Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bombshell: Kenney Addressed Banned Terrorist Group

Oh, this is just too deliciously ironic! My member of parliament, uber-Conservative Jason Kenney, who likened Hezbollah to Nazis this week - a view endorsed by Steve - had this to say about consorting with groups identified by the Canadian government as being terrorists:

In Ottawa, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's parliamentary secretary lashed out at the trio of opposition MPs visiting Lebanon, comparing Hezbollah to the German Nazi party of the 1930s.

"We need to learn the lessons of history. There was another political party in the past which had democratic support, which provided social services, which played an important role in the political life of Germany in the 1930s, which was also dedicated to violence against the Jewish people," Kenney told a news conference.

"The world was wrong to negotiate with that party then, and it would be wrong to negotiate with Hezbollah today."

So, why did Kenney speak to a group on the steps of Parliament Hill this past April that is also designated as a terrorist organization?

A photograph of Kenney, who is Prime Minister Stephen Harper's parliamentary secretary, appears on the website of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the political wing of the PMOI, or People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran.

The PMOI is one of the names used by the MEK, or Mujahedin-e-Khalq, an armed Iranian rebel group formally designated as a terrorist organization by the governments of Canada, the United States and the European Union. The Canadian government put the group on its official terror list in May 2005.

Kenney is shown addressing an April 6 rally on Parliament Hill, and the group says he welcomed participants "on his own behalf as well as the Prime Minister."

The group touts Kenney's support, saying "dozens of Iranians and supporters of the Iranian Resistance joined in a rally in front of the Canadian Parliament to condemn (the) clerical regime's plan to execute political prisoners in Iran, specially those affiliated to the PMOI."

The group has been lobbying to persuade governments in the United States and United Kingdom to remove it from their terror blacklists, and promotes itself as the democratic secular alternative to the Islamic clerical rulers of Iran.

But Human Rights Watch says the Iranian rebel group is itself responsible for serious human rights abuses. It interviewed former members of MEK who reported "abuses ranging from detention and persecution of ordinary members wishing to leave the organization, to lengthy solitary confinements, severe beatings and torture of dissident members."

Not only that, the MEK was funded by Saddam Hussein:

Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the group received all of its military assistance, and most of its financial support, from the former Iraqi government.
In 1986, after then French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac struck a deal with Tehran for the release of French hostages held prisoners by the Hezbollah in Lebanon, PMOI was forced to leave France and relocated in Iraq, where they received all of their military support and most of their financial support from the Iraqi regime until the 2003 American invasion of Iraq [4]

According to some reports, near the end of the 1980-1988 war with Iran, Baghdad armed the MEK with military equipment and sent it into action against Iranian forces. [3] Many believe that MKO's decision to move its headquarters to Iraq in the middle of the war, caused the MKO to lose most of its supporters in Iran, regardless of their views towards the Iranian government. For example the NIAC (National Iranian American Council) claims: "As a result [of their alliance with Saddam during the war], they are viewed as traitors by the overwhelming majority of Iranians and Iranian Americans.". [8].
According to some official sources (including U.S. Department of State, and Foreign Affairs group of the Australian Parliament) the MEK has been widely accused of assisting Saddam's Iraqi National Guard in supressing the Kurdish and Shiites uprisings of Iraq after the 1991 Persian Gulf War [3] [6]. However the MEK has always denied this accusation.

It was placed on Canada's list of banned organizations in May, 2005.

CSIS has more:

On 5 April, 1992, the Iranian Air Force conducted a bombing raid on an MEK base in Iraq. Hours later, forty MEK supporters wielding sticks, crowbars and mallets attacked the Iranian embassy in Ottawa, wounding several people. Near-simultaneous attacks were carried out on Iranian Embassies in thirteen other countries around the world

On 15 February, 1999, PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan was arrested in Kenya. The next day, violent PKK supporters rioted in Montreal, and a day later in Ottawa. Several police officers were wounded, including one who lost an eye, and another who was set on fire with a Molotov cocktail.

These incidents make it clear that MEK and PKK support networks in Canada are directly linked to their parent organizations abroad. Terrorist support here contributes to the groups’ activities internationally, and when those activities trigger retaliation, violence can reverberate in Canada.

Kenney tried to use the 'I don't remember' defense when he was confronted by the fact that his picture was on the group's web site:

In an interview with the Star, Kenney said he did not remember attending the rally, then recalled an invitation from "something called the Committee for Human Rights in Iran."

The invitation came from a man Kenney said he met at the foreign affairs sub-committee on human rights.

Kenney, MP for Calgary Southeast, said he "would be shocked" to hear his picture was posted on the group's political wing website.

Directed to the website, Kenney said he was "completely unaware of the context as it is presented here, even though we had done our due diligence."

He said he did not know the rally was in support of PMOI prisoners. He said it was a small crowd of about 30 people.

"I told them I would pass by if I could. And I was running up to the Hill, I just literally grabbed a megaphone and said that the Canadian people would stand in solidarity with the Iranian people in their wish for respect for human dignity and human rights and democracy, and these were universal aspirations that all people in every country deserve to have respected, and you know, our government will stand for those universal values.

"I honestly don't recall any particular grievance that they had about any particular person in Iran or Iraq or somebody who's pending execution. At least that wasn't brought to my attention."

Kenney said he is well aware that the PMOI is also known as the MEK and is listed as a terrorist group. He then specifically recalled questioning the man who invited him — whose name he said he could not recall — at a meeting in Kenney's office after the parliamentary committee meeting. He asked if the man had any ties to "those radicals in the People's Mojahedin. And he laughed or denied it or something."

"I wanted to be sure there wasn't a connection," said Kenney. "I came away with the impression that there was no connection whatsoever."

Shorter Kenney: I got caught with my pants down. Damnit.


Will Steve now ask Kenney to resign? Here's what he said earlier this week:

"I think those who associate themselves with Hezbollah in this country are operating beyond the pale, and they are frankly operating in defence of an organization that is an illegal criminal organization in this country," Harper said.

So, how about it Steve? Is Kenney toast now or what?

Since Kenney is my MP, he'll definitely be hearing from me. Not only that, I will personally take on the expense of distributing that picture around this riding during the next election. You can count on that.

(h/t to Mike, who certainly made my day!)

No comments:

Post a Comment