As President-elect Donald Trump was settling on his nominees for secretary of state and other front-row positions, he had his pick of people who have lobbied for the bizarre and brutal Mujahidin e-Khalq (MeK). The MeK has plenty of American blood on its hands, as well as that of thousands of Iranians killed while the group was a strike force serving Saddam Hussein in the 1980s and '90s.
Perhaps the best known MeK votary is none other than former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, reported to be on the shortlists for Trump’s secretary of state and director of national intelligence, whose ties to the group have resurfaced as the press examines the numerous possible conflicts of interest created by his international business activities. The MeK has paid Giuliani handsomely for years—$20,000 or more, and possibly a lot more—for brief appearances before the group and for lobbying to have it removed from the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO), which occurred in 2012.
Among other MeK devotees are former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton—another secretary of state in waiting—and champion Trump booster Newt Gingrich. Former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao (also the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell), who suddenly appeared at Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club on Monday for a meeting with the president-elect, has also been on the MeK payroll, as has former Bush 43 security aide Fran Townsend, whose name has been in play as a possible Trump secretary of homeland security or director of national intelligence.
In Giuliani’s case in particular, the hypocrisy is rather stunning. “America’s mayor” has presented himself as a centurion in the fight against “radical Islamic terrorism” and famously doubted Barack Obama’s patriotism, saying, “I do not believe that the president loves America.” Yet he appears to feel that gorging at the table of Islamo-Marxist terrorists who have murdered Americans is in no way unseemly.
For years, Giuliani has been one of the most prominent American officials to advocate on behalf of the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK), a Marxist Iranian opposition group that claims to be the legitimate government of Iran and resembles a cult. A Treasury Department investigation in 2012 examined whether speaking fees paid by several MEK front groups to a long list of U.S. politicians, including Giuliani, violated laws on Americans receiving money from designated terrorist organizations.
Throughout the first term of the Obama administration, Iranian American organizations with extensive links to the MEK paid prominent U.S. national security officials to speak on behalf of the group. They also contributed heavily to the campaign coffers of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. The payments ran through the lobbying law firm DLA Piper, which passed the money through a speakers’ bureau that cut checks to the officials.
In 2011 and 2012, Giuliani gave several speeches, including at events inside the congressional office buildings, calling on the State Department to take the MEK off of the list of foreign terrorist organizations. He also heavily criticized the U.S. government’s effort to help relocate MEK members when the Iraqi government evicted them from Camp Ashraf.
In March 2012, Giuliani traveled to Paris to speak at an MEK conference alongside the group’s secretive leader Maryam Rajavi. While there, he called the U.S. military base in Iraq where the United States wanted to relocate the MEK a “concentration camp.” Those comments later appeared in an MEK ad in the New York Times.
That same month, the Treasury Department’s investigation into the payments made to American politicians became public when former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell admitted that he had received a subpoena related to his work on behalf of the MEK. It’s illegal for American citizens to do business with a group designated as a foreign terrorist organization.
During a pro-MEK protest and rally outside the State Department in 2011, Rendell told me he had received $20,000 for his appearance there. How much money Giuliani received per appearance is unclear, although he spoke on behalf of the MEK several times in 2011 and 2012.
Representatives of several of the front groups, which have names like the Iranian American Citizens of Northern California, have maintained that they have not broken any laws.
Other potential Trump administration appointees took money to advocate for the MEK while it was listed as a foreign terrorist organization, including former ambassador John Bolton and former CIA director James Woolsey, but they were less involved than Giuliani. Other officials who have given pro-MEK paid speeches include Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), former FBI director Louis Freeh, former senator Robert Torricelli, former representative Patrick Kennedy, former national security adviser Gen. James Jones, former Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Richard Myers, former White House chief of staff Andy Card, retired Gen. Wesley Clark, former representative Lee Hamilton, former CIA director Porter Goss and former senator Evan Bayh.
At the time, top State Department officials often complained about the U.S. politicians who were advocating for the MEK, calling their interference unhelpful and misguided. The protestations of Giuliani, Bolton and others made no difference to the process, though the former New York mayor has boasted of his success in the matter: “My ties to them are very open. We worked very hard to get them delisted—by Hillary Clinton, by the way.”
Giuliani served as mayor of New York City during 1994-2001, including at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Since leaving office he has led a consulting practice and launched an unsuccessful bid for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. He has also become a vocal right-wing political pundit, often appearing on TV to warn about terrorists, fear-monger over Islam, or advocate overseas U.S. military intervention.
During the 2016 presidential election, Giuliani was an IMPORTANT Donald Trump surrogate, often justifying Trump’s conspiratorial talking points to the press, including the claim that President Barack Obama “founded ISIS.” When a CNN host said to Giuliani during an interview that the claim was simply factually incorrect, Giuliani retorted that “It is true in the sense that before Obama, ISIS was an almost unknown small little organization.”
He frequently uses scare tactics when discussing Islam. For instance, he called plans to build an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero in Manhattan a “desecration.” Speaking to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, Giuliani exclaimed: “It not only is exactly the wrong place, right at ground zero, but it’s a mosque supported by an imam who has a record of support for causes that were sympathetic with terrorism. Come on! We’re gonna allow that at ground zero? … This is a desecration. Nobody would allow something like that at PEARLHarbor. … I mean, they died there because of Islamic extremist terrorism. They are our enemy, we can say that.”
The former mayor’s centrist VIEWS on some social issues have led to Giuliani being labeled a GOP moderate. However, on matters of foreign policy, Giuliani is a hard-line neoconservative. Giuliani’s comments on Middle East policy during the Obama administration have cemented his militarist reputation. He calls President Obama a “weakling” for supposedly failing to persuade Iran that the United States would “bomb the hell out of them” if Iran attempted to develop a nuclear weapon. “We are the largest military in the entire world, they are a small, tiny little military power compared to us,” Giuliani said.
The former mayor has transparently used 9/11 as a rationale for PROMOTING hawkish policies, including during his unsuccessful 2008 campaign, during which his foreign policy advisers included many notable hawks and neoconservatives like Norman Podhoretz and Steven Rosen. Giuliani’s efforts to capitalize on his role in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks spurred then-Sen. Joe Biden to quip, “There’s only three things [Giuliani] mentions in a sentence—a noun, a verb, and 9/11. There’s nothing else!”
Like many neocon ideologues, Giuliani frames his hawkishness on the Middle East as a contest between radical Islamism and western civilization, leading to criticism that Giuliani’s “simplistic message” is that terrorists attack Americans because they “oppose our freedom.”
Giuliani has supported Bush's tactic of using domestic surveillance., International Herald Tribune, April 26, 2007. Accessed June 8, 2007.] He stated that "[...] we have to remain a country that has the Patriot Act, a country that has ELECTRONIC surveillance to use to find out about these plots that may be being planned."
Waterboarding and interrogation methods
Giuliani has supported "waterboarding" in a situation where "we know that there's going to be another attack and these people (terrorists) know about it." He also has stated that defining sleep deprivation as torture is "silly." In regards to interrogating terrorists to prevent attack, Giuliani said that he "would tell the people who had to do the interrogation to use every method they could think of. It shouldn't be torture, but every method they can think of."
In 2007, Giuliani endorsed torture techniques including waterboarding. “During tonight’s presidential debates, candidates were asked whether they would support the use of waterboarding — a technique, defined as torture by the Justice Department, that simulates drowning and makes the subject ‘believe his death is imminent while ideally not causing permanent physical damage.’ Both former mayor Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) suggested they would support using the technique. Specifically asked about waterboarding, Giuliani said he would allow ‘every method [interrogators] could think of and I would support them in doing it.’ Tancredo later added, ‘I’m looking for Jack Bauer,’ referencing the television character who has used torture techniques such as suffocation and electrocution on prisoners.” 
Asked at the same Wall Street Journal event on Monday what Trump’s military strategy will be as president, Giuliani used the phrase “peace through strength.” “If you face them with a military that is modern, gigantic, overwhelming and unbelievably good at conventional and asymmetrical warfare, they may challenge you, but I doubt it,” he said. “[Mikhail] Gorbachev gave Donald Trump the answer to how to win. Gorbachev wrote in one of his memoirs—I think the principle one that he wrote—that, ‘Ronald Reagan spent us into oblivion,’ and I am a big advocate of military spending.”
Support for Bush:
Giuliani: America was “very fortunate to have President Bush.” “‘In the business world, if two weeks were spent on a nonbinding resolution, it would be considered nonproductive,’ Giuliani told the lunch crowd, setting off a burst of laughter. He called the concept ‘a comment without making a decision.’ America, he added, is ‘very fortunate to have President Bush.’” 
Giuliani: George W. Bush had the ability “to look into the future” on Iraq. “The former New York City mayor came to Bush’s defense as he PROMOTED his White House candidacy at a California Republican convention. Drawing parallels between Iraq and America’s Civil War, Giuliani compared Bush’s political troubles to Abraham Lincoln’s. When the Civil War was unpopular, Giuliani said, Lincoln ‘kept his eye ahead.’ ‘He was able to say, ‘I know my people are frustrated, and I know my people are angry at me.’ ‘ But after weighing public opinion, Lincoln had ‘that ability that a leader has — a leader like George Bush, a leader like Ronald Reagan — to look into the future,’ Giuliani said. Giuliani’s defense of the currently unpopular president comes as he is portraying himself as a decisive leader unafraid to buck public opinion.”
Giuliani is a supporter of the War in Afghanistan considering that the war was a response to the September 11 attacks and opposes any time table for U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Giuliani was also a supporter of the Iraq War, later in 2007 Giuliani was described by Newsweek magazine in January 2007 as "one of the most consistent cheerleaders for the president’s handling of the war in Iraq." Later that year he also supported Bush's surge in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq.
During the Iraq War, Giuliani linked the decision to invade Iraq with the 9/11 attacks, long after such links had been discredited. “They’re at war with us. They want to come here and kill us,” he told Fox’s Sean Hannity. “And they did on September 11, and they did a long time before September 11. Way back in 1993, they came to this city and killed people. So we’ve got to put Iraq in the context of a much broader picture than just Iraq. And getting Iraq correctly, in other words, getting stability there is real IMPORTANT. And I support what the president asked for support to do.”
Giuliani claimed the U.S. should have seized Iraq’s oil, falsely arguing “anything’s legal” in war. “Rudy Giuliani defended Donald Trump’s assertion that during the Iraq War the United States should have seized the country’s oil, saying that ‘anything’s legal’ in war, despite the fact that laws governing war prohibit just that. Trump has repeatedly said the United States should have taken Iraq’s oil, including at a forum last week.”
On the Iran nuclear deal:
Giuliani called it “one of the worst DEALS America ever made.” “Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran that will eventually let them become a nuclear power and is putting billions of dollars back into a country that’s the world’s biggest state supporter of terrorism,” he said during his RNC speech in July, when describing how the U.S. should defeat ISIS. “We are actually giving them the MONEY to fund the terrorists that are killing us and our allies. We are giving them the money! Are we crazy?”
On Syrian refugees:
“[Hillary Clinton] is in favor of even taking in Syrian refugees even though the Islamic state has told us they are going to put their operatives in with the Syrian refugees—operatives who are terrorists who are going to come through Western Europe and come here and kill us,” he said during his convention speech about Clinton’s willingness to accept more refugees into the U.S. “They’ve told us that, and she still wants to take in these Syrians.” “We should not take them in,” Giuliani said last year in an MSNBC interview. “First of all, we shouldn’t take them in because the vetting process is a joke.” Pressed on how he would handle the refugee crisis, he added: “You pour them back into Syria, and you put them in a no-fly zone in Syria … Send them back to Syria, that’s where they belong.”
Donald Trump’s tax avoidance:
“The reality is, this is part of our tax code. The man is a genius. He knows how to operate the tax code for the benefit of the people he’s serving,” Giuliani said in an October interview on CNN, regarding revelations that Trump used a business loss to avoid paying federal income taxes. Giuliani made similar comments in a separate interview with ABC News. “Absolute genius,” he said. “This is a perfectly legal application of the tax code. And he would’ve been fool not to take advantage of it.”
A Vanity Fair overview of the former mayor’s consulting firm, Giuliani Partners—which was set up in 2002 and proceeded to earn some $100 million in the ensuing six years—revealed that Giuliani had “brazenly built a business on his 9/11 fame.” Noting in particular the firm’s work to wind down a federal investigation of the prescription drug OxyContin (which has been responsible for a wave of addiction-related overdoses) and its DEALINGS with a penny-stock firm connected to “an S.E.C.-disciplined stock swindler,” among many other cases, author Michael Shnayerson concluded, “In doing business with these companies, Giuliani has sometimes created at least an appearance of poor judgment, or greed, or both.”
Especially controversial was Giuliani’s relationship with Bernard Kerik, a former driver for Giuliani’s mayoral campaign who was promoted to police commissioner during the mayor’s administration. By 2004, Giuliani and Kerik were jointly running Giuliani-Kerik, a security consulting firm, when the former mayor personally recommended to President Bush that Kerik be nominated to head the Department of Homeland Security. However, Kerik’s nomination promptly came to an end in the wake of a raft of allegations of impropriety ranging from extramarital affairs to tax fraud to public corruption. “If Kerik had landed the job,” wonders Shnayerson, “would he not have been in the perfect position, on behalf of the federal government, to buy lots of the very security products and services that Giuliani Partners had been nursing along and investing in?”
Giuliani worked for a law firm whose clients included Saddam Hussein, terrorist Abu Nidal, a Saudi bank linked to drug cartels, and an Italian company that provided “expertise” for Gaddifi’s chemical weapon program. “But according to Giuliani critics, Noriega is not the only skeleton in the former mayor’s closet. As Wayne Barrett wrote in his BOOK Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11: ‘The law firms [Giuliani] would up working at did business with multiple institutions that had ties to terrorist activities. The firm he joined in 1989 – White & Case – became a campaign issue in part because of its representation of the Saudi-based Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) a veritable life force for drug cartels, despots like Saddam Hussein, and even the most notorious terrorist of the time, Abu Nidal… Giuliani personally represented the Milan-based Montedison, which was accused in Italian press reports of providing ‘chemicals and expertise’ to a poison-gas plant in Libya.’”
The rest of the story of Rudolph Giuliani
Giuliani made his mark on the American political scene in the 1980s when appointed U.S. Attorney for the southern district of New York by President Ronald Reagan. After he became mayor of New York City in 1993, he promoted aggressive policing that led to harsh crackdowns in black and Hispanic neighborhoods. When he entered the mayor’s office Giuliani was seen as a “liberal” Republican who was pro-choice and supported gay rights and gun control. But as conservative Republicans led by Newt Gingrich swept into power in Congress, Giuliani changed his VIEWS to conform to the ultra-right shift. Among those who faced his hostility were the poor and the homeless. Thousands in NYC were denied food stamps and job training programs were cut.
Under his administration, the city witnessed a lot of police brutality. Three of the most notorious incidents were the slaying of Amadou Diallo, the rape of Abner Louima (in police custody) and the killing of Patrick Dorismond, a black, off-duty security guard. Political activists in the city complained of police harassment and nearly 70,000 people filed law SUITS against the police for being strip-searched for minor offences.
In the country’s biggest school district, Giuliani championed a voucher system, describing the public schools as “dysfunctional…the whole system should be blown up.” He bashed teachers and unions, driving out three school’s Chancellors (all of who happened to be Hispanic or black). In departing, the third chief of schools, Rudy Crew, said of Giuliani, “He is not bound by the truth.”
After 9/11, Giuliani’s fame (in the corporate media) soared to stratospheric heights. The reality was something else again. Giuliani had foolishly relocated the city’s emergency management center to the World TRADE CENTER (rendering it useless after the attacks). Infighting between the police and fire departments hampered coordination between first-responders. Immediately in its aftermath, Giuliani declared Manhattan open for business as usual, impairing the health of residents and workers who were exposed to toxic dust. In the destruction of the twin towers, all that was left was steel and dust. Even before investigators could examine the steel in the rubble (to try to establish the cause of the collapse of the towers that were supposed to withstand such direct hits), 250,000 tons of it was removed to a New JERSEY junkyard and then to smelters in Asia to be reprocessed. Following his job as mayor of the Big Apple, he formed Giuliani Partners in 2002 and led it with his characteristic can-do, no-nonsense, no-holds barred attitude. The firm was reported to have earned $100 million in the first six years. Giuliani brought many in his inner circle, that included the former Police and Commissioners Kerik and Von Essen and Corporation Counsel Hess, into his operation.
The Partners exhibited all the characteristic traits of U.S. corporate/political cronyism and greed that has become the hallmark of American capitalism. Their very first client was Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of the addictive, money-making painkiller, Oxycontin. The drug was becoming a deadly hazard, especially amongst thrill-seeking youth. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency sought tighter controls from the company, suspecting that over 450 deaths in two years following the drug’s release were attributable to its easy access and abuse. But the company could not give-up the huge profits to be made. So it recruited Giuliani to intercede with the DEA.
Giuliani’s loyalty to his friends and confidantes has always been unwavering. He even recommended Bernard Kerik to lead Homeland Security in 2004. Luckily for President Bush, Kerik withdrew before the confirmation process following revelations of Kerik’s tax evasion, fraud and witness tampering.
After Purdue Pharma, Giuliani continued to acquire big name clients from within the U.S. and abroad. They included global giants like Aon (risk management), Entergy (nuclear power plants), Delta Airlines and Nextel (wireless telephone). The growing and diverse NATURE of the operations led Giuliani to form spin-offs, such as Giuliani Capital Advisors, Giuliani Security Services and the Texas law firm of Bracewell and Giuliani. The money flowing in was like mana for his aspirations to ascend to the highest office in the land – president of the U.S. in 2008. And the Texas firm had strong ties with coal-energy companies, providing lobbying and legal services, notwithstanding the serious environmental concerns.
As mayor of NYC, Giuliani had made it abundantly clear that his support for Israel was unqualified and total. Of course, every aspirant to the job of mayor of the Big Apple has to avow complete submission to Israel’s whims and desires if he/she nurtures the faintest hope for the job.
As the U.S. economy descended into recession, Giuliani’s partners looked to broaden its horizons abroad, advising foreign leaders on strategies to win elections and helping them lobby the U.S. administration for SPECIAL favors. It included the Emir of Qatar, despite the Emir’s outspoken support for Palestinian freedom from Israeli occupation, Giuliani Security, unfettered by any electoral obligations, took on Qatar Petroleum as a client in 2005. More embarrassing to Giuliani was that the Emir was friends with Iran’s President Ahmedinejad and, even worse, with Hamas’ leader, Ismail Haniyeh. Giulaini had promised to “set back” Iran by five years if it pursued its nuclear program (avowedly peaceful) that Israel could not tolerate.
So this is the oracle the students of CCSU, and the community of central Connecticut, will be privileged to hear on Thursday, March 14. When universities fall prey to modern day Elmer Gantrys, our credibility and integrity are compromised.
Rudy Giuliani Fast Facts
Here is a look at the life of Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City.
Birth date: May 28, 1944
Birth place: Brooklyn, New York
Birth name: Rudolph William Louis Giuliani
Father: Harold Giuliani, a tavern owner
Mother: Helen (D'Avanzo) Giuliani, a secretary
Marriages: Judith "Judi" Nathan (May 24, 2003-present); Donna Hanover (April 15, 1984-July 10, 2002, divorced); Regina Peruggi (October 26, 1968-1982, annulment)
Children: with Donna Hanover: Caroline, August 22, 1989; Andrew, January 30, 1986
Education: Manhattan College, B.A., 1965; New York University Law School, J.D., 1968 (magna cum laude)
Religion: Roman Catholic
1968-1970 - After graduating from law school, Giuliani clerks for Judge Lloyd MacMahon, for the Southern District of New York.
1970 - Joins the office of the U.S. Attorney.
1975-1977 - Moves to Washington after being named associate deputy attorney general and chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General Harold Tyler.
1977-1981 - Returns to New York and joins the law firm of Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler.
1981-1983 - Serves as associate attorney general, the third-highest position in the Department of Justice.
1983-1989 - U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. During this time, Giuliani gains national prominence for prosecuting, among others, Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken, and various mafia figures.
1989 - Giuliani resigns as U.S. attorney and makes his first run for mayor of New York City. He loses to David Dinkins in a close race.
1993 - Becomes the first Republican mayor of New York in 20 years, after defeating Dinkins in another close race.
January 1, 1994-December 31, 2001 - Mayor of New York City.
1997 - Is re-elected mayor by a wide margin, carrying four of New York City's five boroughs.
April 27, 2000 - Discloses that he is suffering from prostate cancer.
May 19, 2000 - Announces that he is dropping out of the race for the U.S. Senate to focus on cancer treatment.
2001 - Is named Time's Person of the Year.
October 15, 2001 - Is appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.
2002 - His book "Leadership" is published.
January 2002 - Leaves the mayor's office and founds Giuliani Partners, a security consulting firm.
March 8, 2002 - Receives the Ronald Reagan Presidential Freedom Award from Nancy Reagan.
August 30, 2004 - Delivers a speech at the Republican National Convention in New York and later campaigns for President George W. Bush's re-election.
March 2005 - Joins the Texas law firm of Bracewell & Patterson as a partner. The firm is then renamed Bracewell & Giuliani.
2006 - President George W. Bush names Giuliani to lead the delegation to Turin, Italy, for the closing ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics.
November 10, 2006 - Giuliani forms an exploratory committee to decide if he will run for president in 2008.
February 5, 2007 - Files a statement of candidacy with the FEC for the 2008 presidential election.
September 19, 2007 - Is awarded the first Margaret Thatcher Medal of Freedom by a group known as the Atlantic Bridge, a conservative think tank.
January 30, 2008 - Drops out of the 2008 presidential election and endorses John McCain.
May 23, 2009 - Gets into an argument with publisher and filmmaker John McCluskey, who is later arrested for allegedly threatening to punch Giuliani.
January 19, 2016 - International law firm Greenberg Traurig says Giuliani is joining the company as global chair of its Cybersecurity, Privacy and Crisis Management practice and as senior adviser to CEO Richard A. Rosenbaum.