When Is A Terrorist No Longer A Terrorist?
By Danny Schechter
Question: When is a terrorist a terrorist? Answer: When the US government says so.
When the Mujhadeen in Afghanistan were assassinating members of their government and the Russian troops dispatched to support it, they were, in Washington's view, freedom fighters, even as their enemies branded them terrorists.
When they turned against an Afghan government imposed by the United States or revolted against a US invasion, they were once again branded terrorists.
When armed groups battling Gadaffy's govermment were supported by NATO, they were called freedom fighters. When some recently and allegedly turned violently against the United States which is now dominating Libyan politics, they are once again castigated as terrorists.
And now, the United States Government through a decision by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has decided that the Iranian group Mujahedeen Khalq, or People's Mujahedeen, that had been on the US State Department's terrorist list for years, ha now been taken off the list.
That means they will no longer face financial and legal sanctions.
One day they were feared terrorists, the next day they were not. The "bad guys" became "good guys" with the swipe of a pen.
The New York Times says this feat was accomplished through what it describes as an "extraordinary" lobbying effort costing millions over many years.
Reports the Times: "The group, known as the M.E.K., carried out terrorist attacks in the 1970s and 1980s, first against the government of the Shah of Iran and later against the clerical rulers who overthrew him. Several Americans were among those killed. In the 1980s, it allied with Saddam Hussein, who permitted it to operate from Camp Ashraf.
But by most accounts, the M.E.K. has not carried out violent attacks for many years. While it is described by some critics as cult-like and unpopular with Iranians both inside and outside the country, the group has been able to gather large crowds at rallies in the United States and Europe to press its bid to reverse the United States' terrorist designation, imposed in 1997."
The decision comes just before an October 1 cut off date ordered by a Federal appeals court
US News explains: "As recently as 2007, a State Department report warned that the M.E.K., retains "the capacity and will" to attack "Europe, the Middle East, the United States, Canada, and beyond.
The M.E.K., which calls for an overthrow of the Iranian government and is considered by many Iranians to be a cult, once fought for Saddam Hussein and in the 1970s was responsible for bombings, attempted plane hijackings, and political assassinations. It was listed as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997.
If the State Department does decide to delist M.E.K., whose name means "People's Holy Warriors of Iran," it will be with the blessing of dozens of congressmen."