Anti-Kerry group's Iranian connection
September 22, 2004
Kerry's Vietnam service controversy and the US policy toward
the Mojahedin Khalgh (MEK) are seemingly two seperate areas
of discussion. But one could in fact say the two issues are married,
The members of the so-called Swiftboat Veterans
for Truth have some interesting connections. Dexter Lehtinen is
vet and an attorney from Miami. Lehtinen was wounded in Vietnam
and upon his
return was "disappointed," to put it politely, when he heard the
well known 1971 John Kerry testimony about Vietnam atrocities. He fully supports
the anti-Kerry group and has been active raising money for their activities.
Earlier this month (September 12), Dexter
appeared on CSPAN's morning show promoting a "Kerry
Lied" rally to be taken place later that same day in Washington DC. Dexter
is married to Ileana. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is a Republican congresswoman from
Florida's 18th district.
That's the southern-most district in the United
Just like all other Cuban-American Republicans, she is viciously
anti-Castro. She favors "regime change" for Cuba and
constantly pushes the US Government for tougher stance against
the Island nation. (As if any tougher stance short of a US invasion
were possible, but she probably wouldn't mind an armed invasion.)
Her statements make Cuba sound like a hell-hole of constant misery
and torture. She wants Europe and Canada to ban tourists from going
to Cuba in order to starve out Castro and foment an uprising. She
accounts her own "escape" from the clutches of the
evil dictator, having to leave behind friends and property in the
midst of communist enslavement. And how much of that communist
ideological slavery did she have to endure personally before being
rescued? Not much, she left when she was 7.
Does this profile sound at all familiar? Well, it must have sounded
perfect to the members of Mujahedeen e Khalg. Some time ago, they
tapped Ms. Ros-Lehtinen as an ally in Congress. The tales of the
two "tyrannical regimes" of Iran and Cuba being two
peas in a pod must've resonated with her own life story,
or at least with her trusted staff member Yleem Poblete to whom
she frequently defers the harder questions regarding the MEK.
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen has been going around trying to gather support
for MEK at least since the late 90's. She's been "admired" by
Alireza Jafarzadeh, the NCR spokesman in Washington and the occasional
Fox News Iran "expert." Both have a stated goal of removing
the MEK from the state departments list of terrorist groups.
Recently she claimed she had the support of 150 members of Congress
but she wouldn't reveal their names. When pressed she told
the Hill News on April 8, 2003: "Because of the Khatami
well-funded campaign on propaganda, lies and misinformation, I
have decided not to release the names of these signers."
Setting aside the assertion that Khatami is so powerful as to
force members of the United States House of Representatives to
communicate in secret, this still sounded a bit fishy. Shortly
after this, a number of high ranking Congressmen such as Henry
Hide and Tom Lantos of the House International Relations Committee
publicly disassociated themselves with the letter that Ms. Ros-Lehtinen
said she circulated. Eventually it was revealed that only 4 other
members expressed support for the letter.
The letter also drew fire from Congress's only fluent
speaker of Persian: Representative Bob Ney of Ohio (He taught English
in Shiraz before the Revolution.) Ney simply pointed out that this
group has American blood on its hands. Several high profile terrorist
attacks against Americans in the 70s and involvement in the taking
of the US Embassy in Tehran are credibly attributed to the MEK.
In addition the group briefly engaged the US Military in Iraq during
the initial invasion last year.
But being a terrorist with American blood on your hands is just
not good enough reason for Ros-Lehtinen to stop backing the group.
Perhaps there's more to the story.
Ros-Lehtinen is up for reelection this year. Quite a few people
on her list of donors are of Middle Eastern descent including Iranians.
Two of her maxed-out supporters are Yousif Ghafari and Farid Ghadry.
Both of these individuals are big fans of George Bush and the US
military involvement in the Middle East.
Ghafari is a Lebanese man from Michigan who is a Bush "Ranger,"
meaning he raised over $200,000 for the Republican party this year.
a wealthy Engineer, is on the record supporting the war in Iraq
and helping convince Michigan's large Arab community to
donate to Bush. He was nominated by the Bush Administration for
the post of Alternate US Representative to the United Nations.
Ghadry is the head of the Reform Party of Syria, an organization
with the stated goal of pushing Democracy in Syria. He's
been making the rounds in the lecture circuit as an advocate of
regime change for Syria, taking every opportunity to suggest that
Syrian leaders are just like Iraqi leaders. He has admitted "receiving
help" from the United States. His organization frequently
speaks on behalf of the Syrian Diaspora but he has almost no support
in the region. Ghadry is called "Syrian Chalabi" by
opposition groups inside Syria.
So how did these types of people find their way to anti-Castro
Congresswoman in southern Florida and why are they funding her
campaign? I haven't dug that deep yet, but my guess is that
there is a sort of "donor brokerage" being run by
Washington power elites with strong ties to the administration.
In other words they were referred to Ros-Lehtinen by MEK or MEK's
Neoconservative benefactors in Washington.
The Neocons in Washington have obviously met with the MEK and
are keeping them on ice until they have support in congress. Then,
when they're ready to do something drastic, preferably shortly
after a Bush reelection, they'll suddenly pop up the MEK's
of the world to serve as the Chalabi's du-Jour. Until that
happens, die-hard fans like Ros-Lehtinen are given the role of
keeping the groups' aims active in congress. In exchange,
they receive donations from some high-profile donors.
Qumars Bolourchian is a writer and photographer living in
bash Kerry at Aqua Turf author event' (Record-Journal)
- MEK stands for 'Mojahedin Khalgh ' a Persian - English
transliteration. The same group also goes by 'Mojahedin Khalgh
Organization' (MKO), 'People's Mojahedin,' (PM, PMO) and lately
'National Council of Resistance,' (NCR).
Congress ,Timothy McVeigh and Mojahedin-e Khalq', by:
Bradley J. Hernlem, Ph.D. (Payvand.com)
"terrorist" group finds support on Hill' by
Sam Dealey. (Hill News)
Ros-Lehtinen defends Iranian group labeled terrorist
front for Saddam Hussein' By Sam Dealey (Hill News)
Lady runs ad for Terrorists' By Kenneth R.
force: Syria's opposition forces believe that
national reconciliation is the way to fight US intervention in
domestic affairs.' (Al-Ahram)
Search for Syrian Liberals. Few Good Men' by
Eli J. Lake (The New Republic)
Ileana Roslehtinen Political Campaign Fundraising
and Campaign Finance Info.