Israel but this is a different issue that is outside the scope of international terrorism. In other words, if America opposes Iran despite this nation helping America in the past in Afghanistan via the Northern Alliance after September 11 and the role of this nation in modern day Iraq, then Mattis should focus on the geopolitical reality of this and the role of Gulf petrodollars.

International terrorism is mainly killing in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Sometimes, the same international terrorism butchers in Berlin, Brussels, London, Madrid, New York, Nice, Paris, and other Western cities. Yet this international terrorism is Sunni Islamist and just like the nation state of Saudi Arabia, this hatred is aimed at all non-Muslims, the Shia, and moderate variants of Sunni Islam that are now equally being deemed to be apostates. Therefore, Mattis is disingenuous and is misleading the people of America by focusing on limited and endless geopolitical games that are emboldening the sword of Sunni Islamism.

‘The Senate is coming apart’

‘The Senate is coming apart’

politico

 

Things have gotten so bad in the chamber lately that Chuck Schumer even voted against Mitch McConnell’s wife.

 

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The seats for Democratic senators remain empty as a vote is held for Scott Pruitt’s nomination to be administrator of the EPA during a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing Feb. 2. | Getty
The Senate is barely functioning. And the future looks even bleaker.

Showdowns, government shutdown threats and “nuclear options” will loom over the chamber in the coming months. In fact, the tumultuous first month of President Donald Trump’s administration may turn out to be the most pleasant period of the 115th Congress.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Total GOP control of Washington should mean that Trump gets everything he wants out of Capitol Hill.

But Senate Democrats — the last line of Democratic defense — are slow-walking the installation of Trump’s Cabinet to a historic degree, so much so that Republicans haven’t even started yet on Trump’s legislative agenda. Republicans will eventually win all these confirmation battles, but it will be time-consuming and ugly.

How ugly has it gotten? Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer voted against the nomination of Elaine Chao for secretary of Transportation. Chao happens to be the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

Chao was approved easily — the vote was 93-6 — but Schumer’s “no” vote infuriated many Republicans. Yet it was also the embattled Schumer’s way of sending a message to both his base and GOP counterparts – “I will do whatever it takes.” He joined the likes of Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker in voting again Chao.

“The Senate is coming apart,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).

“It’s not a good time. It’s not a good time,” added Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Democrats, many of whom openly loathe Trump and are furious over his refugee crackdown – which Democrats describe as a “Muslim ban” – and other executive actions, have used all the procedural arrows in their quiver to slow down confirmation of Trump’s Cabinet nominees. They’ve boycotted committee meetings, refused to let panels meet in the afternoon, dragged out votes as long as possible, and refused to agree to even normal floor requests. They are voting against Trump’s Cabinet picks in unprecedented numbers, arguing that Trump doesn’t deserve even a patina of partisan support.

And their tactics have been partly successful.

The Senate’s confirmation of Trump’s Cabinet is the slowest in modern history, spanning back to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan had their whole Cabinets confirmed at this point, Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama were nearly finished and even George H.W. Bush had nine of his Cabinet secretaries in place despite opposition from a Democratic Senate.

Trump, though, has only four Cabinet secretaries confirmed, although several more — including Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions — are expected to clear this week.

Democrats say it’s Trump’s own fault for the slow pace. Democrats claim if Trump had picked better qualified candidates for these posts, the slowdown wouldn’t have happened.

“They are extraordinarily fringe cabinet nominees driving this conversation,” insisted liberal Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), a central advocate of slowing Trump’s agenda.

McConnell has responded to the delay tacits by exploiting his majority status to grind down the Democrats. He scheduled a rare 6:30 a.m. Senate vote on Friday to move forward Betsy DeVos for Education secretary. He has delayed the opening times for the Senate each day to evade Schumer’s objections. When Democrats refused to attend committee hearings to vote on nominees, Republicans changed the committee rules so they could jam them through. They moved forward on nominations even before background checks are complete or refused Democratic demands for more information.

Republicans insist Democrats will eventually get tired of gnashing their teeth over Trump. He’s the president and there’s nothing they can do about it. It’s a message you hear over and over from Republicans — Trump won, let it go.

“I don’t see how they sustain their anger and their lack of participation in the governing process very long and still come back in 2018. I just don’t think it’s an agenda for success,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas.) “So my hope is that once they sort of get over the fact that Donald Trump won … they’ll try to be more productive.”

GOP senators add that Democrats made their own troubles on Trump’s nominees by invoking the “nuclear option” on executive-branch nominees and lower-court judges in 2013, making it possible to push them through on a simpler majority vote. Before that, it took 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, forcing presidents and the majority to cut deals with the minority party.

The prospect of another “nuclear option” fight looms over Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, a move that would cause a volcanic uproar from the minorty party. Yet Democrats won’t rule out blocking him and Republican are threatening to kill the supermajority requirement to get him confirmed, potentially watering down the filibuster even further.

However, the real payback from Democrats may come later in year. The first half of 2017 will be dominated by bills that McConnell can push through on a simple majority — including Obamacare repeal and a tax-reform package.

But government funding will run out on April 28, and Democrats could filibuster any bill to keep the government open— and force a showdown over keeping the government down. It’s unlikely to happen, admitted Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), although other Democrats suggest it could.

The summer will see a vote on increasing the nation’s $20-trillion-plus debt ceiling. Republicans can push an increase through the House on their own, but need 60 votes in the Senate. Democrats could get leverage there.

It is the annual appropriations bills, though, where Democrats have their most power. GOP congressional leaders and the White House already believe Senate Democrats will block most or all of those bills, looking to gain an upper hand over Trump and Republicans. If Trump goes too far with policy riders — totally defunding Planned Parenthood, for instance — or makes too deep cuts to the EPA or other health and safety programs, Democrats suggest they’re willing to go the mat.

“I don’t know, depends on what they propose,” replied Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) when asked about funding brinkmanship. “We’re not going to just shut the government down to shut the government down. That’s not what this is about.”

A number of senators, including those in his own party, said Trump is going to have to dramatically tone down his rhetoric and attempt to build some relationships with Democrats.

“I hope and believe that, sooner rather than later, the president will realize that he has to establish some [bipartisan] relationships,” McCain said.

McCain added that the first two weeks of the Trump presidency have felt like “two months.” And some longtime legislators had to dredge up dire events to make today’s political battles seem normal.

“People ask me if I’m worried about our country right now. And I say, well I am. But I always try to put things in perspective,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.). “This is a country that survived a civil war followed by the assassination of our president followed by the impeachment of the next president. We got through that, so the Senate will get through this.”

Trump Cabinet Picks Include Supporters of MEK Iranian Sunni Terrorist Group

[With each new decision made by President Trump, we see more and more clearly, that Trump is no different from the previous Presidents who have been foisted upon us by our corrupt electoral system.  Trump has made a huge issue of patriotism and “making America great again,” in order to hoodwink the masses into believing that he will actually bring industry back to the US.  He may increase jobs somewhat, but he will bring no industries back here. 

Trump is there to increase the value of his US investments and those of his fat-cat fellow-travelers, and to keep pushing the Zionist agenda.  He is maintaining the Israel-serving tradition started by Reagan, that of assembling another “neoconservative” cabinet, disguised as a cabal of patriots.  A Hillary cabinet would have looked no different, except for the Trump emphasis on American jobs and homeland security.]

Trump Cabinet pick paid by ‘cult-like’ Iranian exile group

foxnews

 

FILE- In this Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010 file photo,former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani walks under a photo of Iran opposition leader Massoud Rajavi as he takes the podium to speak at a protest of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to the United Nations, in New York. A Cabinet nominee of U.S. President Donald Trump and one of his advisers gave paid speeches for an Iranian exile group that killed Americans before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, ran donation scams and saw its members set themselves on fire over the arrest of their leader. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)FILE- In this Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010 file photo,former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani walks under a photo of Iran opposition leader Massoud Rajavi as he takes the podium to speak at a protest of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the United Nations, in New York. A Cabinet nominee of U.S. President Donald Trump and one of his advisers gave paid speeches for an Iranian exile group that killed Americans before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, ran donation scams and saw its members set themselves on fire over the arrest of their leader. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)  (The Associated Press)

An official in U.S. President Donald Trump’s Cabinet and at least one of his advisers gave paid speeches for an Iranian exile group that killed Americans before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, ran donation scams and saw its members set themselves on fire over the arrest of their leader.

Elaine Chao, confirmed this week as Trump’s transportation secretary, received $50,000 in 2015 for a five-minute speech to the political wing of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, previously called a “cult-like” terrorist group by the State Department. Former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani also was paid an unknown sum to talk to the group, known as the MEK.

More than two dozen former U.S. officials, both Republican and Democratic, have spoken before the MEK, including former House Speaker and Trump adviser Newt Gingrich. Some have publicly acknowledged being paid, but others have not.

While nothing would have prohibited the paid speeches, they raise questions about what influence the exiles may have in the new administration.

Already, a group of former U.S. officials, including Giuliani, wrote a letter to Trump last month encouraging him to “establish a dialogue” with the MEK’s political arm. With Trump’s ban on Iranians entering the U.S., his administration’s call this week to put Iran “on notice” and the imposition of new sanctions on Friday, the exile group may find his administration more welcoming than any before.

A potential alliance with the MEK would link the U.S. to a group with a controversial history that has gone against American interests in the past by supporting Iran’s Islamic Revolution and the U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran. After fleeing Iran, the MEK joined forces with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. It later exposed details of the clandestine nuclear program run by Iran, which views the MEK as its sworn enemy.

“The Mujahedeen have backed the winning horse. They are going to have some at least entree into the administration,” said Ervand Abrahamian, a professor at the City University of New York who wrote a book on the MEK. “I think it weakens the U.S. because the more they have access to the administration, the more people in Iran are going to be scared of anything the U.S. does.”

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“THE AYATOLLAH MUST GO”

The MEK long has cultivated a roster of former U.S. and European officials to attend its events opposing Iran’s clerically-run government. It pays for the appearance of many.

Standing before a cheering crowd of MEK supporters in Paris in 2015, Giuliani didn’t disappoint.

“The ayatollah must go! Gone! Out! No more!” Giuliani shouted in a speech as American flags waved behind him on giant screens.

“I will not support anyone for president of the United States who isn’t clear on that slogan behind me. What does it say? It says regime change!”

Giuliani has acknowledged being paid for his appearances at MEK events. However, he hasn’t filed a government disclosure form since his failed 2008 Republican presidential bid, so it’s unclear how much the MEK has paid him in total. Giuliani did not respond to an Associated Press request for comment sent through his aides.

As Guiliani spoke in Paris, behind him were a host of other former officials on stage, including Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. A former director of the Peace Corps and a labor secretary under President George W. Bush, Chao gave a much more subdued speech focusing on women’s rights.

“While discrimination against women (has) been outlawed in other countries, Iran has been legalizing it,” Chao said. “While other countries are empowering women, Iran has been penalizing them.”

Chao had a seat of honor at the Paris event next to Maryam Rajavi, the “president-elect” of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the political arm of the MEK. She received a $50,000 honorarium from the MEK-associated Alliance for Public Awareness, according to a report she filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

Chao received another $17,500 honorarium for a March 2016 speech she gave to the Iranian-American Cultural Association of Missouri, which MEK opponents also link to the exile group. Chao did not respond to requests for comment.

Gingrich has also spoken to the MEK before, including at a gala in 2016, although it is not clear whether or how much he was paid. Gingrich could not be reached for comment. The White House also had no comment.

The MEK welcomes the incoming Trump government, as “some people within this administration” plan to change American policies toward Iran, said Mohammad Mohaddessin, the chairman of the foreign affairs committee of its political arm.

“The core of the policy that we are advocating is to be tough with the Iranian regime, to not ignore its crimes against the Iranian people,” Mohaddessin told the AP.

The U.S. Treasury briefly investigated the MEK’s practice of paying American politicians in 2012. A Treasury spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment about the status of that probe.

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“THE KILLING OF TWO AMERICANS, THIS WAS WORK OF MOVEMENT MUJAHEDEEN”

The MEK was formed by radicalized university students in 1965. It embraced both Marxism and the idea of an Islamic government after the violent overthrow of the American-backed shah. Their name, Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, means “the People’s Holy Warriors.”

The group at one point successfully infiltrated the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, according to a State Department report. And a series of bombings attributed to the MEK accompanied visits by presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter to Iran, including one to target an American cultural center.

In 1973, MEK assailants wearing motorcycle helmets shot dead U.S. Army Lt. Col. Lewis L. Hawkins, the deputy chief of the U.S. military mission to Tehran, as he walked home from work.

In 1975, gunmen attacked a car carrying two American airmen, killing them. Hours later, American consular officials received a call claiming the attack for the MEK in revenge for Iran executing prisoners.

“This was work of Movement Mujahedeen of Iran,” the caller said, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable.

In the three years that followed, the MEK killed three American employees of defense contractor Rockwell International and a Texaco executive.

“The Mujahedeen are xenophobic,” a once-secret 1981 CIA assessment on the group said. “Anti-Americanism and anti-imperialism provide cornerstones for the policies.”

The MEK, which now describes itself as being “committed to a secular, democratic, non-nuclear republic” in Iran, blames a Marxist splinter faction of the group for killing the Americans.

After joining in the Islamic Revolution and the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, the MEK quickly fell out of favor with Iran’s first Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

The MEK declared war on Iran in June 1981. Within days, a bomb exploded at the headquarters of the Khomeini-directed Islamic Republican Party in Tehran, killing at least 72 people. Both Iran and the CIA attributed the attack to the MEK, which never claimed responsibility for it.

A series of assassinations and attacks followed as MEK leaders and associates fled to Paris. Later expelled from France, the MEK found haven in Iraq amid its grinding, bloody war with Iran. Heavily armed by dictator Saddam Hussein, MEK forces launched cross-border raids into Iran.

After Iran accepted terms of a United Nations cease-fire in 1988, the MEK sent 7,000 fighters over the border. The attack further alienated the group from average Iranians.

The MEK says it renounced violence in 2001. But the U.S. Army’s official history of the Iraq invasion in 2003 says MEK forces “fought against coalition forces” for the first weeks of the war, something the MEK denies.

Fourteen U.S. soldiers were killed and at least another 60 wounded escorting MEK members on supply missions, according to a RAND Corp. report prepared for the office of the U.S. defense secretary. The MEK itself became a target of violence, and in September 2013 at least 52 members were shot dead.

Thousands of MEK members were ultimately resettled in Albania.

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“CULT-LIKE CHARACTERISTICS”

After siding with Saddam, the MEK’s popularity in Iran plummeted. To boost its ranks, the group increasingly began targeting Iranians applying for visas abroad in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, promising them work, aid in moving to Western countries and even marriage, according to RAND.

“Most of these ‘recruits’ were brought into Iraq illegally and then required to hand over their identity documents for ‘safekeeping,'” RAND said. “Thus, they were effectively trapped.”

The MEK also forced its members to divorce their spouses and separated parents from their children, which the State Department described as “cult-like characteristics.” The MEK dictates how much its members sleep, giving them busy-work tasks and controlling what outside news they consume, according to RAND and Abrahamian, the university professor.

For years, MEK leader Massoud Rajavi, the husband of Maryam Rajavi, hasn’t been seen publicly and is presumed to have died, Abrahamian said. MEK members call him the “Hidden Imam” who will return to Earth as a messiah, Abrahamian said.

When French police arrested Maryam Rajavi in 2003 as part of a terrorism investigation, MEK members responded by lighting themselves on fire in Paris and other European cities. The MEK denies it is a cult.

Over the years, the MEK has been targeted in a series of investigations around the world for running charity scams.

An FBI probe found MEK members hustled travelers arriving to Los Angeles International Airport, asking them to donate after showing them binders of photographs of disaster or torture victims. The money instead went to banks in Belgium, France, Jordan, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to “support MEK operations and activities, including terrorist activities,” a 2007 indictment against seven members said.

In Britain, authorities dissolved a charity in 2001 allegedly associated with the MEK that had made an estimated 5 million pounds a year. Its investigation found some donors “were misled into believing they were personally sponsoring individual children when this was not in fact the case.”

In the 2003 raids in France, police found $1.3 million, mostly in $100 bills, at MEK-affiliated properties.

Mohaddessin, the MEK foreign policy chairman, blames the investigations on a concerted misinformation campaign carried out by Iran. The Islamic Republic has imprisoned and executed the group’s members for years.

“These allegations are absolutely false,” Mohaddessin said. “There are many cases that were fabricated by the Iranian regime and their agents.”

Iran also has alleged the MEK receives foreign support. After the assassination of four nuclear scientists, Iran accused Israel of training and equipping MEK fighters who committed the killings. The MEK called the accusation “absolutely false” at the time, while Israel declined to comment.

In recent months, Saudi Arabia increasingly has shown support for the MEK as it faces off with Iran in wars in Syria and Yemen. The kingdom’s state-run television channels have featured MEK events and comments. Prince Turki al-Faisal, the nation’s former intelligence chief, even appeared in July at an MEK rally in Paris.

“I want to topple the regime too,” the prince said to cheers.

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“SKILLED MANIPULATORS OF PUBLIC OPINION”

From protests at the United Nations to their Paris rallies, the MEK has proven over the years to be effective at getting attention.

RAND in 2009 called the group “skilled manipulators of public opinion.” A U.S. diplomatic cable from February of that year released by WikiLeaks described their “extravagantly hospitable, exaggeratedly friendly, culturally-attuned manner.” The cable also mentioned that the MEK had “a history of using intimidation and terrorism for its ends,” which Mohaddessin called an allegation from the Iranian regime.

The MEK’s success in getting former U.S. officials behind them could be seen in a letter dated Jan. 9 sent to Trump just days before his inauguration.

“We repeat the call for the U.S. government to establish a dialogue with Iran’s exile resistance,” read the letter, signed by Giuliani and others.

However, exile groups haven’t always been proven to be reliable American allies in the Middle East. Exiled Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi, for instance, heavily lobbied the administration of President George W. Bush to invade by pushing false allegations of weapons of mass destruction and links to al-Qaida.

Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for comment.

But while the MEK continues to pay former U.S. officials for their time, the family of the American lieutenant colonel killed in 1975 has filed a $35 million federal lawsuit in Colorado against the group and Iran.

The reason for the lawsuit, Lt. Col. Jack Turner’s family says, is simple: “Unlike the U.S. hostages, our father never had the chance to come home.”

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Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jongambrellap. His work can be found at http://apne.ws/2galNpz.

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