• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • A Setback in the Fight Against Terror

    A European Union court yesterday annulled a new move by the E.U. to freeze the assets of an exiled Iranian opposition group in the latest in a string of legal setbacks to its blacklist of suspected terrorist groups. This is a setback for European efforts to fight terrorism. The group that was involved, the People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI), has a long history of supporting terrorism and has been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.

    The PMOI is a non-democratic Marxist terrorist group that was part of the broad revolutionary coalition that overthrew the Shah of Iran but then was purged in 1981, after which it aligned itself with Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. While this cult-like group is one of the best-organized exile organizations, it has little support inside Iran because of its alliance with archenemy Iraq during the Iran–Iraq War.

    Moreover, the PMO resorted to terrorism against the Shah’s regime and was responsible for the assassinations of at least four American military officers in Iran during the 1970s. It organized demonstrations in support of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and against the release of the American hostages in 1981. Although the group did perform a useful service when it provided information that helped to expose Iran’s covert nuclear program in 2002, it remains a radical group with a proclivity for violence.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to A Setback in the Fight Against Terror

    1. Alex George, Paris says:

      Whose bidding are you doing Mr. Phillips? The Shah's remnants or the mullahs.

      The PMOI is not Marxist, nor is it a cult. It is unfortunate that your hostility toward the PMOI does not allow you to accept well-known historical facts. The idea that the PMOI held demonstrations in support of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan is absurd to say the list, as is the stale allegation that the PMOI supported the US embassy takeover.

      As for the PMOI's support inside Iran, have you or any other so-called expert conducted a poll to examine that.

      The Court of First Instance only repeated what the UK specialized tribunal POAC and the Court of Appeal had found: To say that the PMOI is terrorist is "perverse."

      As for the PMOI's position against the Shah, while it has consistently denited it was responsible for the assassination of US military advisors, it did indeed oppose the US support for the Shah and the CIA's role (through the notorious SAVAK) in the crackdown, torture and execution of Iranian dissidents.

      The good thing is that the Iranian people and those without any agenda or ulterior political motive pay little heed to these oft-repeated and disgraced allegations and to those who continue to parrot them.


    2. Pingback: A Setback in the Fight Against Terror « Conservative Thoughts and Profundity

    3. Michael Haltman, Jer says:

      From The Political and Financial Markets Commentator at http://politicsandfinance.blogspot.com

      Thursday, December 4, 2008

      Torture: What Is The Correct Definition?

      What Definition Of Torture Should We Go By?

      Why talk about torture now? I heard a news brief on the radio Wednesday morning that there was going to be a committee hearing or symposium discussing the use of torture by the U.S. I did not catch who was holding it or exactly when, just that it was happening.

      Let me open by saying that I totally agree with the premise that under normal circumstances nobody should be inflicted with torturous techniques. Period the end. I don't think that anyone, left or right, would disagree that the deliberate use of torture for no apparent purpose is absolutely wrong and should not be tolerated.

      That argument however, does not carry a great deal of sway when we are talking about the safety of Americans and our allies around the world, during what can only be termed as a time of immense global insecurity. Not a war by definition, but very unsafe times. An argument exists that by torturing to get imperative information that will hopefully be used to save lives, we may be no better than the enemy that we are trying to combat. To that point I have two questions:

      What constitutes torture?

      Is there some threshold by which those that oppose any degree of torture would accept it, were it to prevent an action brought by our enemies that would be so abhorrent and devastational as to justify it?

      Is it perhaps possible that in the hatred of, and the rush to condemn the current administration no matter what (an administration that has no doubt committed significant blunders), the bigger picture has been lost? That is that we are fighting people that want us dead, and who do not play by the rules of the Geneva Convention. Far from it.

      What Does The Geneva Convention say?

      Should we go by the Geneva Convention when we determine what is an acceptable level of torture? Just what are some of the things that the Geneva Convention stipulates?

      1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

      To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

      (a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

      (b) Taking of hostages;

      (c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;

      (d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

      2. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.

      (From the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights)

      By Whose Definition Is Torture Determined?

      I am not sure if the groups that seek to do us harm are abiding by all or any of these terms. One needs only to look at the attacks on 9/11 to see that is the case.

      In a manual discovered at an Al Qaeda safe house there was a description of the methods to use when interrogating and torturing a captive. Some of these included the use of:

      Electric drills, hammers, blow torches, meat cleavers, pliers and wire cutters, chains, screw drivers, whips and handcuffs. Some of the drawings included the methods to be used for perpetrating some incredibly gruesome acts, including "how to drill hands, sever limbs, drag victims behind cars, remove eyes, put a blowtorch or iron to someone’s skin, suspend a person from a ceiling and electrocute them, break limbs and restrict breath and put someone’s head in a vice." (Fox News, May 2007)

      Now let's compare these acts with some of those reported to be used by the U.S. in a Washington Post story on June 10, 2004. This story outlines and derides some of the "techniques" being used by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay to "torture" the detainees or prisoners.

      If we compare the methods in the terms of the Geneva Convention, or any other convention for that matter, we have to wonder why the outcry is over the actions of the U.S. to a much greater degree than that of our enemy. These are some of the ones mentioned:

      "Some of the more severe methods available to interrogators in Iraq, if they got proper approval, include forcing detainees to sit or stand in stressful positions, using sleep or sensory deprivation, and using military dogs to intimidate. Others requiring prior approval included isolating a detainee from peers; pride and ego up or down, which means attacking someones personal worth and sense of pride; and "fear up/harsh," in which interrogators could yell at prisoners, throw things around the interrogation room and convince a detainee that he has something to fear, change of scenery up; change of scenery down; dietary manipulation; environmental manipulation; sleep adjustment (reversal) ; isolation for 30 days"; and a technique known as "false flag," or deceiving a detainee into believing he is being interrogated by someone from another country."

      Does the end justify the means? It depends which case you are looking at.

    4. DR Sharam Taromsari, says:

      It’s ironic that a moron like you thinks that you know more about the PMOI than the judges who have studied the case against the PMOI and reached a conclusive decision that there is no case against them. I suggest that you do what every high school students should do and that is to research your topic before you make any comments! I think by writing what you have written you have written you have exposed yourself for lack of intelligence and understanding and I just take it as an insult that you think you are more aware of judges whose responsibility is to be impartial and address JUSTICE as it should be done. As for PMOI, the fact that they have been in the forefront of challenging the Iranian regime, a regime which is known to be god father of terrorism and have inflicted so much misery upon not only the people of Iran but Iraqi’s, Jews and others, the question is how should this regime be challenged. Perhaps likes of you desire appeasement like it was implemented with Adolf Hitler, or maybe you want another war like what is taking place in Iraq. People like you have no clue because you are not the one who pays the price for the brutality of regimes like the one in Iran. So I suggest, you have solution before you point your finger at likes of the PMOI who have devoted ALL they have in the name of FREEDOM and JUSTICE, the matters that likes of you take so much for granted!

    5. DR Sharam Taromsari, says:

      The short comment by the author is an unfortunate reflection of his selective management of facts. As a scholar, I would have expected him not to be selective and so naïve in his presentation of his shallow argument. He accuses PMOI for being a terrorist organisation and designated as one by the State Department. This is the type of material I expect to read in tabloid press and not written by an expert in a prestigious think tank. PMOI members are under US “protection” in Iraq where they live in a camp called ASRAF. All of them have been screened at least six times by numerous US agencies and still are protected by the US military in Iraq and are free to carry on with their day to day activities, if they were terrorists, and if there was any evidence to prove such claims against them, I am sure they would have been treated in a different manner. The author also fails to mention that it was the PMOI who for the first time exposed Iran’s nuclear program as well as Iran’s complex web of terrorist networks in Iraq and beyond. As for the ruling by the European Courts, I totally disagree with the author, as this ruling will strengthen the fight AGAINST terrorism. It exposes how the European governments were prepared to turn a blind eye to Iran’s use of state terror and in return these governments appeased Iran by keeping the most organised Iranian opposition organisation in their terror list in order to please Iran and “HOPE” to seek concessions from Iran as well as protecting their short term economic ties with that country. I suggest the author to grasp the world that we live in. PMOI was accused of acts against the US in the 70s when the US backed a brutal dictator. This policy was such a failure that subsequently Clinton administration apologised to Iranian people for US’s failed past policies in Iran by various US administrations. We live in a dynamic world. A world that challenges, authors static views of the world. If the PMOI should be punished for ever and ever for what is been alleged against them in the 70s, the author must also treat the Germans and Japanese and Vietnamese with the same rational, and then we are trapped in the past. Nelson Mandela and many others who were accused of being terrorists became political icons and leaders of their countries. George Washington was another. I suggest if we ever want to find a solution to real problem of terrorism and those who engage in such acts, we must have a realistic and dynamic view of the world we live in. Today, the most challenging obstacle to peace in the Middle East and the Region is Iran. Various policies of engagement and appeasements and carrots have failed to produce any outcome and result in Iranians changing their ways. The only viable policy is democratic change by the Iranian people led by Iranian opposition. People like the author who suggests that they are experts in Middle East and Iran can not be selective with facts and just present half truth. It is such presentation that has resulted in a mess that is called Iraq today.

      As for the EU courts, They have examined the “evidence” against the PMOI and in three separate rulings in the past two years found them not guilty as charged. Therefore this ruling only highlighted how certain member states in EU are prepared to undermine the rule of law in order to please the Iranians. That MUST be the focus for the author and experts like him. He must question why?

      I finally like to remind the author that, Iranian funded organisations are those who target the US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, not the PMOI. Also it is Iranian support for their proxies who undermine peace between Israelis and Palestinians and the insecurity that has torn Lebanon apart!

      Let us get real.

    6. Barb -mn says:

      This country, for the cry babies of the democratic party, has been appeasing terrorist activities since 911. Illegal crossings over the American border with no reprimand, as taxpayers pay unknowingly their every expense, implementing MASS TRANSIT (one of the best friends of terrorists, employing without valid background check…It wouldn't be surprising if there were sleeper cells working in every position vital to our lives and economy.

    7. Struan Stevenson, Eu says:

      As someone who has previously had the honour of being invited to give a lecture at The Heritage foundation in Washington DC, I always held that organisation in high esteem. However, the astonishing outburst by James Phillips regarding the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) may make me revise my opinion.

      On 4th December, 2008, Europe’s Court of First Instance ordered the EU to remove the PMOI from its list of terrorist organizations. Astonishingly, James Phillips of The Heritage Foundation describes that judgment as “a setback in the fight against terror.”

      A setback? Why would the second-highest ranking court in the EU so irresponsibly hinder the fight against terror, not once, not twice, but on three different occasions? Do the judges not care about at least their own safety and security? What is Mr. Phillips suggesting?

      Perhaps he possesses information that makes him more credible than the high-ranking judges and jurists of Europe, who, after all have done nothing worthwhile but to conduct months of “intense and detailed” meticulous examination and scrutiny of every available piece of evidence against the PMOI, including confidential documents.

      Against this backdrop, Mr. Phillips brandishes the smoking gun: The PMOI has “organized demonstrations in support of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979,” and so it is a “terrorist” organization. In all seriousness, can you really blame the courts for removing the terror tag against the PMOI after being faced with such “evidence”? Not only is this charge ridiculous but it belongs to three decades ago. We are in the 21st Century. Welcome to planet Earth, Mr. Phillips.

      Even the Iranian regime (PMOI’s archenemy) would be embarrassed that Mr. Phillips is recycling Tehran’s manufactured bogus in the current legal environment. And, we’re talking about a regime which claims anything about everything. Just look at what its President claims about the Holocaust.

      Last year, a branch of the UK’s High Court was so dismayed and exhausted at being bombarded with these deeply unfounded anti-PMOI allegations that it called the British government’s decision to list the PMOI as “perverse”, a term interpreted as an open legal insult. And, when the UK Court of Appeal, presided over by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, reviewed confidential and classified evidence against the PMOI for the first time, it said that it was more – I repeat ‘more’ – convinced that the PMOI is not a terrorist organization. In rejecting the UK Home Secretary permission to appeal, let alone the appeal itself, the Court lambasted the British government for refusing to remove the PMOI from its terrorist list. "It is a matter of comment and for regret that the decision-making process in this case has signally fallen short of the standards which our public law sets and which those affected by public decision have come to expect," the Court wrote,

      The PMOI is fighting the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror, the Iranian mullahs’ regime. In that respect, Mr. Phillips, the setback in the fight against terror happened a long time ago by effectively and unjustifiably pinning down Iran’s democratic opposition with the “terrorist” label. That label did wonders to empower and encourage the real terrorists in Iran. Europe’s Judiciary and elected representatives are just now succeeding in removing that obstacle in the real fight against terror. They deserve everyone’s support.

    8. Damian says:

      This guy is a jerk! Who is giving a damn if what a fool like you say when we have ruling of all EU's Court's.

      He should go and live in Iran to serve his beloved Mullahs.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.