MSNBC finally confirms possibly one of the worst kept secrets of the war between Israel and Iran: that the Mossad has recruited, trained, equipped and directed a domestic terror campaign against Iran’s nuclear program using the personnel of the Mujahadeen al-Khalq (MEK):
Two senior U.S. officials confirmed for NBC News the MEK’s role in the assassinations, with one senior official saying, “All your inclinations are correct.”
One aspect of this report, however, is misleading. The U.S. officials who confirm Mossad involvement in these plots carefully note that the U.S. is not participating. That, unfortunately is not quite true. The Bush administration allocated $400-million for this black ops war against Iran. A good portion of this is suspected of funding Israel’s efforts. So it is highly likely that we are the paymasters for this effort and our denials ring hollow.
With the help of a high level source inside Israel I have been reporting the Mossad-MEK connection for months, though I had no direct confirmation from U.S. officials, which is what was needed to nail down the allegations. It’s good to be vindicated. Now I expect the MSM to beat a path to my door asking for interviews and expressing interest in all that information I’ve been reporting for so long. Right.
The blockbuster report also includes an instructive interview with a senior Iranian aide who details the charges and explains in detail how the Mossad trained one of the suspects:
“The relation is very intricate and close,” said Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior aide to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, speaking of the MEK and Israel. “They (Israelis) are paying … the Mujahedin. Some of their (MEK) agents … (are) providing Israel with information. And they recruit and also manage logistical support.”
Moreover, he said, the Mossad, the Israeli secret service, is training MEK members in Israel on the use of motorcycles and small bombs. In one case, he said, Mossad agents built a replica of the home of an Iranian nuclear scientist so that the assassins could familiarize themselves with the layout prior to the attack.
…Israel does not have direct access to our society. Mujahedin, being Iranian and being part of Iranian society, they have … a good number of … places to get into the touch with people. So I think they are working hand-to-hand very close. And we do have very concrete documents.”
There is another element to this that is important which I’ve reported before. The MSNBC goes into great detail about the MEK’s long-term war against both the Shah, the succeeding Iranian regime, and the U.S. In the process, they even collaborated with elements of Al Qaeda. May this sound the death knell for MEK lobbying efforts to remove itself from the Treasury Department’s terror list. And all the Beltway insiders who accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in return for joining in this effort should not only be ashamed, they should return it as blood money. That includes people like Howard Dean, Michael Mukasey, John Bolton, Tom Ridge, Louis Freeh, Patrick Kennedy, James Woolsey and others. In light of today’s report, Ridge may want to rethink this paean to terrorists he offered in a media interview:
“There’s an extraordinary group of bipartisan or even apolitical leaders, military leaders, diplomats, the United States … the United Kingdom, the European Union, even a U.S. District Court in Washington, said that this group that was put on the foreign terrorist organization watch list in 1997 doesn’t deserve to be there,” Ridge said in November on “The Andrea Mitchell Show” on MSNBC TV.
I’m also gratified that the MSNBC reporters get a Saban Center scholar to concede that this program by Israel is state sponsored terror. He waffles and wavers a bit, but finally concedes that it walks and talks like a duck and it’s pretty much a duck:
Daniel Byman, a professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and also a senior fellow with the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, said that if the accounts of the Israeli-MEK assassinations are accurate, the operation borders on terrorism.
“In theory, states cannot be terrorist, but if they hire locals to do assassinations, that would be state sponsorship,” said Byman, author of the recent book, “A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism.” “You could argue that they took action not to terrorize the public, the purpose of terrorism, but only the nuclear community. An argument could also be made that degrading the program means that you don’t have to take military action and thus, this is a lower level of violence and that really these are military targets, where normally terrorist targets are civilians.”
But ultimately, Byman said, there is a “spectrum of responsibility” and that Israel is ultimately responsible.
Remember that the Saban Center is financed by one of Aipac’s wealthiest supporters, Haim Saban. In fact, I imagine that the scholar may be having a conversation with his superiors right about now about being “overly candid” in his assessment.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.