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WikiLeaks: 09STATE2046, MEK FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATION (FTO)

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Reference IDCreatedClassificationOrigin
09STATE20462009-01-08 23:27CONFIDENTIALSecretary of State
VZCZCXRO2705
PP RUEHAG RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHIHL RUEHKUK RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHC #2046/01 0082342
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 082327Z JAN 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 3594
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1582
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 3544
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2439
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
IRAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHDIR/IRAN RPO DUBAI PRIORITY 0087
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY 2404
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 STATE 002046 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/07/2019 
TAGS: PTER PHUM PINR PREF PREL IZ IR FR EUN
SUBJECT: MEK FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATION (FTO) 
DESIGNATION MAINTAINED - THE REVIEW PROCESS, IMPLICATIONS 
AND KEY POINTS 
 
REF: A. 09BAGHDAD3 
     B. 08BAGHDAD4006 
     C. USEU TODAY - DECEMBER 12 
     D. 2008 
     E. 08LONDON3215 
     F. 08BAGHDAD3445 
     G. 07BAGHDAD3958 
 
Classified By: NEA Acting A/S David Hale for reasons 1.4(b) and (d) 
 


1.   (U) This is an action request for Embassies Baghdad, 
Paris, London, USEU Brussels and Ottawa. Please see paragraph 
10. 
 
2.   (C) SUMMARY.  In response to the MEK,s July 2008 
petition requesting a review of the organization,s 
designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), the 
Secretary determined on January 7, 2009 that the FTO 
designation of the MEK will be maintained.  The Secretary,s 
determination to maintain the MEK,s FTO designation does 
not/not alter the status under U.S. law of the individuals at 
Camp Ashraf.  Given the MEK,s aggressive lobbying efforts in 
the United States, Canada, and Europe, and the likelihood of 
future litigation, action posts should be prepared to address 
questions regarding the MEK,s designation drawing from the 
points provided in paragraph 10. END SUMMARY. 
 
--------------------------------- 
Legal Criteria of an FTO Designation 
--------------------------------- 
 
3.   (U) In July 2008, the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) 
petitioned the Department for a revocation of its designation 
as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).  A petitioning 
organization must provide evidence that the relevant 
circumstances are sufficiently different from the 
circumstances that were the basis for the designation such 
that a revocation with respect to the organization is 
warranted.  Revocation of a designation pursuant to a 
petition is mandatory upon a finding that (1) the 
circumstances that were the basis for the designation have 
changed in such a manner as to warrant revocation, or (2) 
U.S. national security warrants a revocation. 
 
4.   (U) The Secretary,s review considered the full scope of 
terrorist activity and terrorism as defined under relevant 
U.S. law, which includes not only carrying out terrorist acts 
such as hijacking, sabotage, hostage taking, assassination, 
etc., but also preparing or planning for such acts, 
recruiting or training individuals for such acts, providing 
financial or material support for terrorist acts, and 
gathering information on potential targets. 
 
5.   (U) Pursuant to the review, the Secretary concluded that 
the evidence presented by the MEK and other available 
information was not sufficient to show that circumstances 
have changed sufficiently to warrant revocation, as required 
by the FTO statute.  The Secretary found that the MEK remains 
(1) a foreign organization, (2) that engages in terrorist 
activity or terrorism, or retains the capability and intent 
to engage in terrorist activity or terrorism, as those terms 
are defined under relevant statutes, and (3) the terrorist 
activity or terrorism of the group threatens U.S. national 
security or the security of U.S. nationals.  Further, the 
Secretary concluded that U.S. national security does not on 
its own warrant revocation.  She therefore determined that 
the MEK,s FTO designation will be maintained.   The 
determination was effective upon signature on January 7, 2009 
and will be published in the Federal Register in the coming 
days. 
 
--------------------------------- 
Implications of Decision 
--------------------------------- 
 
6.   (U) There is no change in the MEK,s status as an FTO. 
The consequences of an FTO designation include a prohibition 
 
STATE 00002046  002 OF 005 
 
SUBJECT: MEK FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATION (FTO) 
DESIGNATION MAINTAINED - THE REVIEW PROCESS, IMPLICATIONS 
AND KEY POIN 
against the provision of material support or resources to the 
FTO and the freezing of assets of the organization that are 
under possession or control of U.S. financial institutions. 
Further, aliens who are representatives and members of FTOs 
are inadmissible to the United States, and, in certain 
circumstances, deportable from the United States.  Aliens 
that have provided material support to, received military 
type training from, or have certain other associations with 
FTOs are also generally inadmissible to the United States. 
 
7.   (C) The MEK is allowed to challenge the U.S. 
determination in court and is expected to do so.  The MEK may 
also submit another petition for revocation in two years. 
 
--------------------------------- 
The Impact on Camp Ashraf 
--------------------------------- 
 
8.   (C) Approximately 3,200 MEK members currently reside at 
Camp Ashraf in Iraq.  With the end of the UNSCR 1790 mandate 
for the Coalition Forces in Iraq, security responsibility for 
Camp Ashraf and its residents was assumed by the Government 
of Iraq as of January 1, 2009 (Ref. A).  The Department,s 
decision to maintain the MEK,s FTO designation does not/not 
alter the status under US law of the individuals at Camp 
Ashraf.  There is no/no connection between the FTO 
designation review and the January 1 security transition at 
Camp Ashraf. 
 
--------------------------------- 
Views of Our International Partners 
--------------------------------- 
 
9.   (C) The Governments of France, Canada, and Iraq all view 
the MEK as a terrorist organization.  France, in particular, 
has aggressively campaigned within the EU to maintain the MEK 
on the EU,s terrorist list (Ref. C).  The Government of 
France is closely monitoring the activities of the MEK and 
its political umbrella organization, the NCRI, which is 
headquartered in France.  The MEK is also designated as a 
specially designated global terrorist (SDGT) organization 
pursuant to Executive Order 13224.  UNHCR has been working to 
secure third-country resettlement options for defectors from 
Camp Ashraf who have been recognized as refugees under its 
mandate, but these efforts have had limited success (Ref. F). 
 
--------------------------------- 
Talking Points 
--------------------------------- 
 
10.   (U) ACTION REQUEST:  Given the MEK,s aggressive 
lobbying efforts in the United States, Canada, and Europe, 
and the likelihood of future litigation, action posts are 
encouraged to draw from the following talking points when 
discussing the MEK with interlocutors and the local press. 
 
Q: Why was there a review of the MEK,s FTO designation? 
 
A:  In July 2008, the MEK petitioned the Secretary of State 
for a revocation of its FTO designation.  Upon a review 
conducted pursuant to the petition, the Secretary determined 
that it is appropriate to maintain the FTO designation for 
the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK also known as PMOI, MKO, NCRI, 
Muslim Iranian Students, Society, Organization of the 
People,s Holy Warriors of Iran, the National Liberation 
Army, Sazeman-e Mujahideen-e Khalq Iran). 
 
Q: On what basis was the designation of the MEK maintained? 
Are they still engaging in terrorist activity? 
 
A:  The decision to maintain the FTO designation of MEK was 
based on a determination that the evidence presented by the 
MEK and other available information was not sufficient to 
show that circumstances have changed sufficiently to warrant 
revocation, as required by the FTO statute.  The Secretary 
determined that the MEK remains a (1) foreign organization, 
(2) that engages in terrorist activity or terrorism, or 
retains the capability and intent to engage in terrorist 
activity or terrorism, as those terms are defined under 
relevant statutes, and (3) the terrorist activity or 
terrorism of the group threatens U.S. national security or 
the security of U.S. nationals.  Further, the Secretary 
determined that U.S. national security does not on its own 
 
STATE 00002046  003 OF 005 
 
 
Q: What are the consequences of this action? 
 
A:  There is no change in the MEK,s status as an FTO.  The 
consequences of an FTO designation include a prohibition 
against the provision of material support or resources to the 
FTO and the freezing of assets of the organization that are 
under possession or control of U.S. financial institutions. 
 
Further, aliens who are representatives and members of FTOs 
are inadmissible to the United States, and, in certain 
circumstances, deportable from the United States.  Aliens 
that have provided material support to, received military 
type training from, or have certain other associations with 
FTOs are also generally inadmissible to the United States. 
 
Q: How many other FTOs will be reviewed this year? 
 
A:  While the review of the MEK,s FTO designation was 
initiated by the MEK,s petition for revocation to the State 
Department in July, the Department of State conducts 
mandatory reviews of FTOs every five years.  Reviews of 29 
FTOs were initiated in 2008.  To date, 14 designations have 
been maintained and 15 are still under review. 
 
Q: Where can we find more information on these FTOs? 
 
A:  Information on the MEK and other FTOs can be found on the 
Department of State,s website and in the 2007 Country 
Reports on Terrorism, which is available online. 
 
Q: Why is the USG still maintaining they are a terrorist 
organization?  Does this mean they are still committing 
terrorist attacks? 
 
A:  As indicated above, the MEK continues to meet the 
statutory criteria for designation, including engaging in 
terrorist activity, as that term is defined under relevant 
U.S. law.  The MEK remains (1) a foreign organization, (2) 
that engages in terrorist activity or terrorism, or retains 
the capability and intent to engage in terrorist activity or 
terrorism, and (3) the terrorist activity of the group 
threatens U.S. national security or the security of U.S. 
nationals. 
 
The Secretary,s review considered the full scope of 
terrorist activity and terrorism as defined under relevant 
U.S. law, which includes not only carrying out terrorist acts 
such as hijacking, sabotage, hostage taking, assassination, 
etc., but also preparing or planning for such acts, 
recruiting or training individuals for such acts, providing 
financial or material support for terrorist acts, and 
gathering information on potential targets. 
 
Q: Isn,t the MEK a proponent of a democratic future for Iran? 
 
A:  We do not view the MEK as a credible advocate for either 
democracy or human rights in Iran, given its record of 
terrorism and the abuse suffered by many of its the MEK,s 
own members.  While we have serious concerns about the 
policies of the Iranian government, we do not condone acts of 
terrorism under any circumstances. 
 
It is important to keep in mind, however, that the MEK,s 
advocacy, and our view that such advocacy is not credible, is 
not germane to the Secretary,s determination.  Rather, the 
evidence regarding MEK,s terrorist activity indicates that 
circumstances have not changed in a manner that warrants 
revocation. 
 
Q: Why would the U.S. take this action after UK and EU courts 
have ordered de-listing of the MEK? 
 
A:  We are certainly aware of the MEK-related litigation in 
the United Kingdom and European Union and the resulting 
de-listings in those jurisdictions.  However, the United 
States was not a party to that litigation, and the legal 
framework and administrative record on which the Secretary,s 
determination is based was not before the European courts. 
 
Q: Can the MEK appeal the Secretary,s determination? 
 
 
STATE 00002046  004 OF 005 
 
SUBJECT: MEK FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATION (FTO) 
DESIGNATION MAINTAINED - THE REVIEW PROCESS, IMPLICATIONS 
AND KEY POIN 
A:  Yes.  The MEK may seek judicial review of the 
determination in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District 
of Columbia Circuit (the &DC Circuit8) within 30 days of 
the date that the determination is published in the Federal 
Register. 
 
Q: How will this affect the status of MEK members at Camp 
Ashraf, Iraq? 
 
A:  There is no change in the MEK,s status as an FTO.  The 
MEK was a Foreign Terrorist Organization yesterday and it 
remains a Foreign Terrorist Organization today.  The decision 
to maintain the designation does not alter the status under 
U.S. law of the individuals at Camp Ashraf. 
 
With the end of the UNSCR 1790 mandate for the Coalition 
Forces in Iraq, the Government of Iraq (GOI) assumed 
responsibility for Camp Ashraf and its residents on January 
1, 2009.  U.S. Forces will remain at Camp Ashraf in a 
supporting and monitoring role.  The GOI has provided the 
United States with assurances on multiple occasions that Camp 
Ashraf residents will be treated in accordance with Iraq,s 
Constitution, laws, and international obligations. 
 
Q: Why were the transfer of the responsibility for Camp 
Ashraf and the decision on the MEK,s FTO so close together? 
Why at the end of the Administration? 
 
A:  The date of the transfer of responsibility for Camp 
Ashraf was determined by the end of the UN Security Council 
mandate for Coalition Forces in Iraq on January 1, 2009.  The 
Secretary was legally required to make a determination within 
180 days the MEK,s petition, which was submitted in July 
2008. 
 
Q: What is to prevent Iraq from forcibly sending them back to 
Iran, where they could suffer retribution? 
 
A:  The GOI has stated that no Camp Ashraf resident will be 
forcibly transferred to a country where they have reason to 
fear persecution based on their political opinions or 
religious beliefs, or where there are substantial grounds for 
believing they would be tortured. 
 
The GOI is working with international organizations, as they 
seek a humanitarian solution to allow the Camp residents to 
either return home voluntarily or possibly be resettled in 
third countries.  These organizations, plus the USG, will 
continue to monitor the status of the Camp Ashraf residents. 
 
We continue to make the safety and human rights of MEK 
members at Camp Ashraf a top priority in our discussions with 
the GOI. 
 
--------------------------------- 
Background on the MEK - A Marxist-Islamic cult 
--------------------------------- 
 
11.   (U) The historical background that follows may provide 
useful context for posts, although the Secretary,s 
determination to maintain the FTO designation of the MEK was 
based on terrorist activity within the past five years:  The 
Mujahideen-e Khalq Organization (MEK or MKO) is a 
Marxist-Islamic terrorist organization that reportedly 
represses its members through cult-like practices.  The MEK 
was formed in the 1960s in opposition to the Shah and, 
consequently, targeted both Iranian and American interests. 
The MEK assassinated several U.S. citizens in Iran in the 
1970s, including U.S. military personnel and defense 
contractors.  The MEK supported the takeover of the U.S. 
Embassy in Tehran in 1979, but later split from Ayatollah 
Khomeini and eventually ended up in Iraq in the 1980s where 
members enjoyed preferential treatment under Saddam 
Hussein,s regime.  Bolstered by extensive funding and 
paramilitary training by Saddam, the MEK participated in 
offensives against Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, an act for 
which it is still reviled by the Iranian public.  Because of 
allegations it aided Saddam in suppressing Kurdish and Shi,a 
uprisings in Iraq following the Gulf War, the MEK is also 
considered a terrorist organization by the current Iraqi 
government (Ref. A, B).  In 2003, French authorities arrested 
160 MEK members at operational bases in France they believe 
the MEK was using to coordinate financing and planning for 
 
STATE 00002046  005 OF 005 
 
 
12.   (C) While publicly touting itself as a democratic 
alternative to the current regime in Tehran, the MEK,s 
cult-like pattern of psychological and physical abuse of its 
members suggests otherwise.  Under the leadership of the 
husband-wife team of Maryam and Masud Rajavi, the MEK is a 
largely female-driven organization that promotes equal rights 
for women but fails to respect the basic human rights of its 
members, female or male.  While Maryam and Massoud are 
married, MEK rank and file are forced to divorce and are 
forbidden from having normal male-female relationships or 
personal friendships of any kind.  No children reside at Camp 
Ashraf.  MEK defectors tell stories of regular 
self-denunciations, intimidation, forced hysterectomies, 
brainwashing, and isolation from family members. 
 
13.   (C) Maryam Rajavi acts as the public face of the MEK,s 
political umbrella organization, the National Council of 
Resistance in Iran (NCRI), headquartered in France while 
Masud Rajavi, the MEK,s operational leader, remains in 
hiding.  Other aliases for the MEK include the People,s 
Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI), National Liberation 
Army of Iran (NLA), Muslim Iranian Students, Society, 
Organization of the People,s Holy Warriors of Iran, the 
National Liberation Army, and the Sazeman-e Mujahideen-e 
Khalq Iran. 
 
--------- 
Comment 
--------- 
 
14.   (C) Comment:  The most powerful myth the MEK has been 
able to lodge in the minds of most supporters is that they 
are the democratic alternative to the current regime in 
Tehran.  While we have serious concerns about the policies of 
the Iranian government, the MEK,s four-decades-long record 
of terrorism and cult-like repression of its members 
demonstrates that the MEK is not a credible advocate for 
democracy or human rights.  Furthermore, the majority of 
Iranians do not regard the MEK as a legitimate force for 
democratic change in Iran.  The Secretary,s decision to 
maintain the MEK,s FTO designation sends a clear signal that 
the U.S. Government does not condone the organization,s 
terrorist activity.  End Comment. 
RICE

WikiLeaks: 09STATE2046, MEK FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATION (FTO)

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