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Monday, June 20, 2011
How WND Moved From Denouncing Terror Group To Praising It
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've detailed how newly minted WorldNetDaily "senior reporter" F. Michael Maloof was part of a clandestine team of intelligence researchers who were pushing the false claim that Saddam Hussein was linked to 9/11. It appears that's far from the only thing Maloof will lie about.

In a June 18 WND article, Maloof writes:

The dissidents are from the MEK, or Mujahidin-e Khalq, and are opposed to the Shi'ite Iranian regime which has considerable influence over al-Maliki, who also is Shi'ite.

Saddam Hussein had used the MEK, which the U.S. at one point had declared to be a terrorist group. In backing Hussein, the MEK was used by the Hussein regime to perform internal security. At one point during the Hussein period, there were a considerable number of MEK camps spread throughout Iraq.

Following the U.S. invasion, the MEK began to work with U.S. Special Forces and ultimately the organization was removed from the U.S. terrorist list.

In fact, as of June 16, MEK remains on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations.

Why is this important? Because, as Maloof hints above, WND would like to downplay the terrorist history of MEK and portray it as a U.S. ally because of its anti-Iran stance.

WND didn't start out that way. A January 2003 article by Ken Timmerman, part of WND's content-sharing agreement with the now-defunct Moonie magazine Insight, attacks the New York times for publishing a full-page ad for MEK, which he points out is "an Iraqi-based terrorist group" that "claims to have thousands of armed members based in military camps in Iraq, financed and equipped by Saddam Hussein."Timmerman goes on to highlight the members of Congress that have accepted donations from MEK-linked individuals and groups, among them current WND columnist Tom Tancredo. Larry Klayman is even quoted as saying that people who support the MEK are "terribly misinformed."

By the start of the Iraq War, however, WND began to change its tune.A May 2003 article touted an MEK claim that "Iran is building an arsenal of biological weapons incorporating six pathogens, including anthrax and smallpox," adding that "weapons experts and intelligence officials consider its previous claims about Iran's weapons programs to be largely reliable."

A January 2004 article, however, noted that MEK is "an Iranian terrorist group supported by Saddam Hussein" and that the Red Cross would not accept proceeds from a MEK fundraiser for victims of an earthquake in Iran.Paul Sperry wrote in an April 2004 article that MEK is "an Iranian dissident group that has killed Americans."

WND flipped again in a November 2004 article by Jerome Corsi, noting that a group called the National Council for Resistance in Iran that made claims about Iran's nuclear program was a "shadowy organization" that is the political arm of the MEK, designated "a foreign terrorist organization." Corsi then added: "The problem is that information about Iran's nuclear weapons program previously released by the NCRI has turned out to be true."

In 2007, an WND article by Art Moore was touting an Iranian dissident who called the MEK "Iran's best-organized and most capable opposition group." Moore also quoted "Iran scholar" Michael Ledeen as saying that he opposes U.S. involvement with the MEK, stating that while the MEK is "is a first-class espionage organization that has provided valuable information to the West," the group operates in a "cult of personality" and "I just can't imagine they are going to be an effective force in a non-violent revolution, which is what I favor." But Moore also cited a study by the pro-MEK Iran Policy Committee (a group that included retired Army Gen. Paul Vallely, last seen at WND ranting that the long-form birth certificate President Obama released is a forgery)

WND's whitewashing of MEK began in earnest after that. An October 2009 article declared that MEK "is regarded as an Iranian exile group, while a June 2010 article touted how MEK "opposes the current Iranian regime and is known to have worked with Special Forces."

That brings us to now, with WND's Maloof peddling the false claim that the U.S. no longer considers MEK a terrorist group. And that's just one of the many, many reasons WND's reporting cannot be trusted.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:43 PM EDT

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