The European base of Mujahedin Khalq Organization, near Auver sur Oise. in Cergy-Pontoise province, France, has played various roles as the MKO’s headquarters for its armed struggle against Iran, since its foundation under the confirmation of then French government, following its defeat in the partisan civil clashes, the leaders of the organization fled from Iran and the second phase of civil clashes was ordered and directed by the leader from their European base in France. The teams were controlled and directed by phone calls from Paris. The base is now where Mrs. Maryam Rajavi the executive leader of MKO is residing.
Therefore it’s another version of “Ashraf in Iraq” called as “Maryam in France”.
In 1981 when Masud Rajavi fled to France together with Abul Hussan Banisadr, the base was a small country house belonged to Saleh Rajavi, (Masud Rajavi’s older brother) that became the group’s headquarters.
Gradually, the organization bought the neighboring houses by the side of Oise River adding them to the main base after ruining the old buildings and constructing new ones. The walls became taller and were decorated by barbed wires and finally it transformed to a castle or military camp. It is worth to note that regarding the large number of French gens d’armes who protect MKO around the camp, the tall walls and barbed wires are not aimed to prevent foreigners and strangers from entering the camp but to prevent the people captured inside the camp from leaving it. Leaving the camp for the most highranking members is only allowed under the written permission of the group’s authorities. Also leaving the camp alone (without any companion) is forbidden because the members should go out together so as the authorities could monitor them more easily.
In Auver Camp (Maryam Camp), as well as Ashraf Camp, the cult special rules are ruling. The isolated location of the cult restricts any contact with the outside world.
Following the arrival of Masud Rajavi in Iraq in 1986 and the formation of National Liberation army and establishment of Camp Ashraf, Iraq under the rule of Saddam Hussein, Camp Maryam played its role as the second headquarters which supported MKO’s military operations in Iran and controled the group’s forces in Europe.”Maryam Camp” in the Parisian suburb has always served as the group’s headquarters for 27 years and it is now working as an isolated factory which builds robots inside the organization. Therefore the base has always had a vital part for Masud Rajavi for his 5-year residence in France and also 17 years of his presence under the rule of Saddam Hussein and even now that he is disappeared the base directs the military and cult-like line of the organization.
The base in Europe has nearly the same role that camp Ashraf has in Iraq and after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship the role of Maryam base was multiplied.
Maryam Camp in France organizes the internal relations of MKO as well as its external relations and it is charged with anything committed by MKO (either in Ashraf or any other part of the world).
(Mojahedin Khalq, Rajavi cult HQ in France)
The duties of Maryam Base include:
1. The strategic headquarter of MKO for armed struggle and its military arm is NLA (National Liberation Army). The base has always used as the headquarters during the three phases of the group’s armed operations.
2. The safe centre for the organization’s theorique and ideological elements who have the responsibility to determine the cult-like methodology of the cult for manipulation techniques used in Iraq and the West.
3. Main political centre and the political cover of the cult: National Council of Resistance of Iran which is used for the democratic gestures of the cult and to neutralize its terrorist face.
Rajavi founded the council according to a symbolic and tactical necessity not a democratic principal. The politics are used as a mean to achieve military goals of the organization.
4. The centre of executive headquarter of the organization in various domains such as financial, propagandistic, information and intelligence and psychological warfare … Maryam Base is the headquarters to direct MKO’s propaganda machine. The base also organizes some front organizations to do fundraising activities under the cover of false identities. …
5. Maryam Base after Ashraf Base is the symbol of MKO’s power in its propaganda, political and diplomatic activities.
Thus Camp Ashraf in Cergy-Pontoise, France is similar to Camp Ashraf in Diala, Iraq: a geo- politic headquarters from external view and a manipulation headquarters from internal view. The both bases have definitely destructive effects on their residents and even the neighboring inhabitants.
In fact the both bases cannot survive without each other. If either of them, due to any reason, is closed, the other one will be affected immediately. Without Maryam Base in France, MKO is not able to use Ashraf Base’s forces, and without Ashraf- Iraq, Maryam - France is no more effective.
In an interview with VOA, Alireza Jafarzadeh, the diplomatic activist of MKO, released some statistics on Camp Ashraf. He raved about the number of Ashraf members as well as entertaining, educational, health, and medical centers therein. Likewise, Mojahedin-run TV is engaged in broadcasting programs on the significance of Camp Ashraf and its residents giving repeatedly cliché, inflated information on the structure and facilitations of Camp. It is evident that the demagoguery is aimed to cover the truth about what really passes within Ashraf under a cover of heavy media propaganda. However, many believe that it is a tactic through which Mojahedin attempt to distract the attention of the public opinion to effortlessly continue with their main job in Auvers-Sur-Oise quarters.
As a terrorist cult, the organization has developed sophisticated techniques to twist the mind of its listeners from among a range of sympathizers, advocates and ordinary run of people uninformed of the facts. It well recognizes the effect of propaganda in how to defend peace and freedom by appealing to patriotism, nationalism and humanitarian sentiments to continue with its violent plans.
Camp Ashraf is now considered as the mainstay of Mojahedin with regard to the practice of their cultic relations. After the Fall of Saddam in Iraq and the takeover and siege of Ashraf by the U.S. forces, Mojahedin have actually lost the opportunity of using the camp as the command center of plotting and launching over the border terrorist operations. Therefore, it has no strategic significance for the time being and has turned to be a spot merely keeping the cultic relations of the organization ongoing and intact. Now this question arises that in spite of overexposure of Camp Ashraf, why Mojahedin keep silent on releasing the least amount of information on their main quarters in France where the leaders, on whom the survival and life of the cult depend, are residing and making decisions?
Except the local residents of Auvers-sur-Oise, hardly any visitor to the calm town is conscious of a globally proscribed terrorist cult having situated its citadel there. Reported by New York Time’s correspondent Craig S. Smith going there on an arranged interview with Maryam Rajavi:
The sleepy town of Auvers-sur-Oise, 20 miles northwest of Paris, is best known as the place where van Gogh lived the last months of his life. Japanese and American tourists wander uncertainly down its main street, peering at reproductions of his paintings in front of the buildings that they portray. Few of the tourists are aware that the town is now home to an almost cult-like Iranian opposition group, some of whose members have divorced their spouses as an act of loyalty to the cause and whose armed wing is on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations. The group's devotion to Mrs. Rajavi is so extreme that some members set themselves on fire when she was briefly detained by the French police two years ago. 1
It has to be pointed out that Auvers-Sur-Oise is not an ordinary site; on the contrary, it is well guarded by means of numerous controlling and security systems to the point that they have caught the attention of all interviewers and reporters arriving there. Almost all individuals meeting the residence of leaders and ranking Mojahedin in France unanimously focus on its complexity and high level of security. According to an Italian reporter once coming to have an interview with Massoud Rajavi:
His [Rajavi’s] dwelling in Auvers-sur-Oise, in the Parisian suburbs, is much like a fortress. There is a high wall keeping it concealed from suspicious looks. There are high voltage barbed wires around as well as searchlights on the walls illuminating the surroundings. The road to Massoud Rajavi’s villa (leadership centre) is controlled by two French check-points equipped with machine guns. The only entrance to villa is guarded by Mojahedin forces themselves. 2
Also, the Germany national broadcasting writes:
There were some impedimenta in our path to his [Rajavi’s] dwelling, 4 kms to northwestern Paris. The park therein was not well landscaped; the area was surrounded by barbed wires charged with high voltage. There were a number of French police officers at the entrance door to settle the possible disputes. 20 men always accompany Massoud Rajavi. His political assistants live outside his small fortress. 3
As noted by another Italian reporter, the main residence of the Rajavis and the highly imposed drastic security measures even for the group’s members is described as:
A place where no one (even the insiders) can enter unless fully inspected and under highly control measures. 4
The use of controlling systems fails to be productive in itself; however, the act of Mojahedin in misusing the facilities provided for them by the West is a matter of consideration. They make attempt to abuse these facilities for the achievement of their cultic and terrorist objectives and according to D.S.T report, they have established another cultic-terrorist haunt in France. The western political analysts have come to the point that ‘the Rajavis misuse the surprising laxity of the European governments by living in Auvers-Sur-Oise luxuriously for many years.’
There are evidences that Auvers-Sur-Oise is known at the present to have become the main strategic base for Mojahedin and they abuse it in different ways in order to pursue the totalitarian objectives. According to D.S.T report:
We have been able to identify numerous PMOI members recruited and housed in France, making regular trips to Iraq… They also follow several different routes to Iraq: passing through Jordan, Egypt, or Turkey. They make their connections through different European countries, such as Belgium and the Netherlands... Once in Iraq, the militants undergo various levels of political and military training. The NLAI fighters coming from Iraq regularly visit PMOI HQ in Auvers-sur-Oise, while veteran soldiers are installed in France and remain continuously active in promoting the organization. 5
In addition, a fact is acknowledged that Mojahedin aim to establish another Camp Ashraf in the Europe:
The Mojahedin's aim was to move their "world operational centre" -previously based in Baghdad -to the Val d'Oise. 6
Interestingly, Mojahedin broadcast the majority of their television programs from Camp Ashraf and refrain to give any information about Auvers-Sur-Oise while almost all their political contacts and activities are conducted from the HQs there. It is much surprising that at a time when Mojahedin petition the West to remove their name from the terrorist list, what really panics them to let a free entrance into their dwelling. What is really different about Camp Ashraf and the camp in Auvers-Sur-Oise with the former being the focus of the media and propaganda while the latter remains off the air.
References 1. New York Times, September 24, 2005 2. Massoud Rajavi’s interview with Corriere della Sera Daily. 3. Massoud Rajavi’s interview with Deutschlandfunk. 4. Massoud Rajavi’s interview with Italian News agency (Ansa). 5. Gessler, Antoine; Autopsy of an Ideological Drift, chapter 14, DST report on MKO. 6. ibid.
Asghar Farzin, Reza Sadeghi, and Ali Biglary, former members of the MKO, plead for justice against the organisation to the Iraqi judicial authorities and urge them to deal with the situation in Ashraf camp http://iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=4272