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 Whistleblowers Need Protection



A great victory -- but at what terrible price?
The Spectator (UK)
May 7, 2008

It was eminently predictable, but it is still a great victory. Today the Court of Appeal unanimously and emphatically declared that the ban under the Terrorism Act of the main Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahideen of Iran (PMOI), was illegal. Since the judges also refused to allow the Home Secretary even the possibility of an appeal, the government must now de-proscribe the PMOI as ordered by the court.

This not only brings to an end a shameful chapter in Britain’s long appeasement of the tyrannical Iranian regime but also offers a sliver of hope that that regime might now be toppled. One might have thought that this was an outcome devoutly to be wished for by the governments of the west. Far better, after all, that the ayatollahs should be deposed by popular will of the Iranian people than that the west should be forced to go to war to prevent Iran from going nuclear and thus holding the entire world to ransom in pursuit of the mullahs’ aim of bringing about an apocalypse and the defeat of the west. But the proscription of the PMOI, not only by the UK but also by the EU and the US, has meant that it has been unable to raise money and organise resistance to help the Iranian people to rise up against the regime that enslaves them.

That regime is weak, as can be seen from the (almost totally unreported in the UK) atrocities against dissidents who are being hanged or gruesomely mutilated almost every week. If the PMOI had been able to campaign publicly against the regime and to bring its atrocities to light, the pressure might already have brought about its demise. But far from helping bring this about, the UK government shamefully chose to suck up to the mullahs when, in 2001, the then Home Secretary Jack Straw banned the PMOI as a terrorist organisation at the request of the Iranian government — the true terrorists of Iran.

Yes, the PMOI has a past history of violence (renounced in 2001) but never against the west, only in defence of life and liberty in Iran — first against the cruel repression of the Shah’s regime, and then against the unspeakable savagery of the ayatollahs. Forced to establish a base in Saddam’s Iraq, the PMOI — Shia Muslims who are committed to uphold human rights, to renounce the death penalty and medieval Islamic punishment and to separate mosque and state, thus replacing Islamic theocracy by secular democracy — are now using that base in Ashraf to encourage the Iraqi Shia to repel Iran and al Qaeda and to work with America in stabilising the country.

As a result, the US now affords the PMOI protected status in Ashraf. Yet in 2003, the US and the UK actually bombed the PMOI bases in Ashraf — having pledged to do so before the start of hostilities in Iraq as a quid pro quo for Iran staying out of the war. In the aftermath, however, coalition forces signed an agreement of ‘mutual understanding and co-ordination’ with the PMOI. This prompted General Odierno — then commander of the US Army 4th division and now the designated successor to General Petraeus as commander of the coalition — to say that the PMOI appeared to be committed to democracy in Iran and its cooperation with the coalition should prompt a review of its terrorist status. Yet although in Iraq the PMOI are now ‘protected persons’, the group is still proscribed in the US and EU.

War, as we all know, should only ever be a last resort; but sometimes that last resort is unavoidable. So it is with Iran. A nuclear Iran is — or should be — simply unthinkable and in the last resort war may therefore be unavoidable. But if that war should indeed come about, the governments of Britain, America and Europe will bear a very heavy responsibility indeed. Because such a war could have been avoided had they done everything in their power to bring about the end of the mullahs’ regime by peaceful means. They did not do that; instead they tried to appease it by outlawing and even bombing the very people who offered the best chance of bringing about its end — and who also, incidentally, stand for the democratic and secular Islamic society which the western world purports to be so desperate to see develop.

The result has been the continued oppression and misery of the people of Iran; the death, torture and mutilation of tens of thousands of brave Iranian dissidents fighting for freedom; and a gift to the Iranian regime of that most precious of all commodities — time to build its nuclear arsenal while continuing to blow up western soldiers and attack western interests. Now, with the Israelis warning that Iran may be as little as one year away from building a nuclear bomb, time may simply have run out for the possibility of toppling the regime. If so, history will record the behaviour of the UK, US and Europe towards Iran ever since the revolution of 1979 as one of the most shameful, cowardly and lethal episodes of appeasement in western history.

One of the most distressing aspects of the war of civilisation is the way in which the west persists in appeasing its enemies while cutting off its allies at the knees. Today the English judiciary (for once) struck a blow for freedom and against tyranny and its appeasement. The beleaguered people of Iran who yearn to live in peace and freedom should know that today at least, Britain has said: ‘We are with you’.


Pasted above is an article from the Spectator about the UK Court of Appeal's unanimous holding recently that the ban on the PMOI under their Terrorism Act is illegal. Given that a review on whether the PMOI should remain banned under similar legislation in Canada is to be done this year, you might find it useful.

The court judgement can be accessed at

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