11 Feb NBC: Israel and MEK Responsible for Murdering Iranian Scientists
That’s the conclusion drawn in this blockbuster report — which, precisely because it is a blockbuster that makes Israel and the MEK’s vast number of Democratic and Republican supporters in the U.S. look bad, has been basically ignored in the “liberal” media:
Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders.
The group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.
The attacks, which have killed five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims’ cars.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement.
Two senior U.S. officials confirmed for NBC News the MEK’s role in the assassinations, with one senior official saying, “All your inclinations are correct.” A third official would not confirm or deny the relationship, saying only, “It hasn’t been clearly confirmed yet.” All the officials denied any U.S. involvement in the assassinations.
As it has in the past, Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined comment. Said a spokesman, “As long as we can’t see all the evidence being claimed by NBC, the Foreign Ministry won’t react to every gossip and report being published worldwide.”
I could ramble on about the implications of the report, particularly how in a rational world it should complicate efforts by the MEK’s U.S. friends to have the MEK de-listed as a terror organization, but I’ll just point readers to Glenn Greenwald’s post yesterday, in which he discusses those implications in detail. (Yes, dear readers, we can use his name on this blog. He is only “He Who Must Not Be Named” over at Lawfare.)
I do, however, want to comment on something Daniel Byman, a professor at Georgetown and fellow at Brookings, said about whether Israel’s actions can be considered terrorism. He told NBC that, “[i]n theory, states cannot be terrorist, but if they hire locals to do assassinations, that would be state sponsorship.” As I explained in an earlier post, that claim is overbroad. Under the Terrorist Bombing Convention, “states cannot be terrorist” only insofar as bombings are conducted by the “military forces” of a state; bombings conducted by a civilian intelligence service such as the Mossad are not excluded from the Convention’s definition of terrorism. So yes, the Mossad’s actions in using MEK to kill the Iranian nuclear scientists qualify as terrorism.