Speakers bureau works for Iranian terror group

Last week, a person at a Washington think tank was emailed the $10,000-plus-expenses offer to speak at a Geneva event by Lourdes Swarts, managing director of 21st Century Speakers Inc., "on behalf of our client, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, Foreign Affairs Committee...!"

http://www.salon.com/news/terrorism/?story=/politics/war_room/2011/09/07/mek_speaking_offer

A Pennsylvania speakers bureau is sending out invitations for a lucrative speaking opportunity on behalf of an officially designated terrorist organization, the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) of Iran, according to an email obtained by Salon.

Last week, a person at a Washington think tank was emailed the $10,000-plus-expenses offer to speak at a Geneva event by Lourdes Swarts, managing director of 21st Century Speakers Inc., "on behalf of our client, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, Foreign Affairs Committee."

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) is listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department, and is described as the "political front" of the MEK.

The language of the contract indicates  Swarts -- as well as anyone who agrees to the speaking offer -- is breaking the law that bars material support for terrorism, according to Georgetown Law School professor David Cole.

"This is clearly an invitation to provide a service to a designated group. This would be a clear violation of the law," says Cole, who last year argued a major material support case before the Supreme Court. The material support law bars providing not only money and weapons to a foreign terrorist organization, but also "service," defined by the government as anything of benefit to the group performed in coordination with or at the direction of the group.

Cole adds that Swarts is "committing a crime because she's providing a service to NCRI by arranging for this."

Reached by phone Tuesday evening, Swarts told Salon that the speaking request is "a private communication between me and my customer," then hung up. She did not respond to a follow-up email seeking comment.


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