US: In the Land of Double Standards
(Opinion Maker) -- by Professor Lawrence Davidson --
Here is an interesting piece of news from the Washington Post (dated 23 December 2010). "A group of prominent U.S. Republicans" went to Paris last month to attend a rally of the French Committee for a Democratic Iran. This organization just happens to be intimately connected with the Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK). And what is the MEK? It is a Iranian exile group, originally Marxist in ideology, that has been on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations since 1997. And, as we will see, our "prominent Republican" visitors knew of this connection–knew it and apparently were not put off by the fact at all.
As described by the Washington Post, it must have been quite a spectacle. There were "former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former secretary of homeland security Tom Ridge, former White House homeland security adviser Frances F. Townsend and former attorney general Michael Mukasey (let’s call them the Paris Four) publically demanding that "Obama…take the controversial Mujaheddin-e Khalq opposition group off the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations and incorporate it into efforts to overturn the mullah-led government in Tehran." In other words, these four stalwart defenders of the homeland from terrorism were lending material support to a designated terrorist organization through speech that was coordinated to enhance the cause of that group. As Giuliani put it, "The United States should not just be on your [the MEK’s] side. It should be enthusiastically on your side. You want the same things we want."
On the face it, such speech makes the Paris Four self-proclaimed felons. David Cole, one of the best civil rights lawyers in the U.S., explains the situation in a New York Times op-ed (dated 2 January 2011). "The problem is that the United States government has labeled the Mujahedeen Khalq a ‘foreign terrorist organization,’ making it a crime to provide it, directly or indirectly, with any material support. And, according to the Justice Department …material support includes not only cash and other tangible aid, but also speech coordinated with a ‘foreign terrorist organization’ for its benefit."
As Cole points out this law is a serious infringement of the First Amendment rights of U.S. citizens and it was recently challenged in the courts in the case "Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project." It was the Obama administration that successfully upheld the law before the Supreme Court. Subsequently, the FBI has been issuing subpoenas and raiding homes of people in Chicago and Minneapolis who allegedly have connections with Palestinian and Columbian resistence organizations...MORE...LINK