(A cult session in Ashraf Camp Iraq - under the protection of Saddam)
Sahar Family Foundation: Will you please specifically recount instances of what can be defined as classified information?
Batool Soltani: Well, what can be specifically referred to are those information that supply details on the locations of headquarters within Auver-sur-Oise and Camp Ashraf. That is to say, any geographical, security detail about these and other camps mostly concerning the compounds of the leadership. There is much more related information; the extent of security measures for the entrance and the control of inter-organizational affairs, the whereabouts of cadres situated inside the camps and their hierarchical relations, and information about those organizationally permitted to pass in or out of these places. Regular and irregular visits of these places by the leadership, the setting plan of the buildings and the sections in the camps and the people positioned in them, how the security systems work to control the cadres’ shifts and what are the defensive measures, human or mechanically controlled, to reduce or counter threats from the outside are all instances of classified information. Of other instances to name are the existing differences within the Auver-sur-Oise and Camp Ashraf, the security check-points to ensure safe passage in and out, internal offices that verify the validity of the passports and visas, the rankings in the charge of controlling and issuing ID cards for individuals to enter the camps or the cadres who leave on missions. Anybody entering Mojahedin’s enclave is regarded to have passed over the red-line of a highly secretive boundary that is totally concealed from the outside world.
SFF: We will talk on the issue further later on. But now let’s have a look on the issue that any suicide operation inevitably has its own consequences. The aggressive kind, for example, will willingly or unwillingly lead to the death of some innocents in the vicinity. For instance, when the organization plotted suicide operations to assassin the leaders of Friday-Prayer, many other innocent crowds were perished along with the main target. I want to know how does the organization justify such deeds and who are in charge of deciding to stop or carry out these operations. Better to say, where lays the drawn red-line that justifies such operations?
BS: Your question can be answered from many angles. First, we have to ascertain how the organization and Rajavi in particular draw the red-line between the word and theory for carrying out these operations. Second, we have to see to what extent the words are actually practical, and third, what is the position of the leadership concerning what should not have actually happened and how he has treated with the disobedient. They are all related to understand the question and its different aspects. First of all, the red-line and instances are drawn just by the leadership and all operational ranks have to submit to it. Nobody dispatched for an operation can defy Rajavi’s drawn red-line and any operation team knows well that accomplishment of mission eclipses any other priority. Now, it is important to distinguish between Rajavi’s red-line of word and action. The red-line in Rajavi’s word is taking heed of protecting the life and property of the public who have no role in the operations as well as public buildings and passages. Interestingly, no saboteur is permitted to desist from the plotted operation just because he/she is overstepping the red-line. The only person with the authority to halt the operations is Masoud Rajavi himself. Now, the question is, and only Rajavi can give a proper answer, how it is possible exactly to stop crossing the red-line in the course of an operation that has to be unquestionably performed and which only Rajavi himself can order to be halted. The context and setting of some of these operations invariably requires sacrifice of innocent people in the vicinity. Once, for example, when a terror team was sent to assassin Asadollah Lajevardi in Tehran’s bazaar, the role of crowds in the bazaar can never be underestimated since they play the role of a deterrent factor both while targeting the victim and when escaping from the scene; there are always people in the scene who may in an automatic reaction interfere or hinder and the assassins see no other way but to shoot at them to open the way or one may come between the assassin and the target. Naturally, there are two options; either you have to abandon the operation and escape or accomplish the mission regardless of violating the red-line with whatever casualty. The latter requires that you have to be serious in completely obliterating any obstacle on the way. And Rajavi himself knows all these truths that it is impossible to carry out an operation of assassination without harming other innocents. It is the same case with suicide operations with the difference that the agent knows he/she hardly returns alive which greatly helps to violate the red-lines. But in the former, a hope fosters in the assassin that he/she may escape the scene with the aid of people, a hope instilled into him/her by the organization itself. As a result, the assassin tries to tie his/her destiny to a little of overstepping the red-line since the organization had falsely ensured him/her that people would create a protecting shield for a member of the organization to escape safely. But it differs in a suicide operation; here the accomplishment of the operation is of the higher significance than the number of the casualties present at the scene. Besides, the suicide is no more alive to be counted responsible for the innocent killed. Thus, this kind of operation is excluded from our issue of discourse and remains the kind after which the team has to necessarily return to its base after the operation.
When Rajavi plotted assassination of people like Lajevardi or the army commander Sayad Shirazi, he knew well that killing was an inseparable part of a planned operation which could never be fulfilled unless through homicide. Then, it is absolutely absurd if he maneuvers and insists on vocalized principles of his drawn red-line since the nature of these operations necessitate killing and blood-shed. Consequently, the assassin is not the authority to decide to stop or continue, he/she is only executing a killing plan drawn by somebody else watching the operation from many hundred kilometers away. It is really in absolute contradiction to Rajavi’s stated red-line and out of the control of the operatives. At the end, we see that there is nobody to be held responsible for violation of the red-line that has caused many innocent deaths; in fact, it is one of those Rajavi’s adopted childish tactics.
Now let’s see what are Rajavi and the organization’s reaction against operation teams that may have inadvertently violated the red-lines in the course of the operation. Here, the operatives may have been killed, arrested or returned. But, in any case, they are not the ones to be held responsible but their commander in charge of the operation. Rajavi severely reprimands them for the killings that are considered a violation of the stated red-lines. Of course, he is well aware of the fact that he is the sole one to be held responsible for the crime, but that is how he deals with the fallout and condemns others calling them inefficient and else. But nothing more happens and nobody is punished and all ends in a room in an outburst of humiliating words and sever reprimand because all know that Rajavi himself had practically a better understanding of what might happen and which he had implicitly given his seal of approval to cross his own drawn red-lines. But somebody has to be held responsible for mere formality who, of course, fails to be the leadership. I have to add that such a performance of formality runs only when the organization is disclosed by undeniable facts that tie it to the incident which it must be held accountable for. However, in many other cases, the success of the operation never lets anything else take a back seat and overshadows anything that more often fails to be ever mentioned and is of marginal interest to the organization.
To be continued
(Mehdi Abrishamchi and Massoud Rajavi taking orders from Saddam's head of secret services)
(Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, cult leaders)
(Maryam Rajavi directly ordered the massacre of Kurdish people)
BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: A renegade from the anti-Iran opposition group Mujahadeen-e-Khalq (MEK) (aka People’s Mujahedin of Iran or PMOI) revealed that the organization was involved in suppressing the 1991 al-Intifada al-Shaabaniya against the former regime of Saddam Hussein.
“MEK played a prominent role in repressing the intifada in the southern Iraqi cities in 1991 as it sent forces from the organization to the cities of al-Amara and Diala, as the former regime did not rely on its soldiers more than relying on the MEK fighters in this particular respect,” Batoul Soltani said in a press conference she held in Baghdad on Saturday.
On whether she was read to stand before the Iraqi judiciary regarding her involvement in repressing the intifada, Soltani replied, “I am ready to stand before the Iraqi courts to give my testimony on this case.”
“MEK used to back militias inside Iraq by training them and have them infiltrate the present Iraqi institutions,” Soltani, a former member of the MEK leadership council, said, declining to name those “militias.”
The 1991 uprisings were a series of rebellions in southern and northern Iraq in the aftermath of the Gulf War.
The revolts in the Shia-dominated cities of Basra and al-Nasiriya broke out in March 1991, sparked by demoralized Iraqi army troops returning from Iraq’s defeat in the Gulf War.
Another uprising in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq broke out shortly thereafter. Unlike the spontaneous rebellion in the south, the uprising in the north was organized by two rival Kurdish parties: Massoud Barazani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
Although they represented a serious threat to his regime, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was able to suppress the rebellions with massive force and maintain power, as the expected United States intervention never materialized.
The uprisings were eventually crushed by the Iraqi Republican Guard, which was followed by mass reprisals and intensified forced relocations. In a few weeks, tens of thousands of civilians were allegedly killed.
The prime defendant in this case is Ali Hassan al-Majid, alias Chemical Ali, who was condemned to death on charges of crimes against humanity in the al-Anfal case, in his capacity as former commander of the Southern Zone, based in Basra, and member of the dissolved Revolutionary Command Council.
Other defendants include Sultan Hashim, the former Iraqi defense minister; Hussein Rashid al-Tikriti, former assistant chief of staff; Saber Abdul-Aziz al-Dori, the former chief of military intelligence; Sabaawi Ibrahim al-Hassan, former President Saddam Hussein’s half brother; Abad Hamid Mahmud, Saddam’s personal secretary; Abdul Ghani Abdul Ghafour, a former Baath Party official; Saadi Taama Abbas, the former minister of defense; Iyad Fatieh al-Rawi, former chief of staff and a Republican Guard commander; Latif Mahal Hamoud, former Basra governor; Sufyan Maher al-Tikriti, also a former Republican Guard commander; Iyad Taha Shehab, a former intelligence chief and Walied Hamid Tawfiq al-Naseri.
Soltani said she has heard from MEK chief Massoud Rajavi after the fall of the former regime in 2003 that the handover of their weapons to the U.S. side was a “tactical plan,” adding “MEK boasts a very strong intelligence system”.
The defector said she has spent more than 20 years of her life inside Camp Ashraf before she managed to escape a couple of years ago. Soltani has come to Iraq in 1986 with her husband using a fake passport and remained inside the camp until she was able to run away after the 2003 fall of the Saddam Hussein regime.
PMOI is a militant Islamic Socialist organization that advocates the overthrow of Iran’s current government.Founded in 1965, the PMOI was originally devoted to armed struggle against the Shah of Iran, capitalism, and Western imperialism.The group officially renounced violence in 2001 and today it is the main organization in the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an “umbrella coalition” parliament-in-exile that claims to be dedicated to a democratic, secular and coalition government in Iran.The group has had thousands of its members for many years in bases in Iraq, but “they were disarmed in the wake” of the 2003 US-led invasion and “are said to have adhered to a ceasefire.”The PMOI’s armed wing is, or was, called the National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA).
The Iranian government officially refers to the organization as the Monafeqin (literally, “Hypocrites“), maintaining that PMOI is not truly Islamic.The United States, European Union (EU), Canada, Iraq and Iran have designated the PMOI a terrorist organization.Although the European Court of Justice has overturned the EU designation in December 2006, the Council of the EU declared on January 30, 2007 that it would maintain the organization on the blacklist.
Camp Ashraf, which lies in the province of Diala, 57 km northeast of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, exists since the 1980s. The PMOI members in Iraq were collaborating with the former regime of Saddam during its war with Iran from 1980 to 1988.
Soltani called on the Iraqi government to “target all the leaders of the MEK,” expressing readiness to help the Iraqi government on this.
“There are about 3,000 MEK fighters whose hands are tied under the strong control of Massoud Rajavi and Maryam Rajavi. They do not have any media channels to exprss themselves and for more than 20 years they have been hearing nothing except the voices of those leaders,” noted Soltani.
MEPs intrigued by accounts of newly arrived escapees from Camp Ashraf
Discussion of the Mojahedin-e Khalq/National Council of Resistance and its activities in the EU Parliament
... Ms Ebrahimi said she saw Mr Paulo Casaca when he visited Camp Ashraf. We were not allowed to approach him and speak to him, she explained to delegates. If they had somewhere to go, she told delegates, without doubt ninety-nine percent of the people in Camp Ashraf would leave the camp and the MKO...
Reported from EU Parliament, Sep. 09, 2008
On Tuesday 9 September a meeting was held by the Delegation for Relations with Iran in the European Parliament. The meeting focused on ‘Discussion of the Mojahedin-e Khalq/National Council of Resistance and its activities in an exchange of views with:
Ms Anne Singleton expert on the MKO Representative of the NCR (declined invitation) Three Residents of Ashraf Refugee Camp who arrived from Iraq in the last couple of weeks: Ms. Ebrahimi, Mr. Hassan Piransar and Mr. Hamid Siah Mansoori. Also present were former MKO members Karim Haggi, Mohammad Sobhani, Hadi Shams Haeri and Ali Ghashghavi, who accompanied the new arrivals to provide support to these vulnerable people.
Ms Angelika Beer, President of the Iran Delegation (Greens/EFA), began by describing the MKO and its activities up to the present time.
Anne Singleton briefly described her own involvement with the MKO for over twenty years.
Asserting that the MKO will not give up the use of violence to achieve its aims, Ms Singleton went on to explain why, in spite of that, she believes that the MKO has currently little to do with the Iranian political scene, but that precisely because it is a cult, its danger is that it interferes in parliamentary democracy in western countries in ways that may even involve criminal activity.
Whilst agreeing that the MKO’s platform of ‘total regime change’ in Iran could be attractive to some politicians in the west, Ms Singleton challenged the delegates to consider whether the MKO would be able to achieve its stated aim – ‘will it do what it says on the tin’? Since its last major offensive against Iran in 1988, the MKO has achieved little to further its aims. She told delegates that they should also consider the possibility that, even if they believe the MKO has changed tactic and intends to pursue its aims only through political opposition, the MKO may not actually be ‘fit for purpose’ She urged them to consider the evidence of the three former residents of Camp Ashraf who have arrived in Europe from Iraq only in the past few weeks, and who would speak later in the meeting about conditions inside the MKO.
Ms Singleton asserted that Iranian people – as those delegates who have visited Iran are aware – are not waiting to be rescued by the MKO and are capable of opposing their own government. Iranian women are not waiting to be taught about feminism by Maryam Rajavi who leads an organisation which – as Batul Ebrahimi will testify - badly abuses women members.
Then Ms Singleton described the current situation of the MKO in Iraq. Control of Camp Ashraf, the MKO’s headquarters, has been transferred from the American military to the Iraqi military. Ms Singleton said that Iraqi government officials are angry at reports which suggest that the MKO would be ‘massacred’ if the Americans handed over Camp Ashraf.
Instead, the people inside the camp are facing a humanitarian crisis because they are not allowed even basic freedoms such as the right to enjoy contact and visits from their families. A rumour has arisen that the Americans have removed around 300 of those captive in Camp Ashraf and left the others. Ms Singleton said that if this is the case then she would consider the remaining 3000 individuals in Camp Ashraf to be ex-members of the MKO. They should be brought to western countries as soon as possible.
Finally, Ms Singleton presented delegates with one solution to the crisis at Camp Ashraf, remove the MKO from the European terrorist list and bring ALL 3,300 residents to Europe where those who are mentally, physically and emotionally sick would be able to receive help.
Ms Singleton finished by reminding delegates that continuing support for the MKO would, of course, mean that the European Parliament accepted to have a cult operating in its midst and continuing to interfere in parliamentary democracy. However, if that is the decision to be made, then so be it.
Ms Beer thanked Anne Singleton for her contribution and asked the three recently arrived, former Camp Ashraf residents to speak.
Ms Ebrahimi (speaking in Farsi) told delegates that she had gone to Camp Ashraf when she was sixteen years old and although she quickly realised she wanted to leave, she was captive there for another ten years. She described conditions for women in the camp. Not only does the MKO not allow women to marry, women are made to work in the scorching sun for hours at a time so their complexions are ruined and they become ugly. This is so they do not develop the vanity to think they could be attractive to a man, she told delegates.
In order to remove hope from the women of ever having a family, they are being sent under surgery for spurious medical conditions to have their wombs removed [hysterectomy] and around ten percent of women in Camp Ashraf have now undergone this surgery. When they tried to impose it on her, Ms Ebrahimi ran away. She begged delegates to take doctors to Camp Ashraf to check the veracity of what she was telling them.
The MKO told her that if she left the camp and went with the American soldiers, they would rape her. For this reason it took two years before she was able to have the courage to escape.
Ms Ebrahimi said she saw Mr Paulo Casaca when he visited Camp Ashraf. We were not allowed to approach him and speak to him, she explained to delegates. If they had somewhere to go, she told delegates, without doubt ninety-nine percent of the people in Camp Ashraf would leave the camp and the MKO.
Mr Hamid Siah Mansoori (speaking English) told delegates he had been in the MKO for over twenty five years. He described how he had gone to Iraq from Canada. He had a good education, and a good life in Canada and had his own business before leaving everything behind in the mid 1980s to go to Iraq. He then described the MKO’s attitude to family. He said no one is allowed to contact their family, except in a few cases where people were told to contact their family to get money from them. He said the MKO told his family he was dead. They came to look for him five years ago – at the beginning of the American occupation – but were told he was dead.
Mr Hamid Siah Mansoori said he had arrived only a week ago, but had lost any contact details for his family. Nevertheless, his first priority now was to make contact with his parents and the rest of his family.
Ms Beer asked delegates if they had questions. One delegate asked how the MKO continued to be financed which allowed them to continue to undertake such expensive campaigns in parliament and elsewhere. Another delegate asked for more detail about the role of the Americans in supporting Camp Ashraf when the US State Department so strongly describes them as a terrorist group.
Anne Singleton answered these questions, pointing out that during the reign of Saddam Hussein the MKO had received almost unlimited finance from Saddam Hussein, as well as from Saudi Arabia and some western governments from behind the scene. Now, however, although it is clear that MKO finances are dwindling somewhat, it was unclear how the MKO could continue to spend so much money, and the only people to answer that are the MKO themselves.
Ms Singleton pointed out a five year rift in policy toward the MKO between the US State Department – which has a very thorough knowledge of the MKO – and the US Defense Department under Donald Rumsfeld. Some in the US Administration wanted to use the MKO in confronting Iran and therefore Camp Ashraf has been protected by the US military in Iraq for five years. Ms Singleton conceded that this protection was beneficial in keeping the MKO out of danger in the midst of a war zone. But that the Americans had also flouted the UN Fourth Geneva protocol by not allowing MKO to meet their families and not enabling them to leave the situation.
Ms Beer then introduced Mr Mohammad Sobhani who had previously addressed the Delegation. Following that meeting he had been the subject of unfounded accusations of having attacked MKO members in Paris. Instead, Mr Sobhani was the victim of a violent attack when some fifty MKO supporters ambushed a meeting at which Mr Sobhani was a speaker.
Following this, Mr Hadi Shams Haeri briefly pleaded with delegates to help him have contact with his children whom he has not been allowed to see for eighteen years. He asked that Mr Paulo Casaca accompany him to Camp Ashraf and help him meet with them again.
At the end of the meeting Ms Beer expressed her appreciation for the speakers and said it had been a valuable meeting. One which, given the ongoing situation at Camp Ashraf, might soon be repeated.
After the meeting, several of the attendees stopped to talk to the visitors – in particular the three who had just arrived from Iraq - and asked them to keep them informed of developments.