Ashish Kumar Sen, Washington Times, March 18 2013: … The U.S. wants the MeK leadership to “accept the government of Albania’s humanitarian offer immediately, and urges the residents of Camp [Liberty] to resume participation in resettlement interviews to ensure that individuals avail themselves of safe and secure relocation opportunities outside Iraq,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. The dissidents are housed at Camp Liberty, a temporary location near Baghdad’s international airport. “We further urge the MeK leadership to place the highest priority on the safety and security of the former residents of [Camp] Ashraf through full and unconditional cooperation …
(Massoud Rajavi and Saddam Hussein)
Ashish Kumar Sen, Washington Times, March 18 2013
The Obama administration said Monday that an Iranian dissident group must immediately accept an offer of asylum from Albania for some its members being housed at a camp in Iraq.
Albania has agreed to take in 210 members of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MeK), a dissident group that seeks to overthrow Iran’s theocratic regime.
The MeK has rejected the offer.
The U.S. wants the MeK leadership to “accept the government of Albania’s humanitarian offer immediately, and urges the residents of Camp [Liberty] to resume participation in resettlement interviews to ensure that individuals avail themselves of safe and secure relocation opportunities outside Iraq,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
The dissidents are housed at Camp Liberty, a temporary location near Baghdad’s international airport.
“We further urge the MeK leadership to place the highest priority on the safety and security of the former residents of [Camp] Ashraf through full and unconditional cooperation with the resettlement process,” Mrs. Nuland said.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has been interviewing Camp Liberty residents to determine their eligibility for refugee status.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki wants the Iranians out of his country.
The Iraqi government is “working closely with the U.N. and the international community to find a permanent places for the residents of the Camp Hurriya outside Iraq,” an Iraqi official said on background.
The Obama administration welcomed the Albanian offer, which it described as “generous,” and thanked Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha “for the humanitarian gesture to provide a safe haven” for the Iranians, said Mrs. Nuland.
“We believe the permanent resettlement of former Ashraf residents outside Iraq is the only sustainable solution and remain committed to assisting [U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees] and the government of Iraq in this endeavor,” she said.
Saddam Hussein gave the MeK refuge in Iraq in the 1980s. The dissidents established a paramilitary base, Camp Ashraf, north of Baghdad. After the Iraqi strongman was overthrown in a U.S. invasion in 2003, U.S. military forces disarmed the dissidents, who had renounced violence in 2001.
Meanwhile, Martin Kobler, the special representative of the U.N. secretary-general in Iraq, met Deputy Secretary of State William Burns at the State Department on Monday morning.
Mrs. Nuland said the U.S. “strongly supports” Mr. Kobler, the UNHCR and UNAMI.
The Clinton administration designated the MeK as a foreign terrorist group in 1997 while it sought to open negotiations with Iran. The designation had proved to be an obstacle to finding other countries willing to give asylum to the Iranians.
The Obama administration took the MeK off the terrorism list in September.
Camp Ashraf’s 3,100 residents were transferred to Camp Liberty under a deal brokered by the U.N. in December.
(Izzat Ebrahim and Massoud Rajavi still at large)
(Washington backed Maryam Rajavi in terrorist cult’s HQ in Paris)
Silencing the victims of Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK) to promote Maryam Rajavi’s phoney feminism
(International Women’s Day)
… These women face a backlash of ‘power and money’ to stop them talking, while the same ‘power and money’ grooms the perpetrator, Maryam Rajavi, to talk about the rights of women and criticise marriage laws and say how they should be changed in the favour of women. ‘Power and money’ believe the MEK should not only be removed from terrorism lists but should be paraded in parliaments as exemplars of feminism. ‘Power and money’ are so dishonest that they cast the MEK in the role of victim while condemning the former women members as torturers, spies and agents …
Anne Singleton (Khodabandeh), Middle East Strategy Consultants, March 06 2013
Author of “Saddam’s Private Army” and “The life of Camp Ashraf”
International Women’s Day on 8 March is rooted in women’s demands for better working pay and conditions, and for voting rights, and has expanded to encompass women’s global struggle for equal rights and equal participation in social, political and economic processes.
In spite of considerable progress, continued vigilance and action are required to ensure that women’s equality is gained and maintained in all aspects of life all over the world.
In this context what are we to understand about Maryam Rajavi’s claim to feminist credentials?
Rather than take Maryam Rajavi’s words and image at face value, let us examine her actions and behaviour toward women in her own organisation. The best people to help in this respect are the women members of the Mojahedin. Understandably, current female MEK members cannot speak freely about their experience of being in this organisation because they must only iterate the MEK’s public stance.
However, those women who have recently left the MEK are certainly free to talk about the situation for women inside the MEK. Even so, their courage must be acknowledged. Not only is it difficult for women to break social taboos to talk about sexual abuse, but like whistleblowers everywhere, they are subjected to enormous pressure to keep quiet.
Indeed, just a glance at the difficulties faced by these women in recent months speaks volumes about the MEK’s real approach to women. Since making public statements in a conference held the Autumn of 2012 about sexual abuses committed by the MEK leaders, Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, against them and other women members, the following incidents have taken place against these women.
Batoul Soltani previously spoke out about the abuse of women in the MEK in both Baghdad and now in Europe where she lives. She was recently attacked in front of her house and her neighbours had to come to her rescue. The MEK have published indecipherable false documents on their websites alleging that while she was a member of the Mojahedin’s Leadership Council (the highest rank after the Rajavis), she was working for the Iranian Intelligence Ministry. Batoul joined the MEK with her husband and two month old baby when she was barely eighteen years old. She had been a member for over twenty years.
Nasrin Ebrahimi, who now lives in Switzerland, was fourteen years old when she was taken to the MEK’s Camp Ashraf in Iraq. She was only able to escape after the American army forced the MEK to disarm in 2003. Nasrin was invited to the European Parliament to testify about her experience as a woman in the Mojahedin. After that she suffered such severe harassment by the MEK that she changed country twice to escape them. Police have had to protect her for some time against the MEK. Recently she has again been approached and threatened in Switzerland for joining the group of women exposing the abuses.
Zahra Bagheri crawled combat-style over a kilometre for hours in the dark to escape Camp Ashraf. Her body was so lacerated and bleeding that the Iraqi soldiers who found her wept on seeing her injuries. She spent several weeks in hospital recovering from this ordeal. In addition she has had to undergo various operations in Germany because of neglect of her medical conditions while she was in Ashraf. She also joined the other women in the Autumn 2012 conference. The MEK are currently using her two sisters and her brother who remain in Camp Liberty to perform on their TV to swear at Zahra and their mother.
In the last two months, three more women have escaped from Camp Liberty. Seeing this treatment is it surprising that they are reluctant to talk to human rights investigators in Iraq even though privately they corroborate the experiences told by the women above.
They talk about Maryam Rajavi grooming young women and having them dance naked for her and Massoud. They say that after raping them Massoud gives them a medallion with his picture on it. There are 100 names, perhaps more, of women who have had hysterectomies; that is one in ten women in the MEK. They say this is done so that Rajavi can order them to sleep with him or any other man without fear of pregnancy.
It is public knowledge that the MEK instigated forced divorces long before the fall of Saddam so that for twenty years there have been no children in the MEK. In interviews with the BBC they proudly announced it and defended this policy. According to recent escapees, Rajavi has told the MEK the following: ‘According to Islamic rule, if a woman turns against her husband he has the right to kill her. According to the Internal Revolution you are all my wives. So if any of you betrays me and leaves the MEK I have the right to kill you under Islamic law.’ On the MEK websites they have published Massoud Rajavi’s threat: ‘I have evidence about everybody and if they leave I will expose them.’ It is thought he may have film of sexual acts.
The MEK have for decades used violence, intimidation and harassment to prevent former members from speaking publicly about the abuses taking place inside the organisation.
News of these activities is suppressed because some people think that terrorism is a useful tool. These women face a backlash of ‘power and money’ to stop them talking, while the same ‘power and money’ grooms the perpetrator, Maryam Rajavi, to talk about the rights of women and criticise marriage laws and say how they should be changed in the favour of women. ‘Power and money’ believe the MEK should not only be removed from terrorism lists but should be paraded in parliaments as exemplars of feminism. ‘Power and money’ are so dishonest that they cast the MEK in the role of victim while condemning the former women members as torturers, spies and agents.
No one expects ‘power and money’ to take the side of victims, but to turn the tables in this way is truly sickening.
Do not Disturb – Criminals at work in Camp Liberty
Massoud and Maryam Rajavi accused of sexual cruelty
… The women (several of whom had been appointed to the highest level of the MEK hierarchy – the Leadership Council which directly serves Massoud Rajavi and his wife, Maryam), described a bizarre process of preparation for their sexual encounter with Rajavi which was facilitated by and presided over by Maryam Rajavi, who, they said, procured specific women from the membership for Massoud’s use. The women were made to believe that refusal to participate would result in demotion, humiliation and even worse punishments. Maryam Rajavi invented rituals such as being washed by other women members so as to ‘spiritually purify’ them …
Anne Singleton, Middle East Strategy Consultants, January 5, 2013
Author of “Saddam’s Private Army” and “The life of Camp Ashraf”
When the US army captured the MEK and confined them to Camp Ashraf in April 2003, they registered 3,800 individuals. Of these, 800 were women.
The figure has remained mostly constant, with some members being trafficked in and out of the camp, and some escaping the cult altogether. (The actual figures are unknown because the Pentagon allowed the MEK to shut the door of the camp and operate Camp Ashraf independently of both national and international law.)
Understandably it is the women who escaped from Rajavi and his cultic abuses who are proving the most problematic. They are very angry and they are proving very difficult to silence.
In the Autumn of 2012 a number of these women, having courageously overcome the stigma attached to such issues, joined together to speak publicly about the sexual abuses they suffered in the MEK. They allege that Massoud Rajavi, the de facto leader of the Mojahedin-e Khalq, not only deceived them into having sex with him but had also instigated a programme of coerced hysterectomies for all women members in order to ‘neutralise their sexuality’. Out of the 800 women registered in Camp Ashraf, they gave the names of 100 who have already become victims of Rajavi’s hysterectomy programme.
The women (several of whom had been appointed to the highest level of the MEK hierarchy – the Leadership Council which directly serves Massoud Rajavi and his wife, Maryam), described a bizarre process of preparation for their sexual encounter with Rajavi which was facilitated by and presided over by Maryam Rajavi, who, they said, procured specific women from the membership for Massoud’s use. The women were made to believe that refusal to participate would result in demotion, humiliation and even worse punishments.
Maryam Rajavi invented rituals such as being washed by other women members so as to ‘spiritually purify’ them, followed by the instruction to dance naked before both the Rajavis to prove they had ‘broken the physical and mental barriers’ to their total submission to Massoud. After these coercive practices, he would choose a bedmate for sex. The women have said that they did not agree to sex with Rajavi out of free will but because they had been coerced through deception into submitting to what they later came to recognise as rape.
The women who spoke out all now live in Europe. Other former MEK women members living in Iran and currently in Iraq are also said to be willing to give their testimony. The women described how they were deceived into undergoing spurious hysterectomies in order to fulfill Rajavi’s demand that they ‘divorce from their sexuality’.
In response, former Colonel, Leo McCloskey, Commander of Forward Operation Base in Ashraf until 2008, was featured on the MEK’s websites and media, attempting to denigrate the women and dismiss their claims by labeling them as ‘agents of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence’. Based on what knowledge and expertise did he manage to come up with such a nonsensical counter argument?
What is most disturbing about these revelations is the response from the establishment. I’m sure that everyone reading this article will be at least curious to know whether such outrageous accusations might be true or not. Perhaps those who are more familiar with the MEK’s past known behaviour will be willing at least to give some credence to these allegations. But for responsible bodies like the UN and even human rights organisations, which, over thirty years, have compiled reams and reams of documented evidence of gross abuses committed by the Rajavi cult (let us not forget the MEK victims found in Abu Ghraib prison), to ignore these easily verifiable witness statements because the MEK says they are a ‘plot by the Iranian regime to discredit the opposition’ really beggars belief.
The facts are easily verifiable. The physical evidence of hysterectomy can be found in the women’s bodies. It is a matter of fact, not opinion. And if those who managed to escape the cult have evidence consistent with their accusations, does it not behove those people actually responsible for their welfare to conduct an investigation into the condition of the other named women in the MEK who are trapped incommunicado in (the ironically named) Camp Liberty.
Let us look more closely then at the ‘one size fits all’ label used to denigrate the victims: ‘agent of the Iranian regime’. It is not the first time the label has been used by the MEK, nor will it be the last. After all, in the current reckless Western culture of ferocious Iran-bashing, it is an easy formula to trot out for a willing audience. And what a willing audience!
The phrase arises from the cultic nature of the MEK and of course the concept of ‘thought-terminating clichés’ is familiar among experts in cultic abuse. It describes the technique used by cult leaders to prevent their followers (victims) from using their critical faculties. Whenever the cliché is mentioned, the cult member stops thinking. In this case, the phrase is also linked to another technique ‘cultic phobias’ which is to introduce irrational fears which when triggered arouse a phobic reaction in the victim.
For members of the Rajavi cult, the phrase ‘agent of the Iranian regime’ fulfils both these purposes; they stop thinking and experience an amorphous, pervasive fear. In some cases they can easily resort to violence in response to this reaction. The really despicable aspect of this use of the label is that it is directed at those victims of the cult who have only recently escaped the abuses. For them the phrase stinks of menace and threat; exactly why the Rajavi’s choose to use it.
But for outsiders, clearly many are unable or unwilling to use their minds to think through the absurdity of this phrase. Or, maybe they don’t need to. Leo McCloskey surely wasn’t acting out of the goodness of his heart when he quoted the MEK phrase. In such crass cases, are we wrong to assume that pecuniary benefits most probably apply?
With the deployment of this thought-terminating cliché, Rajavi has effectively hung a ‘Do not Disturb’ sign on the closed door of Camp Liberty, while an apparently awestruck (by Rajavi’s genius no doubt) Western world tiptoes outside, afraid it too will be accused of being an ‘agent of the Iranian regime’.
An Iranian mystery: Just who are the MEK?
… Ex-MEK member Eduard Termado is now living in Germany. His face is scarred to the point of being misshapen. His complexion is grey, his skin blotched and waxy, and his forehead constantly covered in dribbling beads of sweat – but then he spent nine years as a prisoner of war in Iraq. He joined the MEK hoping to help Iranian democracy and did not like what he saw. He says that after three years he asked to leave, but was told he couldn’t. He stayed for 12 years. He now says joining the MEK was the biggest mistake of his life and he has expressed that feeling in an unusual way. He has married and produced three children. “My family is my protest against the MEK,” he says …
Owen Bennett Jones, BBC, April 15 2012
The MEK forced its members to divorce
How do you get a group described by the US government as a cult and an officially designated foreign terrorist organisation to be viewed by many congressmen and parliamentarians as champions of human rights and secular democracy?
It would challenge even the most talented PR executive.
The starkly differing perceptions of the MEK or People’s Mujahideen of Iran could be a case study in the power of image management – of what can be achieved not with guns but by the way information is disseminated.
The organisation has a history of ideological and tactical flexibility.
Since the 1970s, its rhetoric has changed from Islamist to secular; from socialist to capitalist; from pro-Iranian-revolution to anti-Iranian-revolution; from pro-Saddam to pro-American; from violent to peaceful.
And there is another dichotomy – it has admiring supporters and ardent critics.
Take, for example, the US military officers who had to deal with the MEK after they invaded Iraq in 2003.
Not only was the MEK heavily armed and designated as terrorist by the US government, it also had some very striking internal social policies.
For example, it required its members in Iraq to divorce. Why? Because love was distracting them from their struggle against the mullahs in Iran.
And the trouble is that people love their children too.
So the MEK leadership asked its members to send their children away to foster families in Europe. Europe would be safer, the group explained.
Some parents have not seen their children for 20 years and more.
And just to add to the mix, former members consistently describe participating in regular public confessions of their sexual fantasies.
You might think that would set alarm bells ringing – and for some US officers it did.
One colonel I spoke to, who had daily contact with the MEK leadership for six months in 2004, said that the organisation was a cult, and that some of the members who wanted to get out had to run away.
And yet another officer, who was there at precisely the same time and is now a retired general, has become an active lobbyist on the MEK’s behalf.
With his open smile and earnest friendly manner, he is a good advocate. “Cult? How about admirably focused group?” he says. “And I never heard of anyone being held against their will.”
We later emailed him about a former member who claimed to have told the general to his face that people were held against their will. “He’s lying,” the general replied.
You just have to decide which side to believe.
Ex-MEK member Eduard Termado is now living in Germany.
His face is scarred to the point of being misshapen. His complexion is grey, his skin blotched and waxy, and his forehead constantly covered in dribbling beads of sweat – but then he spent nine years as a prisoner of war in Iraq.
He joined the MEK hoping to help Iranian democracy and did not like what he saw.
He says that after three years he asked to leave, but was told he couldn’t. He stayed for 12 years.
He now says joining the MEK was the biggest mistake of his life and he has expressed that feeling in an unusual way.
He has married and produced three children. “My family is my protest against the MEK,” he says.
There are many other stories.
Children who never forgave their parents for abandoning them. Children who did forgive and are now joyously reunited. Divorcees who have got out of the organisation saying they still love their former spouses who are still in.
In over 25 years of reporting, I have been lied to often enough but, as successive former MEK members told what they had been through, their tears seemed real enough to me.
And yet a significant number of politicians in the US and UK would say I was tricked because the former MEK members who spread these kind of stories are, in fact, Iranian agents.
Again, who to believe?
In the US in particular, an impressive array of public figures have spoken in defence of the MEK.
There are more than 30 big names – people like Rudy Giuliani former mayor of New York, Howard Dean at one time the democratic presidential hopeful, a retired governor, a former head of the FBI.
Many get paid. Of those who have declared their earnings, the going rate for a pro-MEK speech seems to be $20,000 (£12,500) for 10 minutes. But then many other prominent MEK supporters act without payment.
Why do people take such strong positions on the MEK?
After a month talking to people on both sides of the argument, I am left thinking this. Some supporters are paid, others see the MEK through the prism of Iran – they will just support anything that offers hope of change there. Many are well motivated but some are naive.
And the former members?
Some are embittered, others just seem broken.
Which is when it occurred to me – the perception people have of the MEK may say more about them than about the organisation itself.
It is so difficult to pin down you can see your own reflection in it.
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The Strange World of the People’s Mujahedin
(aka; MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult)
… Whether they leave voluntarily, or by force, leave they must. The PMOI has a history of killing Americans and mounting attacks within Iran. But it now says it has renounced violence and should be removed from America’s list of designated foreign terrorist organisations. Its high profile PR campaign involves paying senior retired US officials who then speak on its behalf. We report on the way in which a former pariah group accused of killing Americans has won over intelligence experts, generals, and congressmen from both sides of the political divide…
Owen Bennett Jones, BBC World Service, April 11 2012
Link to download the file:
The People’s Mujahedin of Iran – a group of dissident Iranians who have been fighting to topple the Mullahs since the 1980s – say they fear they are about to be massacred.
Over 3,000 PMOI members – designated terrorists by the US and a cult by some former members – live in Iraq at Camp Ashraf, 40 miles north of Baghdad and 70 miles from Iran itself.
The camp residents say they are vulnerable because with the US now having left Iraq, they are at the mercy of the pro-Iranian, Iraqi government, which is demanding the camp be closed down.
Whether they leave voluntarily, or by force, leave they must.
The PMOI has a history of killing Americans and mounting attacks within Iran.
But it now says it has renounced violence and should be removed from America’s list of designated foreign terrorist organisations.
Its high profile PR campaign involves paying senior retired US officials who then speak on its behalf.
We report on the way in which a former pariah group accused of killing Americans has won over intelligence experts, generals, and congressmen from both sides of the political divide.
As the deadline for the closing of Camp Ashraf draws near we ask just who are the People’s Mujahedin of Iran – terrorists or freedom fighters?
A cult or a deeply committed army who could be used by the US to fight for change in Iran?