|Calling a recognized terrorist group as a “dissident group” creates the false impression that this is a group that is somehow comparable to persecuted political reformers or anti-regime intellectuals and journalists, which is exactly the false impression that pro-MEK advocates want to create.|
The Daily Caller reports that the Treasury Department is expanding its investigations into the involvement of Hugh Shelton and others in the disgraceful pro-MEK lobbying campaign:
Companies representing former FBI Director Louis Freeh and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton have received federal subpoenas as part of a Treasury Department investigation into the source of payments to ex-federal officials who openly advocated for removing an Iranian dissident group from the State Department’s terror list, sources told NBC News.
I know the reporter is trying to use neutral language here, but it is bothersome to see a recognized terrorist group referred to as a “dissident group.” This creates the false impression that this is a group that is somehow comparable to persecuted political reformers or anti-regime intellectuals and journalists, which is exactly the false impression that pro-MEK advocates want to create. Technically, anti-regime terrorists dissent from the status quo, but this isn’t what comes to mind when someone describes someone as a dissident. We properly distinguish between legitimate dissidents and terrorists based in large part on the latter’s use of abhorrent tactics against civilian targets.
The story continues:
The former officials under investigation, however, say that they were told the payments came from wealthy American and foreign supporters of the MEK, not the group itself. They also say they resent any suggestion they are assisting a terrorist group.
Shelton argued that the MEK is a legitimate resistance group, working to overthrow the Iranian government, which he called “America’s number one enemy.”
If money were being funneled through third parties to pay Americans to speak on behalf of, say, the PKK or Hamas and to argue for their removal from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list, I don’t think anyone would care that the money wasn’t coming directly from the terrorists. I’m sure pro-MEK advocates resent it when people point out that they are assisting a terrorist group, but this is what they’re doing. If they stopped, people would stop saying this about them.
American pro-MEK advocates are actively engaged in a campaign to legitimize a terrorist group. We know this because they’re parroting the MEK’s latest propaganda, whitewashing the group’s record, misrepresenting its ideology, and they’re saying that the terrorists are a “legitimate resistance group,” which is the oldest euphemism for terrorism around. Whether or not the goals of a particular group are legitimate, it is their past tactics and their ability and willingness to commit acts of terrorism in the future that matter.