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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Freedom fighters love torture

The "People's Mujahideen" of Iran (MKO) are a revolutionary army based in a US protected camp in Iraq. They're a 4000 person strong anti-Iranian dissident group. They're supported by a number of high profile British politicians, human rights lawyers and some Washington neo-conservatives. They're now accused of torture and brainwashing.

The Guardian report is extraordinary:

"The group, known as the 'tank girls' because of the preponderance of women in its ranks, has also won the support of the UK Daily Telegraph, which wants it to help overthrow the mullahs in Tehran. It says in a leader: "We should back the main resistance group, the People's Mujahideen ... Give them the tools and they will finish the job".

"There is a growing right-wing campaign in parts of Washington and London for regime change, citing Iran's nuclear ambitions. But leftwing UK figures have also joined the campaign to legitimise the Mujahideen, whom they see as freedom fighters."

Refugees from the Mujahideen tell stories of torture and life under a fundamentalist cult. Human Rights Watch has gathered enough eyewitness reports that suggest an extremist organisation with friends in very high places.

Read the whole report.

The Bush administration recently announced an increase in funding to so-called pro-democracy activists against the current Iranian regime. One wonders if the groups receiving these funds are more trustworthy than the Iraqi group primarily supported by the Bushies and Democrats before the 2003 invasion: Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. We all know what happened to that relationship.

Meanwhile, Tony Blair's New Labour campaigning methods are providing inspiration for a number of Iranian politicians, including Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf, a religious hardliner standing in this month's Iranian presidential election. Qalibaf's background should be a cause for concern. A former national police chief, he is accused of urging a violent crackdown on pro-reform students in 1999.

From a believer in curbing civil rights and launching illegal foreign wars to a man who advocates violent suppression of dissent, it seems like a match made in heaven.

2 Comments:

Anonymous the young-lib brigade said...

The MKO was founded by saddam hussein, who trained and supplied it. There are similar anti-iraqi organizations on the iranian side. Its a leftover legacy of the iran-iraq war.

America is keeping them going because for all their faults they are usefull allies against Iran. And lets not loose site of the bigger picture.

One one side you have a 4000 man militia which is clearly not fundamentalist muslim due to the large amount of women in its ranks, who are accused by human rights watch (who seem to accuse anyone and everyone these days) of human rights abuses. On the other side you have a fundamentalist islamic regime of 70 million people that finances terrorism, and whose human rights record is infinately worse then that of some rag-tag group of iranian kurds.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 2:49:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

I'm clearly missing the perspective...
It's OK that groups funded by the West commit human rights abuses because, hey, they're not as bad as the REAL baddies. I am right?
Furthermore, when a superpower's policies are based on hypocrisy, how do you expect other countries to follow it, let alone believe it when it talks about freedom, democracy etc...?
Let's not forget that the INC, funded for years by both Republican and Democrats, was led by a convicted fraudster, Chalabi, who then lied about Iraq's WMD, for personal political gain.
Mmmm, my mistake, as long as human rights abuses are happening under 'our' watch, that's ok.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 3:26:00 pm  

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