Iran Interlink, February 23 2018:… A delegation of ex-MEK members attended and were able to meet with UNHCR officials as well. According to their report the delegation met with speaker Maziar Bahari, author of ‘Then They Came For Me’. Bahari, who is a fierce critic of the IRI, said ‘having been arrested in Iran and considering all that I went through in prison, I can say that from what we hear about the experiences of those inside the MEK, that is much worse than what happens under the IRI.” …
Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – February 23, 2018
++ The Human Rights Council met in Geneva last week. A delegation of ex-MEK members attended and were able to meet with UNHCR officials as well. According to their report the delegation met with speaker Maziar Bahari, author of ‘Then They Came For Me’. Bahari, who is a fierce critic of the IRI, said ‘having been arrested in Iran and considering all that I went through in prison, I can say that from what we hear about the experiences of those inside the MEK, that is much worse than what happens under the IRI.”
++ Some commentators responded to Rajavi’s attempt to jump on the bandwagon of hijab protests in Iran. They say this is ridiculous. Rajavi forces women in the MEK to wear hijab even if they are not believers – she says it is a uniform.
++ Commentators republished the NCRI statement against the former members who had been interviewed by Albania’s Top Channel Fiks Fare satirical programme. They comment, ‘this is a clear example of Rajavi’s mentality’. They emphasise that in Rajavi’s jargon, when she says ‘agent of the regime’ she is issuing a death sentence and means that if possible they should be killed. Some writers commented further that Massoud Rajavi was never really against Iran, he has always been against his critics and ex-members.
++ Iran’s High Council for Human Rights issued a strongly worded statement in response to rumours that the death of an environmentalist in prison had been caused deliberately. The statement said that Kavous Seyed Emami had been arrested for “espionage charges under the cover of environmental activities”. It went on to criticise Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme Mr. Erik Solheim, for bias. The UN should have consulted first with Iran as a member state before making accusations. The statement continued with several points, including a warning that the US and other countries should not use the environmental agenda to interfere in other countries. A further abuse has been for the UN to give cover for terrorist organisations such as MKO, PJAK, Komala, Rigi, which have been variously supported as ‘human rights advocates’. As a member of the UN, Iran should expect its environmental work to be given “honest support” and not used as cover for interference by other countries.
++ James M Dorsey wrote a piece titled ‘The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer’ charting the rivalries between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the latest battleground for which is Azerbaijan. Here the evidence of religious and cultural influence has recently been characterised in the insulting chants of opposing football club fans. “Azar News, leaked in 2015 a letter allegedly written by Brigadier-General Gholam-Asgar Karimian, the club’s former chairman, detailing how Traktor Sazi [football club] could be used to unite Azeris against what the general termed ‘racist and separatist groups’. Azar is operated by the National Resistance Organization of Azerbaijan (NROA), a coalition of opposition forces dominated by the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, a group that enjoys Saudi support but was tainted when it moved its operations in 1986 to Iraq at a time that Iraq was at war with Iran.”
++ Mazda Parsi in Nejat Bloggers makes a plea for MEK hostages to be informed about their rights. The article reveals how the MEK had manipulated the UNHCR into paying individual MEK members’ living expenses directly to the organisation. This meant that anyone leaving the MEK in Albania was left homeless and moneyless. This issue is now being resolved as the UNHRC has begun paying allowances for ex-members directly into their own bank accounts. It is the crucial responsibility of the UNHCR and Albanian government, says Parsi, to ensure that MEK members are informed about this so that they are not intimidated by the hardship of leaving the cult of Rajavi.
++ Iran Interlink republished two articles which show how support for the MEK can ruin people’s careers. Josh Hawley, who was paid by the terrorist MEK in 2016, is now running for Senate, presumably with the backing of the MEK. It is not clear whether his past will influence his chances of reaching the Senate.
Fatmir Kuci, builder of the Military base in Manez for Mojahedin Khalq (aka Maryam Rajavi cult, MKO, MEK)
Ora News, Albania, February 10 2018:… The Iranian Mujahideen, as we know, have been given refuge in Albania under the US excuse that they have been obliged to protect any possible opposition forces against the theocratic regime of Iran and, as they were left on their hands when Iraq drove them out, they brought them to Albania. It is a very interesting point that this organization is now building its …
(Translated by Iran Interlink)
Fatmir Kuci, builder of the Iranian city in Manez (Mojahedin Khalq, Maryam Rajavi cult, MKO, MEK, NCRI Terror camp)
In his show, ‘This is Moscow’, Kastriot Myftaraj has addressed the issue of the Mojahedin (MEK) in Tirana. He identified businessman Fatmir Kuci, as being involved in the Iranian city of Kamza, as Myftaraj calls it.
Myftaraj: As we know, an organization called the People’s Mojahedin of Iran – who have been fighting and wandering around the world for about 40 years – has been given refuge in Albania, where they say they are fighting to overthrow the regime in Iran by force and bring their leader to power in Iran, even though they do not know where Massoud Rajavi is who claims to be the legitimate president of Iran.
On the other hand, his wife Maryam Rajavi – who has taken refuge in Albania – occupies the office of “president-in-exile” instead of the husband. This would be a real comedy, if there were no other consequences.
The Iranian Mujahideen, as we know, have been given refuge in Albania under the US excuse that they have been obliged to protect any possible opposition forces against the theocratic regime of Iran and, as they were left on their hands when Iraq drove them out, they brought them to Albania.
It is a very interesting point that this organization is now building its headquarters in Albania, Manëz military base in Durres.
It is about 20 hectares of land. The vehicles have the name of the construction company, Victoria Invest, written large on them. Which belongs to Mr. Fatmir Kuci, a businessman from Elbasan.
Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) terrorist training camp in Albania impacts whole Balkan region
Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton), Balkans Post, January 09 2018:… The MEK, led by Maryam Rajavi from France, keeps its members behind closed doors in a state of modern slavery which neither the UNHCR nor the UN-IOM appear able or willing to deal with. Significantly the camp is named ‘Ashraf Three’ after the MEK’s original military base in Iraq, gifted to them by Saddam Hussein to …
Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) terrorist training camp in Albania impacts whole Balkan region
Maryam Rajavi grooms Albanian politicians
Residents of Tirana no doubt welcomed news that members of the terrorist Mojahedin Khalq organisation (MEK) have moved out of the capital to a closed camp in Manëz, Durres a few kilometers from Tirana. Citizens had been disturbed by the bizarre, anti-social behaviour of the group’s members and puzzled by their lifestyle.
However, they might not be so pleased if predictions come into play. That is, the arrival of widows and orphans of killed Daesh fighters to occupy the apartment blocks and university campus recently deserted by the MEK.
There is every possibility this will not happen though. The agreement brokered between Prime Minister Sali Berisha’s government and the Obama Administration in 2013 to bring the MEK there included the establishment of an Institute for De-Radicalisation which would have made sure the 3000 radicalized MEK fighters were rehabilitated safely back into normal society.
This did not happen. There is, therefore, no American funded Institute to de-radicalise incoming Daesh members. Instead, the MEK locked down on its control over its own members and has further managed to groom Albanian politicians, officials and mafia heads into cooperating with and supporting them. This latest move to a new base is part of the MEK’s overall survival strategy – hold on to members and promote the MEK’s brand as instigators of regime change against Iran.The building of a new base was first exposed when investigative journalist Gjergji Thanasi uncovered shipments of cement which were not linked to tax or import documents. Further investigation revealed plans to build a terrorist training camp in the Manëz area. The camp has a small-arms firing range, reinforced concrete armoury, 3.5-meter-high walls with lookout turrets to guard the entrance. The entrance is guarded by MEK personnel. Albanian authorities have no jurisdiction inside the camp. It is a de facto extra-judicial enclave.
New MEK terrorist training camp ‘Ashraf Three’, Albania
The MEK, led by Maryam Rajavi from France, keeps its members behind closed doors in a state of modern slavery which neither the UNHCR nor the UN-IOM appear able or willing to deal with. Significantly the camp is named ‘Ashraf Three’ after the MEK’s original military base in Iraq, gifted to them by Saddam Hussein to help his war effort against Iran (1980-88). The newest camp has also been gifted to the MEK by its backers.
With this backing, the MEK feel secure enough in Albania to have conducted several open acts of violence. Two in Tirana and one in the European Parliament. But it is events in Iran which are a greater cause for concern.
Now that the protests and unrest in Iran have been quelled, some facts are emerging which could have serious repercussions throughout the Balkans region. What began as working-class protests against economic hardship and government corruption were quickly politicised by agitators who introduced violence. Security authorities arrested hundreds of protesters who were alleged to have taken part in this violence. Most have since been released pending further investigation. These investigations will look closely into interference by external forces behind the violence. A state of affairs acknowledgedin a Security Council meeting on Friday 5th January when the isolated Trump Administration was warned by other members against interfering in Iran’s internal affairs.
Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced that a number of people involved in the violence had been trained by the terrorist MEK. Iran’s Intelligence service in the western Iranian province of Lorestan also said it had disbanded and arrested four members of a terrorist cell linked to the MEK in Boroujerd city. According to Iran, Intelligence services have uncovered a network of agitators organised from Afghanistan and Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. This network had been making preparations for several months and had planned to launch violent actions later in 2018. It appears that the spontaneous working-class protests against high prices and corruption triggered the network to jump on this bandwagon ahead of schedule.
If the plan was to provoke Iran’s security services into a harsh crackdown on the protesters which would be spun in western media as human rights violations, this did not work. Instead the establishment brought out its supporters in massive counter demonstrations. But above all, when the protests turned violent, ordinary people went home. They wanted no part in manufactured regime change.
Protests in Iran turned violent
The discovery of MEK involvement is not surprising. The group has been a favourite tool for anti-Iran regime change pundits for decades when it was based in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. In an interview with Serbian Sputnik, political analyst Aleksandar Paviç warned that “Trump, along with Israel, has a clear plan and this is being activated today by Albania. The CIA and Israeli services are preparing soldiers to send them to war in Iran to overthrow the regime”.
Although the MEK has lobbying offices in nearly every major western capital, there is only one MEK terrorist training camp. It is in Albania – Ashraf Three. The camp may look innocuous and may be far away from civilian eyes. But Albania and thereby the greater Balkan region – a kind of frontline between Russia and America – will pay a high price for hosting this group.
The MEK is not only calling for violent regime change from inside Albania, it is actively training terrorist agents to deploy for this mission. This means that Iran, a Russian ally, now has a direct interest in this region. Albania can now be considered a frontline country in Iran’s fight against terrorism.
At the same time, no wonder that the European Union regards Albania not as a friendly neighbour but as a security risk right on its doorstep. There is no chance whatsoever of Albania joining the European Union while it hosts the MEK terrorist group.
The Gordian Knot of Balkan states which neither the Americans, Russians nor the EU have been able to unpick would be best served if these countries found common cause in ridding this sensitive area of the one group which serves none of their interests. Nobody wants it cut by an Iranian sword.
Sputnik interview with Anne Khodabandeh about MEK (aka Maryam Rajavi cult, MKO, NCRI …) in Albania
Sputnik, Serbia, December 31 2017:… British Anne Khodabandeh, is an expert in anti-terrorist activities and a long-standing activist in the field of deradicalization of extremists. She has written several articles and books on this subject, along with her husband, who is of Iranian origin. For years they have been working with radicalized individuals, helping them to leave terrorist organizations …
Sputnik interview with Anne Khodabandeh about MEK (aka Maryam Rajavi cult, MKO, NCRI …) in Albania
Originally published in Serbian in Two Parts
In Tirana, the capital of Albania, an interesting workshop called “Conflicts in the Middle East – Radical Groups and Ideologies” was held at the end of November.
The conference was organized by the Free Media Institute in Tirana, because the country has increasingly become the new focus for violent extremism and terrorism experts in recent months, primarily in security circles, which see it as a “gathering center” for extremists who are either returning or sent to the Balkans from armed conflicts in the Middle East.
It is known that Edi Rama’s government has long been working in direct cooperation with the US military and security structures – working on the establishment of specialized “deradicalization centers” in Albania, about which Sputnik has written on several occasions in the last three years.
It appears that Rama’s “hard work” paid off. An article published in the Huffington Post in early December, says that there are already about three thousand members of MEK, Iranian Mojahedin (the Rajavi cult), who are violent opponents of Iran.
They were transferred to Albania from Iraq by the end of 2016, with a cash injection by the US authorities to the Rama government, and, according to the Huffington Post, under the cover of “humanitarian intervention”, ie, with the supervision of the UNHCR. The payment, according to the US outlet, was at least twenty million dollars.
Well-informed circles in Albania claim that there are already strong indications that the next group, which will also be moved to the country for “humanitarian reasons”, will be the families – widows and children – of DAESH fighters who have either left Iraq and Syria, or have been killed in fighting over the past few years.
Sputnik’s interviewee, British Anne Khodabandeh, is an expert in anti-terrorist activities and a long-standing activist in the field of deradicalization of extremists. She has written several articles and books on this subject, along with her husband, who is of Iranian origin. For years they have been working with radicalized individuals, helping them to leave terrorist organizations and reintegrate into society.
Anne is well acquainted with the situation in Albania and the movement of members of the Mojahedin, and some time ago, she reportedly received information that members of the MEK, stationed in the former building of the University of Tirana, started actively recruiting the Albanian youth into their movement – and she decided to react.
[The rest of this interview is provided below as unedited Google Translation]
For starters, it might not be a bad idea to explain to Sputnik’s readers from what kind of life and family environment these “radicalized individuals” with whom you are working come.
– They come from all layers of society. It is a mistake to assume that only some uneducated people have gone to Syria – most foreign fighters of DAES are from the middle class – mostly students, educated people … Terrorism is a global phenomenon today – there is no person whom he cannot guess. But it’s pure politics. Going to jihad is a political act. In addition, everyone has a personal reason why it becomes extremist, there is no formula, no recipes … Otherwise, it’s hard to radicalize people who have some goal in life; The escape in the extreme is the easiest thing for poor people, without a target, “casual”, “lost cases” … Their best-quality members of the extremists, they say, are recruited among violent football fans. My job today is to go around and explain to people how “radical” works. I keep repeating – no one is born as a terrorist. It’s not a talent, it’s not a career, it’s not a conscious choice. I think that I, personally, is a great example that anyone, at any time, can be radicalized, if he finds himself at the wrong time in the wrong place.
Can you explain it a bit? How is this “you, personally” example?
– When I enrolled in college, at the end of the seventies, I met an interesting group of people at the University of Manchester. There were many foreigners among students, we would all be sitting in a student club and talking mostly about politics. The Iranians then came in large numbers in England. They were friendly, different from my surroundings, they attracted me … They kept occasional meetings, I went to one of them out of curiosity, with their then boyfriend, and it turned out they were actually the mujahedin – MEK – what we call today the Raji cult . I did not understand much at that time, but I remember that they had a wonderful attitude towards me. Today, I would say that the techniques they used to attract me were, at the very least, interesting (laughing). I did not know their language, but I felt the energy. They were active, they not only sat down and talked about politics, and that attracted me. The revolution began in Iran, and I, thanks to them, had a “seat in the first place”! I was 19 years old, the boy was also in that, I was a great idealist. I was not a girl who was interested in shopping. I wanted to change the world! And this has not changed, to this day. Radicalization affects the psyche, but does not affect the type of personality. If you enter an organization as a certain person, the same will be, essentially, out of it and you go out.
Wait, you shocked me with that story … And what happened next? How long did it take?
– Twenty years. The first ten, until 1989, I practically lived a double life. I worked, I had a job, a house, a car, my normal everyday “English” life, but I spent all my free time working – for the mujahedeen. I dealt with what we call pi-ar activities today, but all friends thought that something was wrong with me. I did not want to hear anyone. I thought I was smarter than all of them. It’s part of the tactic – we are the smartest, we have others that have an incomprehensible vision, a higher goal. Separation from the family is crucial. Each radical group is organizing it with its members. At one point, my boyfriend then became violent, our relationship changed, and I turned to them. They became practically my only family. I was a computer programmer with a great salary, but I left it all because of them. I was first in the office in London – I was watching the news, writing the press … And then I went to the Middle East. Imagine !? An English woman twenty years old, from a middle class. Who would say?
Incredibly. How did that happen to you? And how is it possible that you did not have any problems with the British authorities? Still, it was an extreme group …
– Well, first and foremost, I did not choose in whom I will fall in love (laughter), it all just happened … It began with my beginning that their ideology is like “Islamic Marxism.” They began with activities during the Iranian Revolution, fought shah, they wanted to carry out a coup after the revolution; that plan failed, and they were expelled. They represented us as fighters for democracy, even as advanced, feminists – but essentially, the only “business” of ordinary members of us was to respect the leader. We should not have thought, to ask questions – you just do what they tell you. It can hardly be understood by someone who has not experienced it. You asked me about the problems with the British authorities? Well, MEK has always had the support of Western governments because we were working against Iran. That’s why they left us alone. I knew they were violent, but it did not prevent me – even though I am by the nature of the pacifist, I am very calm, I do not like violence … It only shows how they can “gain” you no longer think your head. Today, of course, I would say to them that they are a criminal organization. Only one single government ever officially recognized them – it was the government of Saddam Hussein. All others helped them “black” – politically, financially, yes, but never officially. If you would ask the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or German or French service, everyone would just be crazy – they would say they do not know what you’re talking about.
EXCLUSIVE charm offensive: Slave jihadists reveals the plan of the Islamic invasion of the Balkans
British En Kodabande is an expert in anti-terrorist activities and a longtime activist in the field of deradicization of extremists, for years before it was a pier of the terrorist movement, worked with the mujahedin, and barely, she says, pulled out of their claws.
We wrote about this part of the life of En Kodabande yesterday, and today we will give that part of the conversation that explains her life as a fighter against jihad.
You say that you spent 20 years with them. How did you go?
– My current husband was the bodyguard. We fell in love with one another, but we were forbidden to have a relationship. We started slowly to understand where we are. We believed that we were fighting against dictatorship and human rights in Iran. I worked in the office. I contacted the media, with the politicians, we called in all those talks on the UN declaration on human rights … This document, otherwise, has 16 members. When I, as we say, “lighted the light bulb”, after many years I read the Declaration, all 16 members, and realized that none of the only ones has anything to do with my work, life, position at that time. I did not have a passport, I did not have my own money, I did not dare to marry. I was their slave. Gladiator. Then I decided to withdraw. I told my husband he would have to seek asylum in Britain. And we did it. We are back. We live in Leeds, north of England. But I knew well that, if we do not oppose them publicly as soon as we go, we will flee from them all our lives. That’s why I went straight to the police. I told them who we are, what we did – of course, they sent people … they were questioning us, they wanted to know who we were, where we were … But soon they left us alone. And we decided not to hide. We have published all of our information on the Internet so that anyone who wants to make us any problems or threatens us can easily find out where we are. In some cases, the fact that you are not hiding can save your head.
Then what happened?
– My husband and I quickly decided to start working with families of members who want to leave MEK. We made a foundation, I went to Iraq, we asked for donors … I spoke with the Maliki family. We had meetings with NGOs, with government officials in Britain … And we realized very early in this process that the problem will not be solved by politics or human rights, but that we have to work on the ground, practically – but for that there was no political will, No money. Or the mujahedin was too small an organization to try the state around them, or the authorities did not have a strong desire to “settle them”.
You did not think about quitting?
– Not. After a while we infiltrated them, we began to submerge them from within. We found a way to get into all the “pores” of that group. In the meantime, I have become a “engaged activist” in Britain, as it is now known – I started publicly speaking about my experiences. We have managed to get, up to now, over a thousand people from MEK. Among other things, I also deal with prevention – by preventing extremists from recruiting new members. Not only in terrorist organizations, but also in sects … The methodology is completely the same, and the process of radicalization, through which I myself went through, almost certainly does not differ. The biggest problem is that MEK, mujahedins still exist. They regrouped. Now they are a new, reformed extreme group that operates on several levels – and that’s why I came to Albania – because they were transferred here! They have already been paid by some deputies, they have joined the Albanian mafia, and now, here in this country, they want to go to their “offensive charm” – to try to gain new supporters. According to information I have, over US $ 20 million the Americans paid to the Albanian government to transfer this group of several thousand mujahedin from Iraq here.
What do you think is the intention of the US government and the Albanian authorities? What are the possible consequences?
– Unfortunately, these people can not just “descend” to Albania just like that. They simply have to be deradicalized, otherwise the damage will be immeasurable. The public only sees the so-called. the concrete result of terrorist attacks – explosions, casualties and material damage … But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Below is a lot of things. The main activities are recruiting and collecting money. In the recruitment process, the logic is – the more people, the better. It is very dangerous when you place one such group in any country, in any environment, because they soon begin to “naturally” radicalize their environment.
This program that you are applying in the process of derading … How does it work?
– You can not deradicalize someone if you do not know how it is radicalized. These people are literally “brainwashed”. The whole process begins with a deep understanding of their position. A functional primary or secondary family is one of the basic conditions for successful deradicization. We made a foundation and we managed to pull out about a thousand people from MEK so far. But the key was that these people had already intend to leave. They themselves wanted to leave the mujahedeen – without it, nothing would make sense. So – to get back to the thesis from the beginning of the conversation – “how you enter, such a way out” – I am in the depths of the soul and still the most active activist (laughter), only now with another goal. I’ll be, I hope, such for the rest of my life.
And what are the concrete results? Let’s say, in what number of cases does the process of deradicization work?
– Many people returned to normal life. The process of “removing” someone can be very short or very long, no rules. When people leave the extremist group, they should first understand what was happening to them. Some of them, but remain radicalized for years – remain what they were while they were with extremists. Certainly, specialist help is needed. If you leave the group because you have “turned on the light bulb”, if you “woke up”, as it happened to me and my husband, only in that case do not have much effort to make you understand what happened to you, that you lied and exploited. But almost always help is needed.
You mentioned “recruiting staff”. Tell us more about them. Who are these people?
– I think everything starts and ends with some kind of attraction. Examples are groups that fight for animal rights; first organize a public protest. Then someone suggests something radical, let’s say, let’s call them individually. You can easily “slip” it into an extreme version of belief. Extremes are attractive. Those people, those who do not think like you, actually need to – die. There, say, all those who torture animals … Let them die! Then the real plan is to put a bomb under the car? From the idea, through firm belief, to concrete action. Through this process, this “recruitment staff” is guided by you – but it is an emotional journey, you pass it together, and you’re getting closer. The real “recruitment officers” are people who absolutely believe in the idea of leadership, think that this idea should attract as many followers; they are convincing; they know how to instill people into something that they would not otherwise be at the edge of their minds. Let’s say – to travel to Syria or Iraq to join the jihadists. The key is intuition. Questions about you. The problems that you have – they signal what the target is, where the man is “thin”, where he can be “pressed” harder. They like to use what we call “car sales techniques” – the so-called “lifestyle sails”. “You have to think about this, imagine how cool it would be to drive this car!” But, with the car, there’s always the option to change your mind – but the belief system is sold so you do not even know that they sold you. I like to say that the extremist group as an arc – many layers, a very clear, closed structure, within which everything is under absolute control. And every bow is very different from the outside, as every extreme organization is very different, but from within, they all have, in essence, the same structure.
Britanka En Kodabande ekspert je za antiterorističke aktivnosti i dugogodišnja aktivistkinja u oblasti deradikalizacije ekstremista, godinama pre toga bila je pi-ar terorističkog pokreta, radila sa mudžahedinima i jedva se, kako kaže, izvukla iz njihovih kandži.
O tom delu života En Kodabande pisali smo juče, a danas ćemo dati onaj deo razgovora koji objašnjava njen život kao borca protiv džihada.
Kažete da ste proveli 20 godina sa njima. Kako ste otišli?
— Moj sadašnji muž je bio vođin telohranitelj. Zaljubili smo se jedno u drugo, ali bilo nam je zabranjeno da imamo vezu. Počeli smo polako da shvatamo gde smo. Verovali smo da se borimo protiv diktature i za ljudska prava u Iranu. Ja sam radila u kancelariji. Kontaktirala sam s medijima, s političarima, pozivali smo se u svim tim razgovorima na deklaraciju UN o ljudskim pravima… Taj dokument, inače, ima 16 članova. Kada mi se, kako mi to kažemo, „upalila sijalica“, posle mnogo godina pročitala sam Deklaraciju, svih 16 članova, i shvatila da nijedan jedini nema veze s mojim tadašnjim poslom, životom, položajem. Nisam imala pasoš, nisam imala sopstveni novac, nisam smela da se udam. Bila sam njihov rob. Gladijator. Tada sam odlučila da se povučem. Mužu sam rekla da će morati da traži azil u Britaniji. I uspelo nam je. Vratili smo se. Živimo u Lidsu, na severu Engleske. Ali sam dobro znala da, ako im se ne usprotivimo javno čim odemo, bežaćemo od njih čitavog života. Zato sam otišla pravo u policiju. Rekla sam im ko smo, šta smo radili — naravno, poslali su ljude… Ispitivali su nas, hteli su da znaju ko smo tačno, gde smo bili… Ali ubrzo su nas ostavili na miru. A mi smo rešili da nećemo da se krijemo. Objavili smo sve svoje podatke na internetu, tako da svako ko želi da nam pravi bilo kakve probleme ili da nam preti može lako da sazna gde smo. U nekim slučajevima, činjenica da se ne krijete može da vam spase glavu.
Šta se onda dogodilo?
— Muž i ja smo ubrzo odlučili da počnemo da radimo s porodicama članova koji žele da napuste MEK. Napravili smo fondaciju, ja sam otišla u Irak, tražili smo donatore… Razgovarala sam s porodicom Maliki. Imali smo sastanke i s nevladinim organizacijama, sa vladinim službenicima u Britaniji… I shvatili smo veoma rano u tom procesu da problem neće rešiti ni politika, ni ljudska prava, već da moramo da radimo terenski, praktično — ali za to nije bilo ni političke volje, ni novca. Ili su mudžahedini bili premala organizacija da bi se država oko njih potrudila na taj način, ili vlasti nisu imale dovoljno jaku želju da ih „srede“.
Niste razmišljali o tome da odustanete?
— Ne. Posle nekog vremena smo se infiltrirali među njih, počeli smo da ih potkopavamo iznutra. Našli smo način da se zavučemo u sve „pore“ te grupe. U međuvremenu, ja sam u Britaniji postala, kako se to danas kaže, „angažovana aktivistkinja“ — počela sam javno da govorim o svojim iskustvima. Uspeli smo da izvučemo, dosad, preko hiljadu ljudi iz MEK-a. Između ostalog, bavim se i preventivom — sprečavanjem ekstremista da regrutuju nove članove. Ne samo u terorističke organizacije, već i u sekte… Metodologija je potpuno ista, a proces radikalizacije, kroz koji sam i sama prošla, gotovo se ni po čemu ne razlikuje. Najveći problem je u tome što MEK, mudžahedini još uvek postoje. Pregrupisali su se. Sada su nova, reformisana ekstremna grupa, koja operiše na nekoliko nivoa — i zato sam i došla u Albaniju — zato što su ovde prebačeni! Već su potplatili neke poslanike, povezali su se s albanskom mafijom i sada i ovde, u ovoj zemlji, žele da krenu u svoju „ofanzivu šarmom“ — da pokušaju da pridobiju nove pristalice. Prema informacijama koje imam, preko 20 miliona dolara su Amerikanci platili albanskoj vladi da bi se ta grupa od nekoliko hiljada mudžahedina iz Iraka prebacila ovamo.
Šta mislite da je namera Vlade SAD i albanskih vlasti? Koje su moguće posledice?
— Nažalost, ti ljudi ne mogu samo da se „spuste“ u Albaniju tek tako. Oni prosto moraju da se deradikalizuju, inače će šteta biti nemerljiva. Javnost vidi samo tzv. konkretan rezultat terorističkih napada — eksplozije, žrtve i materijalnu štetu… Ali to je samo vrh ledenog brega. Ispod se krije mnogo toga. Glavne aktivnosti su regrutacija i prikupljanje novca. U procesu regrutacije, logika je — što više ljudi, to bolje. Veoma je opasno kada jednu takvu grupu smestite u bilo koju zemlju, u bilo koje okruženje, jer oni ubrzo počinju da „prirodno“ radikalizuju svoju okolinu.
Taj program koji sada primenjujete u procesu deradikalizacije… Kako on funkcioniše?
— Ne možeš da deradikalizuješ nekoga ako ne znaš na koji način je radikalizovan. Tim ljudima je bukvalno „ispran mozak“. Ceo proces počinje dubokim razumevanjem njihove pozicije. Funkcionalna primarna ili sekundarna porodica je jedan od osnovnih uslova za uspešnu deradikalizaciju. Napravili smo fondaciju i uspeli smo, dosad, da izvučemo oko hiljadu ljudi iz MEK-a. Ali ključno je bilo to da su ti ljudi već imali nameru da odu. Oni su sami želeli da napuste mudžahedine — bez toga, ništa ne bi imalo smisla. Tako da — da se vratim na tezu s početka razgovora — „kakav uđeš, takav izađeš“ — ja sam u dubini duše i dalje najpredaniji aktivista (smeh), samo sada s drugim ciljem. Biću, nadam se, takva do kraja života.
A kakvi su konkretni rezultati? Recimo, u kom broju slučajeva proces deradikalizacije uspeva?
— Mnogo ljudi se vratilo normalnom životu. Sam proces „skidanja“ nekoga može da bude veoma kratak ili veoma dug, nema pravila. Kada ljudi napuštaju ekstremističku grupu, treba da pre svega shvate šta im se dešavalo. Neki odu, ali ostanu radikalizovani godinama — ostanu ono što su bili dok su bili s ekstremistima. Svakako je neophodna specijalistička pomoć. Ako napuštaš grupu zato što ti se „upalila sijalica“, ako si se „probudio“, kao što se desilo meni i mom mužu, e samo u tom slučaju ne treba puno truda da sebe nateraš da shvatiš šta ti se dogodilo, da su te lagali i iskoristili. Ali skoro uvek je neophodna pomoć.
Kako je moguće da su te veze toliko jake? U čemu je tajna tolike „privlačnosti“ ekstremnih grupa?
— Mislim da svako može, u svakom dobu svog života, da bude radikalizovan. Svako želi da „pripada“ nečemu. Postoje tehnike manipulacije koje „rade“ na bukvalno svakome, bilo kog uzrasta. Uvek postoji neka tačka u vašem životu koja je krizna, tranziciona — problemi sa porodicom, razvod, odlazak na studije, bilo koji veći stres — to su trenuci u kojima je najlakše nekoga regrutovati. Mnogo su manje šanse da te regrutuju ako imaš dobar posao i zadovoljan si svojim životom; mnogo su lakše mete oni koji imaju neki ozbiljan problem, najpre porodični. Postoje takozvani „regrutni kadrovi“ — ljudi koji duboko veruju u ideologiju grupe. Oni su najopasniji. Oni pokreću sve procese — uvlačenje u društvo, zbližavanje, prenošenje ideološke poruke. Najlakše se, i to se zna, radikalizuju idealisti, ljudi koji žele da menjaju svet, da ga „sređuju“, da „postave stvari na svoje mesto“. Njihove porodice budu u šoku, jer niko ne odgaja dete učeći ga da treba da postane ubica. Ali radikalizacija je po definiciji proces koji traje i odvija se u vezi, u odnosu koji se strpljivo gradi. Treba znati da su ljudi uzrok, a ne tehnologija. Nije internet kriv. Internet je samo sredstvo koje ekstremisti koriste da privuku „žrtvu“.
Pomenuli ste „regrutne kadrove“. Recite nam nešto više o njima. Ko su ti ljudi?
— Mislim da sve počinje i završava se nekom vrstom privlačnosti. Primer su grupe koje se bore za prava životinja; prvo organizuju javni protest. Onda neko predloži nešto radikalno, recimo, hajde da ih prozivamo pojedinačno. Iz toga lako „skliznete“ u ekstremniju verziju verovanja. Ekstremi su privlačni. Ti ljudi, oni koji ne misle kao vi, zapravo treba da — umru. Eto, recimo, svi ti koji muče životinje… Neka umru! Onda se pravi plan — da im postavimo bombu ispod auta? Od ideje, preko čvrstog verovanja, do konkretne akcije. Kroz taj proces vodi vas taj vaš „regrutni kadar“ — ali to je jedno emotivno putovanje, prolazite ga zajedno i dodatno se zbližavate. Pravi „oficiri za regrutaciju“ su ljudi koji bespogovorno veruju u ideju vodilju, misle da ta ideja treba da privuče što više sledbenika; ubedljivi su; znaju kako da uvere ljude u nešto što im inače ne bi bilo ni na kraj pameti. Recimo — da otputuju u Siriju ili Irak, da se pridruže džihadistima. Ključna je intuicija. Pitanja o vama. Problemi koje imate — oni su signali šta je moguća meta, gde je čovek „tanak“, gde može malo da se jače „pritisne“. Najviše vole da koriste ono što zovemo „tehnikom prodaje automobila“ — takozvani „lajfstajl sejls“. „Moraš da se zamisliš u ovome, zamisli koliko bi bio kul da voziš baš ovaj auto!“. Doduše, kod automobila, uvek postoji opcija da se predomislite — ali sistem verovanja se prodaje tako da ti i ne znaš da su ti ga prodali. Ja volim da kažem da je ekstremistička grupa kao luk — mnogo slojeva, veoma jasna, zatvorena struktura, u okviru koje je sve pod apsolutnom kontrolom. A svaki luk je spolja veoma različit, kao što je i svaka ekstremna organizacija naoko različita, ali iznutra sve one imaju, u suštini, istu strukturu.
U Tirani, prestonici Albanije, krajem novembra održano je zanimljivo savetovanje pod nazivom „Konflikti na Bliskom istoku — radikalne grupe i ideologije“.
Konferenciju je organizovao Institut za slobodne medije iz Tirane, zato što se ta zemlja poslednjih meseci, pre svega u bezbednosnim krugovima, sve češće pominje kao novo ekstremističko žarište, „sabirni centar“ za ekstremiste koji se ili vraćaju, ili šalju na Balkan iz oružanih sukoba na Bliskom istoku.
Zna se da vlada Edija Rame već duže vreme — po svemu sudeći u direktnoj saradnji s američkim vojnim i bezbednosnim strukturama — radi na osnivanju specijalizovanih „centara za deradikalizaciju“ na teritoriji Albanije, o čemu je Sputnjik u poslednje tri godine u više navrata pisao.
Izgleda da se Ramin „trud“ isplatio — portal „Hafington post“, u članku objavljenom početkom decembra, navodi da se u toj zemlji već nalazi oko tri hiljade pripadnika MEK-a, iranskih mudžahedina iz Radžavi kulta, inače ljutih protivnika vlasti u Teheranu.
Oni su krajem 2016. godine prebačeni u Albaniju iz Iraka, uz novčanu „injekciju“ američkih vlasti Raminoj vladi i to — kako navodi „Hafington post“ — pod plaštom „humanitarne intervencije“, tj. uz superviziju UNHCR-a. Uplata je, piše američki portal, bila najmanje dvadeset miliona dolara.
Dobro obavešteni krugovi u Albaniji tvrde da već postoje i čvrste indicije da će narednu grupu koja će, takođe iz „humanitarnih razloga“ biti preseljena u tu zemlju, činiti članovi porodica — žene i deca — boraca DAEŠ-a koji su ili već napustili Irak i Siriju, ili su poginuli u borbama tokom poslednjih nekoliko godina.
Sagovornica Sputnjika, Britanka En Kodabande, ekspert je za antiterorističke aktivnosti i dugogodišnja aktivistkinja u oblasti deradikalizacije ekstremista. Napisala je više članaka i knjiga na ovu temu, zajedno sa suprugom, koji je iranskog porekla. Godinama oni rade i s radikalizovanim pojedincima, pomažući im da napuste terorističke organizacije i reintegrišu se u društvo.
Dobro je upoznata sa situacijom u Albaniji i kretanjem članova mudžahedinskog pokreta, a pre izvesnog vremena je, kako kaže, do nje došla informacija da su pripadnici MEK-a, stacionirani u bivšoj zgradi univerziteta u Tirani, počeli da aktivno regrutuju albansku omladinu u svoj pokret — i odlučila je da reaguje.
Za početak, možda ne bi bilo loše da pojasnite čitaocima Sputnjika iz kakvog životnog i porodičnog okruženja dolaze ti „radikalizovani pojedinci“ sa kojima radite.
— Dolaze iz svih slojeva društva. Pogrešna je pretpostavka da su u Siriju odlazili da ratuju samo neki primitivci — većina stranih boraca DAEŠ-a je iz srednje klase — uglavnom studenti, obrazovani ljudi… Terorizam je danas globalni fenomen — ne postoji osoba koju on ne može da pogodi. Ali u pitanju je čista politika. Odlazak u džihad je politički akt. Pritom, svako ima lični razlog zašto postaje ekstremista, nema formule, nema recepta… Inače, teško se radikalizuju ljudi koji imaju neki cilj u životu; beg u ekstrem najlakše se dešava slabim osobama, bez cilja, „sluđenim“, „izgubljenim slučajevima“… Svoje najkvalitetnije članove ekstremisti, kako kažu, regrutuju među nasilnim fudbalskim navijačima. Moj posao danas je da idem okolo i objašnjavam ljudima kako „radi“ radikalizacija. Stalno ponavljam — niko se ne rađa kao terorista. To nije talenat, nije karijera, nije svestan izbor. Mislim da sam ja, lično, sjajan primer da bilo ko, bilo kada, može da bude radikalizovan, ako se nađe u pogrešno vreme na pogrešnom mestu.
Možete li malo da pojasnite? Kako ste to „vi, lično“ primer?
— Kad sam upisala fakultet, krajem sedamdesetih, upoznala sam zanimljivu grupu ljudi na Univerzitetu u Mančesteru. Bilo je puno stranca među studentima, svi bismo sedeli u studentskom klubu i razgovarali, uglavnom o politici. Iranci su tada dolazili u velikom broju u Englesku. Bili su druželjubivi, drugačiji od mog okruženja, privukli su me… Održavali su povremeno sastanke, otišla sam na jedan od njih iz radoznalosti, sa svojim tadašnjim dečkom, i ispostavilo se da su to u stvari mudžahedini — MEK — ono što danas zovemo Radžavi kultom. Ja tada nisam mnogo toga razumela, ali se sećam da su se divno ponašali prema meni. Danas bih rekla da su tehnike koje su koristili da me privuku bile, u najmanju ruku, zanimljive (smeh). Nisam znala njihov jezik, ali sam osećala energiju. Bili su aktivni, nisu samo sedeli i pričali o politici, i to me je privuklo. Počela je revolucija u Iranu, a ja sam, zahvaljujući njima, imala „sedište u prvom redu“! Imala sam 19 godina, dečko je takođe bio u tome, bila sam veliki idealista. Nisam bila devojka koju je zanimao šoping. Htela sam da menjam svet! I to se nije promenilo, sve do danas. Radikalizacija utiče na psihu, ali ne utiče na tip ličnosti. Ako uđeš u neku organizaciju kao određena osoba, isti takav ćeš, u suštini, iz nje i da izađeš.
Čekajte, šokirali ste me tom pričom… I šta se dalje događalo? Koliko je sve to trajalo?
— Dvadeset godina. Prvih deset, do 1989. godine, praktično sam živela dvostruki život. Radila sam, imala sam posao, kuću, auto, svoj normalan svakodnevni „engleski“ život, ali sam sve slobodno vreme provodila radeći — za mudžahedine. Bavila sam se onim što danas nazivamo pi-ar aktivnostima, ali su svi prijatelji mislili da sa mnom nešto nije u redu. Nisam htela nikog da slušam. Mislila sam da sam pametnija od svih njih. To je deo taktike — mi smo najpametniji, imamo drugima nerazumljivu viziju, viši cilj. Odvajanje od porodice je ključno. Svaka radikalna grupa priređuje to svojim članovima. U jednom trenutku, moj tadašnji dečko je postao nasilan, odnos nam se promenio, i ja sam se okrenula njima. Postali su, praktično, moja jedina porodica. Bila sam kompjuterski programer sa sjajnom platom, ali sve sam to ostavila zbog njih. Prvo sam bila u kancelariji u Londonu — gledala sam vesti, pisala saopštenja… A onda sam otišla na Bliski istok. Zamislite!? Engleskinja od dvadesetak godina, iz srednje klase. Ko bi rekao?
Neverovatno. Kako vam se to desilo? I kako je moguće da niste imali problema sa britanskim vlastima? Ipak je bila u pitanju ekstremna grupa…
— Pa, pre svega, ja nisam birala u koga ću da se zaljubim (smeh), prosto se sve tako desilo… Otpočetka mi je bilo jasno da je njihova ideologija nalik „islamskom marksizmu“. Počeli su s aktivnostima u vreme Iranske revolucije, borili se protiv šaha, posle revolucije su hteli da izvedu državni udar; taj plan im je propao, i proterani su. Predstavljali su nam se kao borci za demokratiju, čak kao napredni, feministi — ali u suštini, jedini „posao“ nas običnih članova je bio da poštujemo vođu. Nije trebalo da mislimo, da postavljamo pitanja — samo radiš šta ti kažu. To teško može da razume neko ko to nije iskusio. Pitali ste me za probleme s britanskim vlastima? Pa, MEK je uvek imao podršku zapadnih vlada jer smo radili protiv Irana. Zato su nas i ostavljali na miru. Znala sam da su nasilni, ali me ni to nije sprečilo — iako sam po prirodi pacifista, vrlo sam mirna, ne volim nasilje… To samo pokazuje na koji način mogu da vas „pridobiju“ da više ne razmišljate svojom glavom. Danas bih, naravno, za njih rekla da su kriminalna organizacija. Samo jedna jedina vlada ikada ih je zvanično priznala — bila je to vlada Sadama Huseina. Svi drugi su im pomagali „na crno“ — politički, finansijski, da, ali nikada zvanično. Ako biste pitali britansko Ministarstvo spoljnih poslova, ili nemačke ili francuske službe, svi bi se samo pravili ludi — rekli bi da ne znaju o čemu pričate.
Fact-Finding Mission to Rescue Separated MEK Unearths Profound Security Issues
Iran Interlink, December 07 2017:… Anne Khodabandeh of Iran-Interlink visited Albania twice for a fact-finding mission in November and December. The fact-finding mission was to investigate the situation of separated members of the MEK and to see what needed to be done to help them and others who will be separating in future. Anne was also invited to speak in a workshop about her work as an expert in prevention … Under President Macron, France can play a pivotal role in Western relations with Iran
Fact-Finding Mission to Rescue Separated MEK Unearths Profound Security Issues
Anne Khodabandeh of Iran-Interlink visited Albania twice for a fact-finding mission in November and December. The fact-finding mission was to investigate the situation of separated members of the MEK and to see what needed to be done to help them and others who will be separating in future. Anne was also invited to speak in a workshop about her work as an expert in prevention and de-radicalisation of violent extremism and terrorism. Khodabandeh works as ‘Open Minds’under the UK government’s Prevent Duty programme.
During her humanitarian mission during which she spoke to many separated members about their experiences and difficulties, Khodabandeh also discovered a great deal of disconcerting information in regard to the MEK’s activities in Albania. Some of this information has already been made public through various written pieces and media interviews and television reportsfrom Tirana. This concerns the MEK actively recruiting Albanian youth [also], links with theAlbanian mafia and plans to move the members to an isolated camp.
However, Anne Khodabandeh went on to brief British and American security services about the various security issues which have arisen as a direct result of the MEK’s presence in Albania.
On Tuesday, following a meeting on Monday between the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the EU Parliament on Monday and Ditmir Bushati, Albania’s foreign affairs minister, Khodabandeh was able to brief officials in European Parliament buildings who have direct concern for Albanian affairs. They acknowledged that this information would be helpful in appraising Albania’s efforts to join the European Union.
Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton) briefed officials in European Parliament buildings
Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton) exposing Maryam Rajavi’s MEK activities in Albania
National Geographic, March 04 2017:… Leading MEK members squirm under the knowing gaze of Michael Ware. Watch the shifty looks and glances as the MEK representatives try to lie about their true intentions. They admit to wanting regime change, but claim to be pacifists. Ware asks ‘Why does a political organization still need to have a para-military organization?’ He then cleverly gets them to …
Associated Press, February 16 2017:… The group at one point successfully infiltrated the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, according to a State Department report. And a series of bombings attributed to the MEK accompanied visits by presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter to Iran, including one to target an American cultural center. In 1973, MEK assailants wearing motorcycle helmets shot dead U.S. Army Lt. …
Iran Interlink, February 15 2017:… The following OpEd by MEK advocate Col. Wes Martin was published first in The Hill, followed by Mojahedin Khalq’s “Iran Probe” and the “NCRI” websites. Iran Interlink has published it here as indication of how hysteria has become the new normal in American published writing. A form of madness appears to have infected US politics and now all and sundry are dancing …
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, February 07 2017:… He also signals that his war is not with ISIS but with the country Iran. Donald Trump rose to victory in part on the promise to take on ISIS and defeat the group. Yet ISIS cannot be defeated except by a coalition of forces that includes Iran. The facts on the ground in Syria and Iraq demonstrate unequivocally that ISIS forces in Aleppo and Mosul have been defeated largely due to the involvement
Gazeta Impakt, Albania, Translated by Iran Interlink, January 01 2017:… According to Fatos Klosi, former director of the National Intelligence Service, the American CIA chief has warned Albania that Donald Trump will renounce support for the MEK terrorists and it will be the Albanian Government itself which must deal with internal security and must confront a group trained militarily from the time of Saddam Hussein …
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, December 24 2016:… That can only happen if journalists and investigatory bodies (human rights, nuclear experts, war crimes, etc) are able to base their work on facts and not the fake and fictionalised fantasies of stooges like the MEK, which are clearly designed to misinform on these issues. The information laundry cycle is not difficult to follow – the Washington Times takes its report …
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, November 12 2016:… In particular, Rudi Giuliani, John Bolton and Newt Gingrich. Putting aside their weak personalities as well as their individual neoconservative agendas, the common thread which links these names together is their decade long support for the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist organisation (also known as Saddam’s Private Army or Rajavi cult). It is certain that …
Iran Interlink, October 30 2016:… Local observers in Tirana are reporting that the Mojahedin Khalq cultic terror group (MEK) is buying and creating several sandwich and kebab shops in the city and is using the MEK members to work in these fast-food businesses. On the surface this may look like a positive move. In an article titled ‘Albania: What would a de-radicalization program for the Mojahedin Khalq involve’, it was …
Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh, Iran Interlink, October 16 2016:… In spite of American promises, no de-radicalisation programme is in place to deal with over 2500 members of the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist group who have relocated to Tirana from Iraq. The MEK has a long history of violent and criminal activity. This has not stopped now they are in Tirana. Unless the Albanian government introduces its own programme, it must accept …
Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington post (and Top Topic), October 09 2016:… For the local citizens, mystery surrounds their arrival and their lifestyle. Should these secretive and covert neighbours be treated with suspicion or kindness? At a local level, the first thing neighbouring families need to be aware of is that among all MEK members, sexual relations have been banned for over 25 years. This means there are no marriages or children or young people in the organisation. More troubling …
Massoud & Anne Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, July 14 2016:… Whether Rajavi is already dead or now killable is not known – only he can answer this – but he and his whole organisation are certainly now, body and soul, in the capable hands of the Saudi Prince. If he is still alive, Rajavi’s only role is to act as go-between to instruct his wife what she must do on behalf of the Saudis. If he is dead
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, July 08 2016:… Clearly this message is not aimed at Iranians. The clamour for regime change in Iran does not emanate from inside the country in spite of its many social, civic and political problems. Who then is Maryam Rajavi’s constituency? Fro