• 23 August 2011
  • Posted By David Shams
  • 1 Comments
  • MEK

The MEK’s Propaganda Machine in Three Easy Steps

“The Green Movement, I understand from the testimony in Congress in July, has accepted Madame Rajavi,” said Canadian MP Carolyn Bennett on a talk show hosted last week by Jim Brown of the CBC.

Wait, WHAT? The Green Movement has “accepted” Rajavi?

Nothing could be further from the truth.  The Green Movement has made it abundantly clear that they oppose the MEK.  They’ve warned that the Iranian government seeks to use MEK and its lack of support among Iranians to try to undermine the peaceful democratic opposition.  The Financial Times reported on how prominent Greens signed an open letter to Secretary Clinton calling on her to NOT delist the MEK, citing the harm it would do to Iran’s democratic opposition.  And most recently, Kaleme – the publication associated with the Green Movement’s Mir Hossein Mousavi – published an editorial last week strongly warning against supporting the MEK.

So where did Bennet get her false information from?  The MEK propaganda machine.

First, she referenced a news event created by MEK.  She referred to a House Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing   one of the panelists mentioned in passing that he believed the Green Movement had accepted Rajavi.  It turns out that the panelist, and in fact three of the four panelists who spoke at that hearing, have participated in pro-MEK conferences and were even photographed being coached during the hearing by Ali Safavi and Alireza Jafarzadeh—leaders of the MEK’s political wing, NCRI.

Second, like most officials speaking in favor MEK, Bennet likely went through an “education” process that involved little of her own due diligence.

Howard Dean, who has become one of the most outspoken MEK advocates, explained the extensive research he undertook before accepting cash to become a top advocate for a Foreign Terrorist Organization:

“I got asked by my agent to go over to Paris to speak to a group I knew nothing about. I spent a lot of time on the Internet learning about them, and then I met them,” he said.

Another official, John Sano—who also has admitted he had not heard of MEK before they contacted him for his services and who at a conference last week called for a “tit for tat” campaign of attacks in Iran—revealed to Huffington Post how the MEK education process works:

He “described how he ‘sat down with two members of the Iranian committee for a couple of hours … and they gave me some background’ on the organization and related issues. Sano added that their information ‘meshed up with some of the things I had done in the government.’”

However, more often than not, speakers seem primarily influenced by the fact that there are other big name former officials repeating MEK talking points:

But in the end, Sano admired the panel’s big names more than anything else. “That was convincing for me … the other panel members.”

So, I guess if Rudy Giuliani and Co. think it’s a good idea to jump off a bridge then this guy would do it too.

Finally, officials get some positive reinforcement—sometimes through direct payment for speeches, sometimes in the form of paid trips to Europe.  Bennett herself acknowledged that she was flown and put up in  Paris, along with her son, to participate in an MEK rally on the dime of MEK-affiliated groups.

This is surprisingly common—which brings us back to that Congressional hearing Bennett mentioned.  The hearing was dominated by Rep. Bob Filner, who—in addition to extolling the charms of Maryam Rajavi—lashed out at Ray Takyeh, the only panelist who had not taken money from the MEK or attended one its rallies.

Filner, it turns out, has taken at least two trips to Paris, where he attended rallies and met with his good friend Maryam Rajavi.  Those trips were paid for by an MEK support group in Colorado:

“Also supplying some funds has been Colorado’s Iranian American Community, according to a disclosure report filed in early July by Rep. Bob Filner(D-CA) and posted at legistorm.com. That group paid $6,589.62 for six days of first class travel and lodging expenses for Rep. Filner to attend the June MEK rally in Paris.

The House disclosure form describes him attending a “Grand meeting of Iranians in support of human rights and democracy for Iran.” It makes no mention of the MEK, nor meeting Rajavi. In his speech, Filner said: “I bring you greetings and support from the Congress of the United States … I want to congratulate Madame Rajavi … we will succeed.”

In 2007, Filner also accepted $7,949.40 worth of travel to attend a “rally for Iranian human rights” in Paris. Both trips were paid for by Tim Mehdi Gaemi of the Colorado group, according to the required “Private Sponsor Travel Certification Form.”

It’s pretty clear that current and former government officials–like Bennett and Sano–have fallen hook, line and sinker for whatever is being pumped out of and reinforced through the MEK propaganda machine.  I’m not sure if they really agree with the blatant lies or they’re blinded by all the “perks” of openly supporting the MEK, but comments like Bennett’s make clear they are not doing their homework.

Posted By David Shams

    One Response to “The MEK’s Propaganda Machine in Three Easy Steps”

  1. Anonymousnejad says:

    Thank you for this insightful article. Unfortunately, our area MP’s cannot possibly be well informed on ALL the issues facing them, and are easy prey for sinister organizations such as the MEK and its propaganda arm led by Safavi. I hope more Canadians and especially advisors to our tragically ignorant MP’s read more from you.

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7,349 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.

Sincerely,

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