A Step Further Than Saddam Hussein!

A Step Further Than Saddam Hussein!

A Step Further Than Saddam Hussein!Atefeh Nadalian, Nejat Society, July 13 2020:… Saddam Hussein’s regime was widely regarded as the sole state supporter of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK, MKO, Rajavi Cult). Massoud Rajavi went to Iraq in June 1986 after meeting with then Iraqi Foreign Minister and Vice President Tariq Aziz, and moved his forces there, forming the National Liberation Army as a ‘private army’ in Saddam Hussein’s military and security system. At that time Iraq became the main stronghold of the MEK, and Saddam Hussein became the only state supporter of Massoud Rajavi and his armed forces. A Step Further Than Saddam Hussein!

A Step Further Than Saddam Hussein!MEK Terrorists in Albania Complicating Edi Rama’s EU Accession Talks

A Step Further Than Saddam Hussein!

Translated by Iran Interlink

Link to the original article (Persian)

Atefeh Nadalian

Atefeh Nadalian

Saddam Hussein’s regime was widely regarded as the sole state supporter of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK, MKO, Rajavi Cult). Massoud Rajavi went to Iraq in June 1986 after meeting with then Iraqi Foreign Minister and Vice President Tariq Aziz, and moved his forces there, forming the National Liberation Army as a ‘private army’ in Saddam Hussein’s military and security system.

At that time Iraq became the main stronghold of the MEK, and Saddam Hussein became the only state supporter of Massoud Rajavi and his armed forces. Rajavi was actively involved in the Iran-Iraq war, though on the side of the aggressor enemy and against the border guards and defenders of the homeland, and because of this great national betrayal, he became extremely hated by the Iranian people. He destroyed what was left of his popular base in exchange for Saddam Hussein’s substantial support for gaining power in Iran.

This situation continued until the coalition forces invaded Iraq in 2003 and Saddam Hussein was toppled. During this period Massoud Rajavi and his forces continued their terrorist activities inside Iran with the full support of the Ba’athist regime in Iraq. The fall of the dictator in Baghdad brought about dramatic changes for the MEK. Massoud Rajavi’s time was over and he was forced into hiding. Maryam Rajavi went to Paris as the new figurehead of the cult, and the MEK forces in Iraq were disarmed and corralled into a single US guarded camp.

MEK Families Petition Addressing Albanian PM , A Unique Opportunity To Take Control

The MEK leaders had enjoyed extremely good conditions in Iraq under Saddam Hussein and were able to gather their forces in isolated and remote camps where they could cut off members’ contact with the outside world, especially with their families and friends.

After the fall of Saddam Hussein, each successive sovereign government of Iraq, one after another, called for the expulsion of the MEK as a threat to national security. Rajavi did his best to stay in Iraq and not lose Ashraf garrison and the border with Iran; he hoped that a spark would re-ignite the war between the two countries. He even opened an account for the US invasion of Iran and planned the conditions for entering the country. Finally, after many hardships, the rest of the MEK left Iraq in late summer 2016 and arrived in Albania under an unconventional agreement. Albania was the only country ready to accept them. Members of the organization were admitted collectively without proper asylum status or travel documents in violation of UN rules.

Unlike in Iraq, the MEK in Albania did not have an isolated and remote camp to gather in. This was not sustainable for the organization as it experienced a daily decline with tens of members deserting the group. The original plan was for Albania to be the mediator country and from there the process of deradicalization, rehabilitation and distribution of the MEK combatants into various European and American countries would begin. Accordingly, a number of them were accepted by the United States. But with the emergence of the Trump administration and the rise to power of warmongers such as John Bolton, this trend changed and the MEK were moved to a US-provided camp, where the leaders were able again to impose coercive methods of control in the same way as Camp Ashraf in Iraq. Interestingly, this new camp was given the name Ashraf 3 – an acknowledged continuation of Ashraf’s infamous and notorious garrison in Iraq.

In Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Rajavi and his cult had restrictions imposed on them because of national security issues. They were not allowed to leave their camps. Their movement outside the camp for essential matters such as visiting doctors or attending hospital was possible only with the escort of Estekhbarat (the Intelligence Protection Organization of the military and law enforcement forces) agents. They did not have the right to communicate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Members of Parliament, Ministers, government officials, businessmen, police officers, municipal authorities, and so on. They were limited to communicating with the Ministry of Defense and the Army. They were not even allowed to communicate with the Mokhaberat (Intelligence and Security Organization). They were not allowed to refer to the Iraqi media and citizens. Even to buy their necessities, they had to act through army intelligence officers who were permanently stationed in the MEK garrisons. They had no right to engage in any economic, social, political, or propaganda activities inside Iraq, and were entirely under the control of Iraqi military intelligence. The routine meetings of Massoud Rajavi and other leaders of the organization took place only with officials of this body and they resolved all their issues through it. Even to leave the country or enter Iraq, they had to go through this channel and not through the normal and official channels of the country. Immediately after accepting the ceasefire between Iran and Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Iranians could easily obtain visas and visit Iraq. Instead of restricting all Iranian citizens, the government restricted the MEK.

 Mojahedin-e Khalq MEK Defectors Talk About The Inside Of Rajavi Cult

But the MEK face no such restrictions in Albania. The open hand that Edi Rama – at what cost and for whose interests it is not clear – has given to the MEK in his country has allowed the MEK to extend its malign influence into every aspect of the country’s governance, while ordinary Iranians are banned from visiting the country. The MEK are free to protest against an article in the Gazeta Impakt that they did not like, and write an open letter, shamelessly calling for legal action against it, and Albanian citizens such as civil rights activist Olsi Jazexhi, lawyer Migena Balla, and journalist Gjergji Thanasi, have been threatened and slandered for displeasing the MEK. Was Rajavi allowed to act in this manner against Saddam Hussein?

It is worth noting then that Albania’s Prime Minister, Edi Rama, has taken a step further than Saddam Hussein to support the Rajavi Cult, to the point where he has endangered the national security of his country and even Europe. If Edi Rama has real authority to govern his country and does not – as it appears he does – have to obey the demands of foreigners, he needs to think a little harder about his country’s national interests and think about why Saddam Hussein had limited the MEK in Iraq so much and why subsequent Iraqi governments after Saddam Hussein insisted on expelling the MEK from Iraq? The answer to this question would certainly serve to enlighten Albanian public opinion and clarify the nature of their current government.

Atefeh Nadalian

Maryam Rajavi In Albania – Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – Jun 26, 2020

A Step Further Than Saddam Hussein!

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https://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/rajavi-cult-reveals-own-nature-in-an-open-letter/

Rajavi Cult Reveals Own Nature In An Open Letter

Rajavi Cult Reveals Own Nature In An Open LetterAtefeh Nadalian, Nejat Society, July 02 2020:… The websites affiliated to the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK, MKO, or Rajavi cult) have published an article titled ‘An open letter from a number of members of the MEK in Ashraf 3 in Manza to the Albanian officials’ on June 24, 2020, signed by a number of cult members. The focus of the cult members’ attack is “an Albanian-language website called Gazeta Impakt”. The crime committed by this site apparently is that it reflects the desires of the suffering families of the members of the Rajavi cult to communicate with their loved ones trapped in the MEK camp in Albania. Rajavi Cult Reveals Own Nature In An Open Letter 

We Welcome MEK Proposal . Nejat NGO says on behalf of Families We Welcome MEK Proposal . Nejat NGO says on behalf of Families

Rajavi Cult Reveals Own Nature In An Open Letter

Translated by Iran Interlink 

Rajavi cult (MEK, MKO) reveals its own nature in an open letter

Review of the open letter of some members of the MEK to Albanian officials

The websites affiliated to the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK, MKO, or Rajavi cult) have published an article titled ‘An open letter from a number of members of the MEK in Ashraf 3 in Manza to the Albanian officials’ on June 24, 2020, signed by a number of cult members.

Reviewing this open letter reveals some facts about the reactionary nature of the leaders of the Rajavi cult. In the letter, along with dealing with various irrelevant topics, the main problem of the cult is mentioned.

The focus of the cult members’ attack is “an Albanian-language website called Gazeta Impakt”. The crime committed by this site apparently is that it reflects the desires of the suffering families of the members of the Rajavi cult to communicate with their loved ones trapped in the MEK camp in Albania.

Rajavi Cult Reveals Own Nature In An Open Letter

Seemingly, this very big crime is enough to threaten the cultic attitude and authoritarian system of the Rajavi cult so that it considers Gazeta Impakt’s coverage as a big security conspiracy against the residents of the isolated and remote camp of the MEK in Albania, and therefore asks the Albanian judiciary to prosecute and suppress this site and its management. The site has been measured by the cult as endangering the security of the MEK.

Atefeh Nadalian

Atefeh Nadalian

The letter addressed to Albanian officials, in an authoritative tone, complains against civil activist Olsi Jazexhi, lawyer Migena Balla, and journalist Gjergji Thanasi about why these people in Albania have freedom of expression, and why they are not like some corrupt officials serving the Mafia and the MEK, or rather the US Embassy in Tirana.

According to the cult, these people have other crimes as well. They have also sympathized with the former MEK members in Albania, who the MEK and the Albanian government are trying to pressurize. And they have expressed their sympathies for the family of Somayeh Mohammadi and other families who have arrived in Albania.

This letter clearly reveals the nature and image of the MEK. Suppose that Massoud and Maryam Rajavi get to rule in Iran and a person or a site states something that they do not like, then what happens? The person will definitely be called a terrorist and their action judged as a conspiracy against security, and then the person will be prosecuted and condemned.

When elderly mothers, fathers, and spouses who simply want to communicate with their loved ones in the Rajavi cult’s camp in Albania are called terrorists, who can be considered not a terrorist by the leaders of the cult?

When the actions of three ordinary Albanian citizens, expressing compassion and reflecting the wishes of the suffering families and former members are called terrorism, what sort of action would not be considered terrorism?

And when the MEK shows so much weakness and resentment against the rightful demands of the families and does not tolerate it and reacts hysterically, what kind of people’s demands of human rights and justice will it recognize and accept?

Fortunately, the leaders of the Rajavi cult are increasingly revealing their cultic and dictatorial nature.

Atefeh Nadalian 

Link to the original article (Persian)

Rajavi Cult Reveals Own Nature In An Open Letter

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https://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/mek-base-in-albania-they-gave-us-a-tour/

MEK Base In Albania – They Gave Us a Tour

MEK Base In Albania - They Gave Us a TourPatrick Kingsley, The New York Times, February 16 2020:… I wasn’t shown the computer suites, which defectors had portrayed as a kind of troll farm: junior members using multiple accounts on Facebook and Twitter, typing messages that criticize the Iranian government, lionize the M.E.K. leadership and promote its paid lobbyists. When Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Bolton made public speeches in recent years, members were ordered “to take a particular line and tweet it 10 times from different accounts,” said Mr. Mohammadian, the former member. I was taken to an empty gym, and then to a small cafeteria. It was already close to midnight, but a small group of women had been told to wait up for me. MEK Base In Albania – They Gave Us a Tour 

MEK Base In Albania - They Gave Us a TourNobody Can Be “Comfortable” With Regime Change Involving MEK

MEK Base In Albania – They Gave Us a Tour

Highly Secretive Iranian Rebels Are Holed Up in Albania.  They Gave Us a Tour.

Depending on whom you ask, the People’s Jihadists are Iran’s government-in-waiting or a duplicitous terrorist cult that forbids sexual thoughts. What are they doing in Albania?

MEK Base In Albania 1The entrance to the camp housing members of the Mujahedeen Khalq, or People’s Jihadists, near Manez, Albania.Credit…Tara Todras-Whitehill for The New York Times

MANEZ, Albania — In a valley in the Albanian countryside, a group of celibate Iranian dissidents have built a vast and tightly guarded barracks that few outsiders have ever entered.

Depending on whom you ask, the group, the Mujahedeen Khalq, or People’s Jihadists, are either Iran’s replacement government-in-waiting or a duplicitous terrorist cult. Journalists are rarely allowed inside the camp to judge for themselves, and are sometimes rebuffed by force.

But after President Trump’s decision to assassinate Qassim Suleimani, a powerful Iranian general, it seemed worth trying again. Would a group that claims to want a democratic, secular Iran allow a reporter inside their camp?

The group’s loudest allies include Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, and John R. Bolton, his former National Security Adviser. Both have received tens of thousands of dollars for speaking at the group’s conferences, where these influential Americans describe the People’s Jihadists as Iran’s most legitimate opposition.

Initially, the group ignored several requests for access. So less in hope than desperation, I drove to its base and presented my credentials to a guard.

Three hours later, shortly before sunset, I got a call. To my surprise, I was being allowed inside. So began a series of interviews, propaganda sessions and tours that lasted until 1:30 a.m. A New York Times photographer was admitted several days later.

The group perhaps hoped to correct the impression left by previous journalistic encounters. A visit in 2003 by a Times reporter to the group’s former base in Iraq ended badly after her subjects spoke from a rehearsed script, and she was barred from talking to people in private.

MEK Base In Albania 2Credit…Tara Todras-Whitehill for The New York Times

This time around, most residents were off limits, but officials did allow private interviews with several members.

At my request, these included Somayeh Mohammadi, 39, whose family has argued for nearly two decades that she is being held against her will.

“This is my choice,” said Ms. Mohammedi, after her commanders left the room. “If I want to leave, I can leave.”

While the group may not have tried to hide Ms. Mohammedi, there were several odd and telling moments when secrets were tightly held.

In particular, senior officials stumbled when asked about the whereabouts of the group’s nominal leader, Massoud Rajavi, who vanished in 2003.

“Where is he?” said Ali Safavi, the group’s main representative in Washington. “Well, we can’t talk about that, that’s … ”

He trailed off, staring at his feet.

Is he still alive? Is he in Albania?

“We can’t talk about it,” Mr. Safavi replied, after several seconds of silence.

MEK Base In Albania 3Credit…Adrian Dennis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Founded in 1965 to oppose the Shah of Iran, the group later rejected the theocracy that replaced him.

Immediately following the revolution, the group attracted significant public support and emerged as a leading source of opposition to the new theocratic regime, according to Professor Ervand Abrahamian, a historian of the group.

The group claims it still attracts significant support, but Mr. Abrahamian said its popularity plummeted after becoming more violent in the early 1980s.

“When you talk to people who lived through the revolution, and you mention the name ‘Mujahedeen’, they shudder,” said Mr. Abrahamian.

By the 1980s, the group’s ideology had begun to center on Mr. Rajavi and his wife, Maryam.

To prove their devotion to the Rajavis, members were told to divorce their spouses and renounce romance.

At the time, the group was based in Iraq, under the protection of Saddam Hussein.

Its destiny changed after the American-led invasion of Iraq. After an initial standoff, the group, also known as the M.E.K., gave up its weapons. Despite having been listed by America as a terrorist organization in 1997, it was placed under American protection.

But in 2009, American troops ceded responsibility for the M.E.K. to the Iraqi government. Led by politicians sympathetic to Iran, the Iraqi authorities tacitly allowed Iran-allied militias to attack the group.

American and United Nations diplomats began searching for a safer country to house the group. After intensive lobbying by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, the American government also removed them from a list of terrorist organizations in 2012.

A year later, they were finally welcomed by Albania. The Albanian government hoped its hospitality would curry favor with Washington, according to the foreign minister between 2013 and 2019, Ditmir Bushati.

MEK Base In Albania 4Credit…Tara Todras-Whitehill for The New York Times

The group purchased several fields in a valley 15 miles west of Tirana, the capital, and built a camp there.

When I visited, the base seemed oddly empty. The group claims it houses about 2,500 members. But across the two days, we saw no more than 200.

The others seemed to have been sequestered away — or to have left the group altogether.

Dozens of former members now live independently in Albania. I met 10 of them, who each described being brainwashed into a life of celibacy.

Inside the group, they said romantic relationships and sexual thoughts were banned, contact with family highly restricted, and friendships discouraged.

All recounted being forced to participate in self-criticism rituals, whereby members would confess to their commanders any sexual or disloyal thoughts they had.

MEK Base In Albania 5Credit…Tara Todras-Whitehill for The New York Times

“Little by little, you are broken,” said Abdulrahman Mohammadian, 60, who joined the group in 1988 and left in 2016. “You forget yourself and you change your personality. You only obey rules. You are not yourself. You are just a machine.”

The group strongly denied the accusations and portrays many of its critics, including Mr. Mohammadian, as Iranian spies.

I was taken on a three-hour tour of a museum about the M.E.K.’s history, where the exhibits did not mention Saddam Hussein or forced celibacy. Instead, they focused on the group’s persecution.

Some rooms had been turned into replica torture chambers, to explain how Iranian jailers punished and interrogated supporters during the 1980s.

In each room, members waited in silence for me. These turned out to be survivors of the torture — ready to personally explain each method of repression.

MEK Base In Albania 6Credit…Tara Todras-Whitehill for The New York Times

One survivor, Raheem Moussavi, stood beside a bloodied mannequin and slowly detailed the four different techniques the Iranian torturers used to beat him. The process culminated in being whipped by a metallic cat-o’-nine tails.

Searching for influence, the group has turned increasingly to the internet.

I was shown a recording studio, where two musicians compose anti-regime songs and music videos for release on Iranian social media.

MEK Base In Albania 7Credit…Tara Todras-Whitehill for The New York Times

I wasn’t shown the computer suites, which defectors had portrayed as a kind of troll farm: junior members using multiple accounts on Facebook and Twitter, typing messages that criticize the Iranian government, lionize the M.E.K. leadership and promote its paid lobbyists.

When Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Bolton made public speeches in recent years, members were ordered “to take a particular line and tweet it 10 times from different accounts,” said Mr. Mohammadian, the former member.

I was taken to an empty gym, and then to a small cafeteria. It was already close to midnight, but a small group of women had been told to wait up for me.

MEK Base In Albania 8Credit…Tara Todras-Whitehill for The New York Times

They scoffed at the idea of the troll farm. As for the limits on their private lives, they said such discipline was necessary when battling as cruel an adversary as the government of Iran.

“You can’t have a personal life,” said Shiva Zahedi, “when you’re struggling for a cause.”

After I left, the group put me in touch with three former American military officers who had helped guard an M.E.K. camp in Iraq after the American invasion.

Each spoke glowingly about the M.E.K., and said its members had been free to leave since the American military began protecting it in 2003.

American officers had access to every area of the Iraqi base, and found no prison cells or torture facilities, said Brig. Gen. David Phillips, who commanded the military policemen guarding the camp in 2003 and 2004.

“I wanted to find weapons, I wanted to find people tied to beds,” General Phillips said. “We never found it.”

But other records and witnesses gave a more complex account.

Capt. Matthew Woodside, a former naval reservist who oversaw American policy at the Iraqi camp between 2004 and 2005, was not one of those whom the M.E.K. suggested I contact.

He said that in reality American troops did not have regular access to camp buildings or to group members whose relatives said they were held by force.

MEK Base In Albania 9Credit…Tara Todras-Whitehill for The New York Times

The M.E.K. leadership tended to let members meet American officials and relatives only after a delay of several days, Captain Woodside said.

“They fight for every single one of them,” he said.

It became so hard for some members, particularly women, to flee that two of them ended up trying to escape in a delivery truck, he recalled.

“I find that organization absolutely repulsive,” Captain Woodside said. “I am astounded that they’re in Albania.”

Besar Likmeta contributed reporting.

End

MEK Base In Albania – They Gave Us a Tour

Link to the source

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