Iran Interlink reporting from Gazeta Impakt, Tirana Albania, July 15 2018:… In relation to MEK, Vata criticises statements by interim American ambassador in Albania, David Muniz. Muniz first says that Iran was in breach of the JCPOA, which it wasn’t. He then blames Iran for ‘exporting radicalism which scares Europe and the Balkans’. Vata explains that US foreign policy “forced” Albania to host 3000 Mojahedin Khalq terrorist …
Iran-Interlink – The following article is a critique by Samet Vata of a summer school organized by the Albanian Institute for International Studies (AIIS) as part of the NATO Summit in London. The article is Google translated into English.
In relation to MEK, Vata criticises statements by interim American ambassador in Albania, David Muniz. Muniz first says that Iran was in breach of the JCPOA, which it wasn’t. He then blames Iran for ‘exporting radicalism which scares Europe and the Balkans’. Vata explains that US foreign policy “forced” Albania to host 3000 Mojahedin Khalq terrorist extremists, thus imposing a direct security risk on Albania. Thus, Albania should accept that MEK is a problem for Albania’s relations with Iran because MEK threatens the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Based on an announcement by National Coordinator of the Office for Violent Extremism, Agron Sojati, Vata believes this risk would be extended by the arrival in Albania of 6,000 ISIS terrorists from Syria. Participants in the summer school were confused when Sojati said the numbers were exaggerated but that Albania ‘should be prepared to shelter terrorists who come from the war in Syria’. Vata questions how they will be dealt with, asking ‘will they be left alone and given a camp as we have done with MEK?’
The Albanian Institute for International Studies is unilateral in the issue of radicalism
from Gazeta Impakt – July 14, 2018
By: Samet Vata
Within the NATO Summit in London, a summer school was organized by the Albanian Institute for International Studies, AIIS, regarding the security environment in the Western Balkans, part of which I was also. The purpose of the school was to inform the strategy that the Atlantic Alliance (NATO) has in the Balkans region, especially Albania, and to build a tense reality of the “danger” of violent extremism.
So things are fine. But when you look at the articulations of the referral characters in this summer school, two ideas are built on the head. First, because of the internal problems the Atlantic Alliance does not have a unified policy for dealing with the Western Balkans. Second, these internal issues require to motivate them with extreme radicalism, which is attempting to undermine the order in the Balkans. This is like dictatorship, which sometimes failed in its ideology, blame for capitalism, but in this case the danger comes from the “dictators” and “imperialists” of the Near, Middle, and Far East. Briefly, Albania and NATO are facing three concrete dangers: Russian economic expansion, Turkish neo-Ottomanism, and “radicalism” in the breeding countries.
At the opening session of the school was the former Defense Minister, Mimi Kodheli, who in her opinion stated that Russia was a real danger for Albania, as her offensive geo-politics also enabled the election result to be changed in favor of the current president Trump. So, if the US that is superpower is vulnerable to Russia, this should make us more alert and cautious to the Albanians in the reports that we are building on the state level, but also in the ideological framework with such countries. Being vigilant and caring will serve to preserve the current stability in the Balkans, she said. Kodheli. We can do this by talking to one another, sharing our thoughts, treating these things together. So united to withstand the risk. She closed her conversation with an expression of John Lennon “Give Peace a Chance”. But I have the impression that such a risk is more cluttered than real and all this story is nothing more than an excuse to justify the sanctions against Russia. The head of Russian diplomacy Lavrov recently said that Russia is not an enemy, but a friend of Europe, and the latter must leave the spirit that has remained since the Cold War. It is true that peace should be given an opportunity, but objectively treated who is hindering this.
Of particular importance in the summer school was the speech of the interim American ambassador in Albania, David Muniz, who replaces the ambassador to fleeing LU until the appointment of the new ambassador. Muniz said Trump’s coming to power has caused little fear because of statements and controversial behavior that the latter had on his domestic and foreign policies. He said that despite these strong statements that Trump has given about withdrawing US from NATO, it is certain that the role of the United States in the alliance is definitely unchanged and there is no discussion of a second case in Brex. Alongside this, the ambassador said that two of the factors that, apart from Russia, are extending their influence on the Balkans, are Turkey and Iran. Turkey, Muniz said, is pursuing a controversial policy with regard to the Alliance and its heart seems to be no longer beheaded by NATO. It has never happened that a NATO member country has bought sophisticated weapons from a non-member country and this has caused a major debate within member states that Turkey does not have to sell more NATO armaments. The case is about buying the Russian S-400 anti-tank system. But I think the ambassador’s word is somewhere else. The US finds it hard to accept Turkey as a self-determining factor in domestic politics and the region as Turkey has been knocking on EU gates for a long time and has been inferior to US supremacy in the region. I say this because another member of the alliance, Greece, has its anti-missile S-300 system in its arsenal, which is an older version of these weapons that Turkey wants to buy. Western powers find it difficult to admit that Turkey, which has always been used as a flesh in the Middle East conflicts, is fleeing from your hands and pursuing a policy that is in line with its domestic interests in the first place, but on the other hand increases the influence and dominance of the Muslim factor in the region.
With regard to Iran, Mr. Muniz said that the withdrawal of the Trump administration from the nuclear pact with Iran was a move to a certain extent, though the deal was very good. That is because Iran has repeatedly violated certain points of the deal by expanding its nuclear activity and producing dangerous weapons for the stability of the region. He also said that Iran is a country that is exporting radicalism and this scares much Europe, but also the Balkans, which are below its range of action. For this reason, Albanian politics and citizens must also give up relations with such dangerous places.
The ambassador is right when he says Iran is exporting radicalism, but not by his will. The ambassador must know very well that his country’s foreign policy “forced” the Albanian state to import over 3000 Iranian mujahideen of the terrorist organization MEK. So, Albania is really endangered by Iranian radicalism, but this is not to blame for the policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Balkans, but as a consequence of the US mid-term interests and as a consequence of the government of Albania’s handling of security issues. Perhaps we should be given a fair share of our country’s interest in the Islamic Republic of Iran, because this Albanian-dominated military group (MEK) directly risks the security of their country.
Seminars were also discussed about the Syrian refugee crisis. National Coordinator of the Office for Violent Extremism Agron Sojati launched his announcement saying that “a rumor is circulating as if 600,000 terrorists are expected to come alive in Albania” and immediately after that made the interpretation of this rumor saying that the numbers are in fact little hyperbolized, though their number will be reduced. According to Agron Soyati, we should be prepared to shelter terrorists who come from the war in Syria in our country that may be the cause of destabilization in the country. But this sentence of Mr. Sojate in some ways confused the participants in the summer school. On one side, Albania seeks to fight the violent radicalism, but on the other hand do we radical shelter? How will Albania behave with the radicals of ISIS going to Albania? Will we leave it in the camp as if we have left the MEK radicals?
Another element I would like to mention from the summer school discussions is the conversation of the executive director of the Albanian Media Institute, Remzi Lani. Among other things Lani said Russia is one of the third factors that are seeking influence in the Balkans not for geo-strategic purposes, but with the sole purpose of alerting and breaking the tranquility of the EU and NATO, while China has only economic intent on its part. He said that the EU’s last EU summit noted a weak will for further enlargement of the Union and that the Berlin process is nearing the end. Regarding Turkey, Lani used tougher and extremist tones. He said Turkey is not a country from which we should take the example of democracy or state leadership, as democracy has died in Turkey. Erdogan with his policy carries a dangerous Islamic agenda that affects the security of our country. However, Turkish investment and their success in the economy should welcome and take the lead – he says. In short, Mr. Lani says that the bread we eat is turkey, and the duet we have. I do not know why Mr. Lani says Turkey has no democracy when in the last election the turnout was much higher than in many EU countries or even the US. In addition, it has not been seen in any dictatorial country to become a democratic election, and the opposition mayor accepts the defeat and welts the winner, as Muharrem Ince did a month ago. In addition, Mr. Lani should be well aware that in the Western ambience there is a great debate about liberal democracy as a model of governance, as it has shown a lack of stability and security of its citizens. This is also noted in the electoral elections of EU countries, which are seeing an increase in left and right extremist electorates. Hungary and Austria are increasingly applying strong politics, the first refusing refugees because they are Muslims, and the second is closing the mosque with the justification that they endanger stability in the country. On the other hand, Trump raises walls with neighboring countries and forbids the entry of citizens of some Muslim countries and this is not seen as a violation of democratic principles, but as security issues. Also, Mr. Lani must bear in mind that we Albanians are a Muslim majority, and the stability that Turkey has shown in its model of regulating religious life should be taken as an example of us, which was also highlighted by Ergys Muzhaqi- expert on security in the country. The Albanian government and civil society must understand that religion (in this case Islam) is auxiliary and contributory to the secularity of the country and to give up once and for all from an atheistic mindset that sees religion as a danger.
Lastly, I would like to conclude with a critique linked to an AIIS study on religious radicalism. In the study that was presented at the seminar, it was noted that although the topic was related to the problems brought by extremist and religiously rooted radicalism, the study represented only “Islamic radicalism” and methods to prevent or cure it. After a replica made with the preparers of the study where I suggested that here the risks of Catholic extremists or other missionaries of the other religions are of a higher degree, I realized that the studies made a portion of their information hold confidential and only specific sections of the studies are presented.
I have also felt this problem in seminars organized by other institutes who are willing to present the risk of “Islamic radicalism” at all costs and present it as a present fact among our society. Europeans should have a standard of extremism and radicalism if they want to establish stability. When speaking of anti-extremism measures, all kinds of extremism must be taken into account, starting with the mass-propagating Catholic in Europe and all other types. When Turkey as a NATO member states that terrorist organizations like FETO operate in Albania, or when our government hosts the MEK, this should be looked at with seriousness and work to resolve these issues, unlike the way in which the word of the Turkish state has fallen into the deaf ears, believe that we have double standards. When Catholic radicalism violates the public sphere, serious measures must be taken to cure this problem. If double policies are to continue, balances will break down in the region and credibility with the international factor will come down.
I think that this policy will have a boomerang effect, which instead of solving it will create unresolved problems in our public sphere. Building a tense environment that feeds fear, xenophobia, Islamophobia and religious radicalism makes society feel less secure and more in panic. Albania is a European country with Ottoman culture and heritage and this should be taken into account in order to maintain the balance and the current fragile peace.
Instituti Shqiptar për Studime Ndërkombëtare tregohet i njeanshem ne çeshtjen e radikalizmit
Gazeta Impakt –
July 14, 2018
Nga: Samet Vata
Në kuadër të samitit të NATO-s në Londër, në Tiranë u organizua edhe një shkollë verore nga Instituti Shqiptar për Studime Ndërkombëtare, AIIS, në lidhje me mjedisin e sigurisë në Ballkanin Perendimor, pjesë e së cilës isha edhe unë. Qëllimi i shkollës ishte informimi mbi strategjinë që Aleanca e Atlantikut (NATO) ka në rajonin e Ballkanit vecanërisht Shqipërinë si dhe ndërtimi i një realiteti të tendosur nga “rreziku” i ekstremizmit të dhunshëm.
Deri këtu gjerat janë në rregull. Mirëpo kur sheh artikulimet e personazheve referuese ne kete shkolle vere, të ndërtohen në kokë dy ide. E para se Aleanca e Atlantikut për shkak të problemeve të brendshme nuk ka një politikë të unifikuar për trajtimin e Ballkanit Perëndimor. Së dyti këto problematika të brendshme kërkojnë t`i motivojnë me një radikalizëm ekstrem i cili po bën tentativa të prishë rendin në Ballkan. Kjo i ngjan diktaturës e cila sa herë dështonte në ideologjinë e saj, fajin i`a mvishte kapitalizmit vecse në këtë rast rreziku vjen nga “diktatorët” dhe “imperialistët” e Lindjes së afërt, të mesme e të largët. Thënë shkurtimisht Shqipëria NATO-iste dhe rajoni po përballen me tre rreziqe konkrete: Ekspansioni ekonomik rus, neo-otomanizmi turk si dhe “radikalizmi” i vendeve të gjirit. Herë pas here në të njejtën linjë qëndron edhe Kina e cila vazhdimisht është në kërkim të deteve të reja për të shtrirë akoma edhe më shumë krahët e ekonomisë së saj.
Në sesionin hapës të shkollës referuese ishte ish-ministrja e mbrojtjes katolikja Mimi Kodheli e cila parashtroi në mendimin e saj idenë se Rusia është rrezik real për Shqipërinë pasiqë gjeo-politika e saj ofensive ka mundësuar edhe ndryshimin e rezultatit të zgjedhjeve në favor të presidentit aktual Trump. Kështu, nëse SHBA që është superfuqi është vulnerabël ndaj Rusisë, kjo duhet të na bëjë ne Shqiptarëve më vigjilent dhe më të kujdesshëm ndaj raporteve që ndërtojmë në rrafsh shtetëror, por edhe në kuadër ideologjik me vende të tilla. Të qenit vigjilent dhe të kujdessëshm do të shërbejë për ruajtjen e stabilitetit aktual në Ballkan thoshte znj. Kodheli. Këtë ne mund ta bëjmë duke biseduar me njëri-tjetrin, duke shkëmbyer mendimet, duke i trajtuar këto gjëra së bashku. Pra të bashkuar t`i bëjmë ballë rrezikut. Ajo e mbylli bisedën e saj me një shprehje të John Lennon “Give peace a chance” (Jepini paqes një mundësi). Mirëpo kam përshtypjen se një rrezik i tillë është më tepër i stisur sesa real dhe e gjithë kjo histori nuk është gjë tjetër vetëm se justifikim për të justifikuar saknsionet ndaj Rusisë. Kreu i diplomacisë ruse Lavrov tha para disa kohësh se Rusia në fakt nuk është armik, por mik i Evropës dhe kjo e fundit duhet t`i largohet frymës e cila ka mbetur prej Luftës së Ftohtë. Është e vërtëtë se paqes duhet t`i jepet një mundësi, por duhet trajtuar me objektivitet se kush po pengon këtë gjë.
Me rëndësi të vecantë ne shkollen e veres ishte edhe fjala e ambasadorit të përkohshëm amerikan ne Shqiperi, David Muniz, i cili zëvëndëson ambasadorin në ikje LU deri në momentin e emërimit të ambasadorit të ri. Muniz tha se ardhja në pushtet e presidentit Trump ka shkaktuar pak frikë për arsye të deklaratave dhe sjelljeve kontraverse që ky i fundit ka pasur në politikat e tij të brendshme dhe të jashtme. Ai tha se pavarësisht këtyre deklaratave të forta që ka dhënë Trump në lidhje me tërheqjen e SHBA nga NATO, është e sigurt se roli i SHBA në aleancë është definitivisht i pandryshueshëm dhe nuk diskutohet që të ketë një rast të dytë të Brexit. Krahas kësaj ambasadori tha se dy prej faktorëve të cilët përvec Rusisë po shtrijnë ndikimin e tyre në Ballkan janë Turqia dhe Irani. Turqia, tha Muniz, po ndjek një politikë kontraverse për sa i përket Aleancës dhe zemra e saj duket sikur nuk rreh më në drejtim të NATO-s. Nuk ka ndodhur ndonjëherë që një vend anëtar i NATO-s të blejë armë të sofistikuara nga një vend jo anëtar dhe kjo ka shkaktuar një debat të madh brenda shteteve anëtare se Turqisë nuk i duhet shitur më armatim i NATO-s. Cështja është për blerjen e sistemit antiraketor rus S-400. Mirëpo mendoj se fjala e ambasadorit rreh diku tjetër. SHBA e ka të vështirë ta pranojë Turqinë si faktor vet-vendosës në politikën e brendshme dhe në rajon pasi që për një kohë të gjatë Turqia ka trokitur në portat e BE dhe është sjellë me inferioritet ndaj supremacisë amerikane në rajon. E them këtë sepse një tjetër anëtar i aleancës, Greqia, e ka në arsenalin e saj sistemin antiraketor S-300 i cili është një version më i vjetër i këtyre armëve që Turqia kërkon të blejë. Fuqitë perëndimore e kanë të vështirë të pranojnë se Turqia e cila është përdorur gjithmonë si mish për top në konfliktet në Lindjen e Mesme po ju ikën nga duart dhe po ndjek një politikë e cila i shkon për shtat interesave të saj të brendshme në radhë të parë, por nga ana tjetër rrit ndikimin dhe dominimin e faktorit musliman në rajon.
Për sa i përket Iranit, Z. Muniz tha se tërheqja e administratës Trump nga pakti bërthamor me Iranin ishte lëvizje në njëfarë mase e nevojshme, megjithëse marrëveshja ka qenë shumë e mirë. Kjo për arsye se Irani vazhdimisht ka shkelur pika të caktuara të marrëveshjes duke e zgjeruar aktivitetin e tij bërthamor dhe duke prodhuar armë të rrezikshme për stabilitetin e rajonit. Ai gjithashtu tha se Irani është një vend i cili po eksporton radikalizëm dhe kjo e tremb shumë Evropën, por edhe Ballkanin të cilat janë nën rrezen e tij të veprimit. Për këtë arsye politika shqiptare por edhe qytetarët duhet të heqin dorë nga marrëdhëniet me vende të tilla të rrezikshme.
Ambasadori ka të drejtë kur thotë se Irani eksporton radikalizëm, por këtë jo me vullnetin e tij të lirë. Ambasadori duhet ta dijë mjaft mirë se politika e jashtme e vendit të tij “detyroi” shtetin shqiptar të importonte mbi 3000 muxhahedinë iranianë të organizatës terroriste MEK. Pra Shqipëria është vërtet e rrezikuar nga radikalizmi iranian, por kjo jo për faj të politikave të Republikës Islamike të Iranit në Ballkan, por si pasojë e interesave afatmesme të SHBA-ve dhe si pasojë e mefshtësisë së qeverisë Shqiptare në trajtimin e cështjeve të sigurisë. Mbase duhet t`i jepet të drejtë ndonjë interesi të kushtuar vendit tonë nga Republika Islamike e Iranit pasiqë ky grup ushtarak (MEK) i vendosur në Shqipëri rrezikon drejtpërdrejt sigurinë e vendit të tyre.
Në seminare u diskutua gjithashtu edhe për krizën e refugjatëve sirianë. Koordinatori kombëtar i zyrës për ekstremizmin e dhunshëm Agron Sojati e nisi kumtesën e tij duke thënë që “qarkullon një thashethem sikur në Shqipëri pritet të vijnë 600.000 terroristë” dhe menjëherë pas saj bëri interpretim të këtij thashethemi duke thënë se numrat në fakt janë pak të hiperbolizuar, sespse numri i tyre do të jetë më i reduktuar. Sipas fjalës së Agron Sojatit ne duhet të përgatitetemi që të strehojmë terroristë që vijnë nga lufta në Siri në vendin tonë të cilët mund të bëhen shkak për destabilizim në vend. Por kjo fjali e z. Sojati ne njefare menyre na konfuzoi ne pjesemarresit ne shkollen e veres. Ne nje ane Shqiperia kerkon te luftoje radikalizmin e dhunshem, por ne anen tjeter ne strehojme radikale? Si do sillet Shqiperia me radikalet e ISIS-it qe do vine ne Shqiperi? Do i leme ne kampe sikur kemi lene radikalet e MEK-ut?
Një tjetër element të cilin dëshiroj ta përmend nga diskutimet e shkollës verore është biseda e drejtorit ekzekutiv të Institutit Shqiptar të Medias , Remzi Lanit. Ndër të tjera z. Lani tha se Rusia është një prej faktorëve të tretë të cilët po synojnë ndikim në Ballkan jo për qëllime gjeo-strategjike, por me qëllimin e vetëm për të alarmuar dhe prishur qetësinë e BE dhe NATO, ndërsa Kina ka vetëm synime ekonomike nga ana e saj. Ai u shpreh se në Samitin e fundit të BE u vërejt një vullnet i dobët për zgjerimin e mëtejshëm të unionit dhe se procesi i Berlinit është afër fundit. Në lidhje me Turqinë z. Lani përdori tone më të ashpra dhe ekstremiste. Ai thoshte se Turqia nuk është një vend prej të cilit duhet të marrim shembull të demokracisë apo të mënyrës së drejtimit të shtetit pasi në Turqi demokracia ka vdekur. Erdogani me politikën e tij bart një axhendë të rrezikshme Islamike e cila cënon sigurinë e vendit tonë. Megjithatë investimet turke dhe suksesin e tyre në ekonomi duhet ta mirëpresim dhe të marrim shembull-shprehet ai. Me pak fjalë z. Lani thotë që bukën t`ia hamë turkut, kurse duanë kaurit. Nuk e di pse z. Lani thotë se Turqia nuk ka demokraci kur në zgjedhjet e fundit pjesmarrja në zgjedhje ishte shumë më e lartë sesa në shumë vende të BE apo edhe e SHBA. Krahas kësaj nuk është parë në ndonjë vend diktatorial që të bëhen zgjedhje demokratike dhe kryetari i opozitës të pranojë humbjen dhe të urojë fituesin, sic bëri Muharrem Ince para një muaji. Krahas kësaj Z. Lani duhet ta dijë mirë se në ambjektin perëndimor është një debat i madh që bëhet në lidhje me demokracinë liberale si model qeverisjeje, pasi që ka treguar mungesë të stabilitetit dhe sigurisë së qytetarëve të saj. Kjo vërehet edhe në zgjedhjet elektorale të vendeve të BE të cilat po shohin rritje të elektoratit të ekstremeve të majta dhe të djathta. Hungaria dhe Austria po aplikojnë gjithnjë e më shumë politikë të fortë, ku i pari refuzon refugjatët sepse janë muslimanë dhe i dyti mbyll xhamia me justifikimin se rrezikojnë stabilitetin në vend. Nga ana tjetër Trump ngre mure me vendet fqinje dhe ndalon hyrjen e qytetarëve të disa vendeve muslimane dhe kjo nuk shihet si cënim i parimeve demokratike, por si cështje sigurie. Gjithashtu Z. Lani duhet të ketë parasysh se ne shqiptarët jemi popullsi me shumicë muslimane dhe stabiliteti që Turqia ka treguar në modelin e saj të rregullimit të jetës fetare duhet të merret shembull edhe të ne, gjë kjo e cila u theksua edhe nga Ergys Muzhaqi- ekspert për sigurinë në vend. Qeveria shqiptare dhe shoqëria civile duhet ta kuptojnë që feja (në këtë rast Islami) janë ndihmëse dhe kontribuese në laicitetit e vendit dhe të hiqet dorë njëherë e mirë nga një mendësi ateiste e cila e sheh fenë si rrezik.
Së fundi dëshiroj ta mbyll me një kritikë të lidhur me një studim të bërë nga AIIS në lidhje me radikalizmin fetar. Në studimin që u paraqit në seminar u vërejt se pavarësisht se tema kishte të bënte me problemet që sjell ekstremizmi dhe radikalizmi me baza fetare, studimi paraqiste vetëm “radikalizmin islamik” dhe metodat për ta parandaluar ose kuruar atë. Pas një replike të bërë me përgatitësit e studimit ku ju bëra me dije se këtu te ne rreziqet nga ekstremistët katolikë apo të misionarëve të feve të tjera janë të një shkalle më të lartë, kuptova se studimet e bëra një pjesë të informacioneve të tyre i mbajnë konfidenciale dhe paraqiten vetëm pjesë të vecanta të studimeve.
Këtë problem e kam ndjerë edhe në seminare të organizuar nga institute të tjera të cilët dëshirojnë me cdo kusht të paraqesin rrezikun që vjen nga “radikalizmi islamik” dhe ta paraqesin si fakt prezent në mesin e shoqërisë sonë. Evropianët duhet të kenë një standard përsa i përket ekstremizmit dhe radikalizmit nëse duan të krijojnë stabilitet. Në kohën kur flitet për masat kundër ekstremizmit duhen pasur parasysh të gjithë llojet e ekstremizmit duke nisur nga ai katolik që po përhapet në masë në Evropë e deri te të gjitha llojet e tjera. Kur Turqia si anëtar kyc i NATO-s thotë që në Shqipëri operojnë organizata terroriste si FETO, apo kur qeveria jone strehon MEK-un, kjo duhet shikuar me seriozitet dhe duhet punuar për të zgjidhur këto cështje, ndryshe nga mënyra si është vepruar ku fjala e shtetit turk ka rënë në vesh të shurdhër kjo gje te beson se kemi me standarte dyfishe. Kur radikalizmi katolik cënon sferën publike, duhen marrë masa serioze për ta kuruar këtë problem. Nëse do të vazhdohet me politika të dyfishta balancat do të prishen këtu në rajon dhe besueshmëria ndaj faktorit ndërkombëtar do të vijë duke rënë.
Mendoj se kjo politikë do të ketë efekt bumerang, e cila në vend që të zgjidhë do të krijojë probleme të paqena në sferën tonë publike. Të ndërtosh një ambjent të tendosur të cilin e ushqen frikë, ksenofobi, islamofobi dhe radikalizëm fetar e bën shoqërinë të ndjehet më pak e sigurt dhe më shumë në panik. Shqipëria është një vend evropian me kulturë dhe trashëgimi osmane dhe kjo duhet pasur parasysh në mënyrë që të ruhen balancat dhe paqja e brishtë aktuale.
US Forces Albania To Take IS Fighters After Hosting MEK
Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh, Lobe Log, June 08 2018:… Regrouping meant that the MEK would continue to call for violent regime change against Iran, backed by US extremists like Rudi Giuliani and John Bolton who now occupy influential posts in the Trump administration. As a result, Albania has become a front-line enemy state in relation to Iran. Regrouping also meant re-enslaving members, who are not paid …
US Forces Albania To Take IS Fighters After Hosting MEK
Edi Rama at a NATO meeting (DOD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro)Edi Rama at a NATO meeting (DOD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro)
by Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh
“Albania will become a coordination center for fighters returning from ISIS to the Balkans,” announced Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borissov during a joint press conference with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama during a conference against violent extremism, which took place in Tirana this week.
Neither prime minister offered additional details, such as who is pushing this plan or with whom it is being negotiated. This vagueness generated criticism that Rama had not only failed to consult with parliament on this matter of grave importance to his country but perhaps he himself was not fully consulted.
Albania has been used before to host undesirables. In 2005, the United States sent five inmates from Guantanamo Bay there. Between 2013 and 2016, Washington also relocated 2,901 Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) extremists there from Iraq, which had been trying to expel them since 2003.
Now, the Trump administration is telling Albania to host and de-radicalize former Islamic State (ISIS or IS) fighters who originated from the Balkans region. According to Colonel Bardhyl Kollcaku, head of Albania’s Intelligence and Security Agency, “We have the appropriate experience to contribute in the study and addressing the phenomenon of foreign fighters.”
If the MEK had been de-radicalized, Kollcaku’s assertion would be credible. But they weren’t.
In 2013, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pragmatically removed the MEK from the US terrorism list to allow members to be sent to third countries so that Iraq could be rid of them. European countries would not take them because of their terrorist past. Instead, the Albanian government agreed to take them only on the promise that a de-radicalization institute be established to reintegrate the extremists back into society.
This did not happen. The allocated budget, lodged with the American embassy in Tirana, has not been touched. Instead, after Donald Trump became president and set about dismantling every detail of Barack Obama’s legacy, the MEK were “allowed” to regroup.
Regrouping meant that the MEK would continue to call for violent regime change against Iran, backed by US extremists like Rudi Giuliani and John Bolton who now occupy influential posts in the Trump administration. As a result, Albania has become a front-line enemy state in relation to Iran.
Regrouping also meant re-enslaving members, who are not paid and have no human rights. It also meant building a closed camp in a remote part of the country to which Albanian authorities and security services have no access. As though Albania wasn’t having a hard time already cracking down on criminal and mafia gangs, now the MEK are implicated in criminal activity. Among several individuals arrested for money laundering last month, two Israelis were found to be associated with FARA NGO. This is the same company involved in building the closed military training base in Manez to which rank-and-file MEK fighters were moved last autumn.
At the same time that was happening, word got out that the widows and orphans of killed IS fighters would soon be transferred to the MEK’s deserted buildings in the Albanian capital of Tirana. Such rumors were dismissed at the time. Now it appears that the truth is much worse. Actual IS fighters will be sent to Albania.
It’s possible, however, that the IS fighters will follow a similar trajectory as the MEK in Albania. Western powers have seen Syria and Iraq fall away from their influence. Hezbollah governs Lebanon, and a restive population wrapped up in the politics of Palestine is challenging the stability of Jordan. These are uncertain times in the Middle East. Some individuals in Western power structures have broached the possibility of creating a bespoke covert mercenary force to bring fresh chaos and violence into the mix. Although the MEK has been such a handy tool for aggravating Iran, former IS fighters could, with the right training, constitute a similar force against other countries.
And although John Bolton recently remarked that regime change against Iran is now off the Trump administration’s agenda, continued patronage of the MEK belies that claim. So, this is not just Albania’s problem. The West needs to urgently ask, “What use is the Islamic State now?”
Massoud Khodabandeh is the director of Middle East Strategy Consultants and has worked long-term with the authorities in Iraq to bring about a peaceful solution to the impasse at Camp Liberty and help rescue other victims of the Mojahedin-e Khalq cult. Among other publications, he co-authored the book “The Life of Camp Ashraf: Victims of Many Masters” with his wife Anne Singleton. They also published an academic paper on the MEK’s use of the Internet. Anne Khodabandeh is a UK 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.
MEPs discuss Mojahedine-E Khalq (MEK) Threat in #Albania
EU Reporter, Brussels, April 13 2018:… MEK has new sources of funding after Saddam Hussein and is active in the EUP. Several colleagues tried to prevent today’s meeting. The MEK seem to have free rein in parliament to lobby every day. I am trying to find out by asking the EUP president, which MEPs are providing them access.Before introducing the speakers, MS Gomes told delegates that when she hosted Nobel Peace …
MEPs discuss Mojahedine-E Khalq (MEK) Threat in #Albania
Experts and political representatives from Albania were in the European Parliament on Tuesday 10thApril, asking Europe for help in preventing the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) from toxifying their country’s internal and foreign relations. MEPs Ana Gomes and Patricia Lalonde hosted a round-table meeting titled ‘Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) threat in Albania’ to discuss the problem.
Participants included a UNHCR representative, Albanian opposition politicians, representatives from the Albanian embassy, the Albanian Delegation in parliament, from EU security, and reporters from various media.
Ms Gomes told delegates that she organised the debate because EU relations with Iran are very important, especially with the JCPOA agreement, and for human rights. This is a very different approach from the MEK which advocates regime change from outside the country.
Gomes explained that she first got to know the MEK from its recent time in Iraq where the group had interfered detrimentally in Iraq’s internal affairs. Based on her experience as a former diplomat in the UN Security Council and the UN Commission on Human Rights she was asked to write a report on Iraq in 2007-8. She found the MEK held hostage Iraq’s political relations. Even a visiting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for George W Bush agreed that MEK was a dangerous organisation.
Gomes mentioned that as head of UNAMI, Martin Kobler tried to work out a solution in Iraq, but was “miserably” attacked by MEK. He found he could not get access to the members to find out what they wanted as individuals. MEK would not allow the normal interviews that the UNHCR conduct.
MEK has new sources of funding after Saddam Hussein and is active in the EUP. Several colleagues tried to prevent today’s meeting. The MEK seem to have free rein in parliament to lobby every day. I am trying to find out by asking the EUP president, which MEPs are providing them access.
Before introducing the speakers, MS Gomes told delegates that when she hosted Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, she asked her if the MEK are a genuine opposition group. Ebadi was very clear that this group has no credibility among Iranians.
Nicola Pedde, Rome based Institute for Global Studies, provided background context to Albania’s dilemma by describing how he had successfully intervened in Italy to put a stop to the MEK’s deceptive campaigns to corrupt politicians and toxify Italy’s political debate on Iran with their fake information and unwanted regime change agenda.
When the MEK and Maryam Rajavi had free access to the Italian parliament, invited by various government agencies, they gathered signatures from around 70% of MPs. But after interviewing these members it was found that most MPs did not remember signing or what they signed for. Only five members deliberately supported the MEK. There was misuse of members’ ignorance on Iran issues. Such letters were used to increase the MEK’s infiltration inside institutions where they could toxify the bilateral relations and debate between the Italian Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Now Italy has strong relations with Iran, not only economic but political level too.
This toxification was to make businesses and politicians believe that any dealings with Iran will be risky or even bring up conflict. This affected parliament and the media. Since the MEK arrived in Albania it is clear they are trying to exactly replicate the methods there. They are approaching MPs, media and opinion makers, everyone who has a role in influencing the political and social debate in Albania. It is a very small country with economic and security problems. Risking involvement in something against the national interest. Two years ago, few Albanians even knew the name of the group. Now there is the capacity of influencing parliament with information which is produced in a way to derail the interests of the country toward the Iranian government.
We have a camp and a huge amount of people who can be active in the country. They can affect the capacity of the government to stand by its own decisions.
In our experience. One of the questions about this group is ‘What is its final aim’? There is no future for them in Iran, they have no capacity to reach the Iranian population. No capacity to play a role bigger than the one they play today. It is merely about maintaining the status quo. In order to keep power, money and relevance but without escalating it to the point of it actually changing the debate on Iran. That would be too risky for them and expose the fact there is no place for them in the future of Iran. Their influence is unprecedented in Europe, with their cultish approach. Their ability to toxify the debate is increasing in the current atmosphere. The Albanian experience is another aspect of the ability of Europe in dealing with the group.
Olsi Jazexhi, Director of the Free Media Institute in Tirana
MEK arrived in Albania under a secret agreement with US and Albanian government. They began to recruit politicians, musicians, students, members of civil society, activists, even Leftists and Communists and paid them come to their events. The MEK rented accommodation from one of the mafia gangs.
When some MEK began to desert the group because they do not believe in the MEK’s jihad any more, I and my wife, who is a lawyer, tried to help them. Albanian people are afraid of jihadi violence and they don’t want them in their country. The irony is that the Albanian government prosecutes those who want to join the jihad in Syria but does nothing to curtail the MEK, which is something the media have queried. Another issue is that refugees from other countries have shown that they want to integrate into Albanian society. The MEK do not want to integrate. They have come as a terrorist organisation and will commit acts of terrorism in the future. They live in a paramilitary camp and their leader Maryam Rajavi every day breaks the law of Albania by calling for jihad against a foreign country. This has resulted in Sunni leaders asking, if MEK can pursue jihad, why can’t we?
Another problem is the blackmailing of Albanian media. When Anne Khodabandeh had media interviews about who the MEK are, the MEK approached the media and told them, we are the MEK and you must not broadcast these interviews. This is outrageous because we have full freedom of speech in Albania. When Top Channel broadcast interviews with former MEK who said they wanted help from the UNHCR and Albanian government to deradicalize, the MEK accused Albania’s biggest TV station of being bought by Iran. But the MEK never accept to debate with anyone.
The MEK create fake news and information and distribute it to Albanian media. They created a campaign to say that because we are talking in the EUP today this has created the risk of a terrorist attack against the MEK in Albania.
The MEK are also attacking intellectuals. Albania is a country of religious tolerance. The MEK sent anti-terrorist police to break up a New Year celebration and arrest two veteran Iranian journalists and accuse them of terrorism. This shameful incident ended only after intervention by the president.
EU parliament, which has a lot of influence in Albania, should ask the Albanian government to demand the MEK abandon their violent jihad, to integrate into our society and to accept the values of democracy. The MEK must end the intimidation, calls for terrorism, lies and misinformation and fake news in Albania. They must dismantle their paramilitary organisation. And if Maryam Rajavi and those like Struan Stevenson disagree with us, they should deal with us in a democratic way. They must come and debate with us. I ask you as Europeans to put the utmost pressure on the Albanian government to save us from this very strange terrorist organisation.
Migena Balla, Lawyer B&B Stutio Legale in Tirana
Describes how she has tried to help those MEK who have left the organisation to establish a new life for themselves. We contacted the UNHCR and other agencies who could help but it was very difficult. We asked Geneva for help for these people who have no legal status or economic support in Albania. We finally got an interview with the director of the UNHCR in Albania. He first said we cannot do anything, only offer them food and shelter for six months. He could not say what should happen to them after six months. He confirmed that the Albanian government does not give legal status to these people. The UNHCR is still reluctant to deal with these people.
Instead, the former members’ families are helping them. Those who have families with money are supported, but those without this support are even sleeping in the streets. The MEK are paying some of them but they have no bank accounts, so they get this in cash. It is not clear how this money is arriving in Albania for the MEK.
The MEK have full control over their own members. If they try to contact their families, they will be ejected from the group. Anyone who speaks about them is accused of being agents of the Iranians. Why is nobody objecting? You are not Albanian, but you come to my country and accuse me of being an agent of Iran. I don’t care about Iran, but I do care what happens in my country of Albania. This MEK activity of threatening jihad against Iran, including Americans like Rudi Giuliani who come and clearly threaten Iran. The MEK is performing illegal activity in Albania which wants to be an EU member.
How can the MEK bring democracy to Iran when they do not have any democracy inside themselves? The MEK are not free to move around, get a job or have a family. My government cannot provide them with a civil life because they have no legal status or work permit. They were brought to Albania only with a piece of paper. They are being forced to stay with the group against their will. Their movements and activities are strictly controlled by the MEK. This is like a prison happening right in front of our eyes. Every day they are training, they go running. How can I believe this is not a military group in training?
One of the relatives who came to Albania to make contact with one of his family in MEK was arrested by the police. This is helping the MEK because it makes people afraid.
Anne Khodabandeh, Open Minds, De-Radicalisation Consultant
Starting with an explanation of the state of MEK graves, both in Albania and Iraq, the presentation highlighted the unaccountability of the MEK. In Iraq, many of the hundreds of graves were found to be fake, the contents did not correspond with the stones, some had no bodies, others had two or three. The official numbers of MEK who have arrived in Albania are also vague and imprecise. The US detained 3800 in 2003. After ten years of attrition due to dissociation, conflict, deaths by natural causes, suicides and murder, the UNHCR brought a total of 2901 individuals to Albania in September 2016. By the end of the year this number reduced to 2745.
A police report which quoted this figure also tried to account for the membership. But the numbers do not add up. These discrepancies demonstrate that we don’t know how many there are. By this account there are certainly fewer than 2500 loyal MEK members. Most of these have now been taken to the closed camp Ashraf Three to which we have no access. These numbers matter because we don’t actually know who they are. So, Senator Robert Torricelli, a MEK supporter, claims there are 4,000 MEK in Camp Ashraf Three. Where did they come from?
The police evaluated the MEK as deeply indoctrinated and having taken part in war and trained for terrorism. They know the group is dangerous but cannot keep track of them. Due to the work of investigative journalist Gjergji Thanasi we know the MEK’s activities in Albania are illegal. They do not have permits or pay taxes. He also discovered that America plans to bring more jihadis to Albania, this time the widows and orphans of killed Daesh members.
Journalists who filmed the new camp were not allowed near. Even Albanian authorities, including the police and security services are not allowed inside the camp without MEK permission and escorts. The UNHCR cannot go in and check on the state of the people there. Thanasi also discovered through planning permission permits issued by the Land Registry that Camp Ashraf Three is to have three-and-a-half-meter perimeter walls with guard turrets, a small-arms shooting range and reinforced concrete armoury, as well as a helipad. Things consistent with a military training camp.
It is also not possible for MEK members to leave the camp without permission or escort. They are essentially trapped in there. The people in the camp are living in conditions of modern slavery, like MEK everywhere. This means that the people who come to the European Parliament are actual slaves. We are familiar with the idea of sex slaves or cannabis farm slaves, but these are a genre of political slaves. They don’t get paid, they don’t have rights, like holidays, pensions, healthcare. No family relations are allowed. In fact, you can say that every single right in the UN Declaration of Human Rights is denied to them.
We know that most MEK members would like to leave and would do so if they had somewhere to go. The Albanian government doesn’t support them. UNHCR support is very limited. The UN International Organization for Migration says it is not responsible for them, even though they are foreign nationals brought from a second country to a third country.
The MEK leaders keep them in the camp through imprisonment, coercion and psychological manipulation. Why keep these people if they are so much trouble? The reason must be that two thousand people provide cover for around fifty highly radicalized members who are trained and willing to die and kill to order. The trouble is that, as has been shown, we don’t know exactly who they are because none of the residents have any recorded identity or legal status in the country.
The MEK’s raison d’être is terrorism, violent regime change. That’s what they are there for.
Maryam Rajavi can do as she likes, have people killed, send them here there and everywhere. But in the bigger world, in Albania and in Europe, who is responsible for them? Whatever they do, who must answer for them?
MEP Patricia Lalonde made the closing remarks.
The MEK presence in the EU parliament is very disturbing because of its history of interference in the internal affairs of Iraq. This is also happening in Europe. In France the failure to curtail the MEK in politics has resulted in problems in French and Iranian relations. The MEK must not be allowed to interfere in politics or economic relations.
She told delegates that in 1998 as an MP in the French parliament she had found some sympathy for the MEK cause as a feminist. When she attended an MEK rally she was told how to walk and where to stand and it felt like being in a cult, like in ‘1984’. She cut all contact with the MEK. However, when she was elected as an MEP a year ago, Lalonde was shocked that the first thing to greet her, stuffed under her door, was paper to sign for the MEK. ‘I said, “Oh my God! Are they still alive”.’ It is not acceptable that they are interfering in parliament.
EUReporter Exclusive Interview With Ana Gomes MEP And Patricia Lalonde MEP
Mojahedin Khalq, MEK, Threat in Albania – Parliamentary Round Table
EUReporter exclusive interview with Ana Gomes MEP and Patricia Lalonde MEP (Mojahedin Khalq, MEK, Threat in Albania – Parliamentary Round Table)
Mojahedine-E Khalq (MEK) Threat in Albania – Ana Gomes MEP
Mojahedine-E Khalq (MEK) Threat in Albania – Patricia Lalonde MEP
EUReporter Exclusive Interview With Olsi Jaxezhi And Anne Khodabandeh
MEK, Threat in Albania – Parliamentary Round Table
Mojahedine-E Khalq (MEK) Threat in Albania – Olsi Jaxezhi
Mojahedine-E Khalq (MEK) Threat in Albania – Anne Khodabandeh – Open Minds
Trump’s MEK version of events won’t secure victory against Iran, lets ISIS off the hook
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 of Iran. Trump clearly has no intention of defeating terrorism.
Trump’s MEK version of events won’t secure victory against Iran, lets ISIS off the hook
They say actions speak louder than words. Looking behind the Twitter storm which creates a smoke and mirrors effect to disguise the Trump administration’s true intents, one fact is blindingly clear; for this government, Iranians are first in the firing line.
This, of itself, is not unexpected. On the campaign trail Trump threatened to tear up the nuclear deal with Iran. So it was already clear he’s no fan of Iranians.
His first act as president has been to issue a direct and belligerent challenge to Iran – he included Iran in the Muslim ban and then declared that Iran is “on notice” after Iran test-fired a ballistic missile which it says is defensive. Iran is clearly in the crosshairs for Trump and his team.
And the evidence stacks up. As a barometer for any individual or even government’s aggressive approach to Iran, support for the Mojahedin Khalq (MEK aka Rajavi cult) is as accurate an indicator as any. The group has advocated violent regime change against Iran for three decades. Its supporters are in doubt that this is a rallying cry for a US-led war.
Even before taking office, revelations about potential Trump administration advisers and officials giving support to the terrorist MEK cult caused concern among foreign policy experts. After all, anti-Iran pundits can choose from literally thousands of civil groups and personalities to act as advisors and partners in challenging Iran. The MEK’s dirty past includes the anti-Imperialistinspired murder of six Americans in pre-revolution Iran which it later celebrated in songs and publications. (The family of U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jack Turner – “We were the first victims of terror before there was ever a war on terror” – is currently seeking redress for his death.) The new president has apparently brushed aside such concerns and has chosen to surround himself with people who have advocated for the MEK.
By not denouncing the MEK Trump has done several things. One is to signal that he is at war not with Iran but with Iranians. The MEK is hated more profoundly than any of Iran’s current political leaders by Iranians inside and outside the country.
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 of Iran. Trump clearly has no intention of defeating terrorism.
But most importantly, this tolerance, even warmth, shown toward the MEK in American foreign policy circles is a message that can be read from afar and by everyone else in the world: the American war box is virtually empty. Aside from a handful of puny sanctions, bringing the MEK into the equation means that not only does the America not have a stick to wave at Iran, it appears foolish enough, befuddled by ideological zeal perhaps, to tie its fate to the most unlucky and doom-laden group there ever was.
Laughably, parasitically, the MEK has consistently tied its fate to whichever it assumed was the winning side. However, the choice of MEK sponsors no longer looks so astute. Ayatollah Khomeini quickly saw through the MEK’s smarmy overtures to share power and promptly exiled them from Iran. The next step was to ally with Saddam Hussein against Iran during the Iran-Iraq war – a feat of spectacular treachery for which no Iranian will ever forgive them. After Saddam’s fall the MEK believed that the chaos in Iraq which gave rise to the insurrection of Al Qaida in Iraq would somehow carry them forward. The MEK even flirted with support for ISIS and the Syrian Free Army hoping they would find a home in the new Caliphate. Instead, the MEK were evicted from their base and sent into deeper exile in Albania, a country with no axe to grind against Iran. Long term sponsors have included Israel – which tasked MEK operatives with the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists – and the anti-Shia Saudi Arabia. Both countries are bogged down with interminable troubles of their own. And now the MEK are hoping to cosy up with the Trump administration.
The Obama administration kept the MEK at arms’ length and never entertained direct support for the group. When the government of Iraq held the US, along with the UN, responsible for removing the MEK from Iraq to a third country, the then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was forced to agree to remove the MEK from the US terrorism list before any third country would legally be able to accept them on their territory.
Since 2001 Trump’s predecessors have built up strong homeland defences and led counter-terrorism efforts particularly against the threat of ISIS to the US and Europe. It is now likely that this legacy will be squandered by an administration with an overriding hatred of Iran. Instead of understanding the benefit of developing strategic partnerships with countries like Iran and Iraq in the global fight against terrorism, the Trump administration would rather rain down terror on the Iranian people.
But the biggest delusion would be to believe that the MEK could be a reliable or effective partner in any sense. If Donald Trump has any insight into his own modus operandi – the erratic demands and refusal to take criticism – he will have a direct view of how the MEK operates. Aligning America’s foreign policy with the whims of a mind control cult will not secure victory over Iran. Instead, it will diminish America’s standing in the world, and it will certainly not make the world a better or safer place.
Some related documents:
Lets create another Vietnam for America(pdf).
(Mojahedin English language paper April 1980)
Letter to Imam (Khomeini) (pdf).
(Mojahedin English Language paper April 1980)
Some questions unanswered regarding the US military invasion of Iran (pdf).
(Mojahedin English Language paper June 1980)
link to one of the Mojahedin Khalq songs
advocating terror and killing Americans
(In Persian written and distributed after the Iranian Revolution)
Mojahedin Khalq (MEK, Rajavi cult)’s Fake Intelligence On Aleppo Only Hinders Fact-finding Bodies Finding The Truth
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 …
Mojahedin Khalq (MEK, Rajavi cult)’s Fake Intelligence On Aleppo Only Hinders Fact-finding Bodies Finding The Truth
An article published in the Washington Times Security section claims that (yet again) the Mojahedin Khalq (aka MKO, MEK, NCRI, Rajavi cult, Saddam’s Private Army) has provided intelligence to the West on Iranian crimes and atrocities. However, in terms of actual intelligence revelations, the article should more properly have sat in the Opinion section.
In this post-truth era, it almost goes without saying that facts and fiction rub shoulders in most of the articles reporting on Syria and Aleppo from all sides. But if Western journalists had no presence in Aleppo and uncritically reported hearsay and opinion to support their own agendas, think then what the MEK’s reporting is based on.
The MEK pretends it has some kind of insider knowledge which it can apparently tap into whenever it needs to make a point. Iran, however, has made no secret of its involvement in the Syrian conflict. Newspapers and state run media probably tell us in much greater detail than the Washington Times report about the deployment of fighters and how they are funded. The dead from this conflict are mourned very publicly inside Iran. It is disingenuous of the MEK to merely recycle this information as a ‘revelation’
NCRI spokesman deceives gullible U.S. officials and journalists with misinformation
But the MEK is notorious for its role as a misinformation and propaganda outlet. Variously over the years, the MEK has been exposed for false reporting and intelligence in issues such as the P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran. After passing one piece of genuine intelligence in 2002 which it was given by Mossad, the MEK continued to pass fake information to the IAEA so as to disrupt the negotiation process, and to enable the US to impose severe sanctions against Iran. In 2015 the MEK ‘shock revelation’ of a secret nuclear facility in Iran – intended to derail ongoing nuclear negotiations – when subjected to just a little bit of investigatory journalism was soon revealed as sheer fabrication. The MEK similarly muddied the waters of truth during investigations into the bombing of a Jewish centre in Argentina in 1994 for which MEK supplied intelligence implicated Iran.
NCRI ‘shock revelation’ turned out to be taken from an advertising brochure
Iran and Russia’s behaviour and agendas have their own place in these issues which should be rigorously investigated and reported. But 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 from the NCRI site of Maryam Rajavi. The NCRI site then reposts its own report as though it originated in the Washington Times and both, without further verification, get taken up by Fox News.
National Security: Could Maryam Rajavi (Mojahedin Khalq) blackmail her friends in high places – Rudi Giuliani, John Bolton and Newt Gingrich
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 …
National Security: Could Maryam Rajavi (Mojahedin Khalq) blackmail her friends in high places – Rudi Giuliani, John Bolton and Newt Gingrich
As the reverberations of the American election echo and ripple across America and around the world, some of its repercussions are already being felt – demonstrations, racist attacks, global market and currency fluctuations, the Russian reaction and more. But as President-elect Trump considers who to appoint to the most influential positions in his Administration, the hopeful candidates may want to consider repercussions which may arise from their own backgrounds.
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).
Newt Gingrich bows to Maryam Rajavi
It is certain that neither these three hopefuls nor the MEK believed they would make a comeback. Rudi Giuliani, John Bolton and Newt Gingrich are not Republican favourites. But apparently, with the election of Donald Trump, their time has come. The MEK also didn’t think Trump could win and therefore advertised for Hillary Clinton in their websites.
Rudi Giuliani with Maryam Rajavi
In American politics, such things can be quickly glossed over, dismissed as political strategies. But Donald Trump does need to take this past into consideration. What Rudi Giuliani, John Bolton and Newt Gingrich do not know is that the MEK have a full record of all their meetings, dialogue and discussions. After being tutored by Saddam’s Intelligence service the MEK learned to film and record every conversation with an external person, particularly people like Rudi Giuliani, on every occasion whether in the US, Paris or Europe, even during dinner gatherings. This means that every time they hosted speakers and supporters in Paris or America these meetings were recorded. The MEK is now in possession of hundreds of hours of audio/video recordings as well as emails and phone calls of individuals like these three who have been mingling openly over the past decade with people they took to be ordinary oppositionists, but were in fact trained agents of the MEK and Saddam. The recordings can be edited and published by the MEK to suit the time, need and place.
John Bolton with Mojahedin Khalq operatives
The MEK’s hope was, of course, that by recording these private conversations they could be used in future to pressurise or even blackmail individuals if needed. They perhaps didn’t have any hope then that these individuals would reach such high office. As such this is a national security concern for the US. No one knows what is in the tapes and no one knows how these three, who have done everything for a fee in the past, would be able to stop the MEK from exposing them.
These three entered into paid lobbying for a group such as Mojahedin Khalq knowingly (perhaps not envisaging a day which they could be back in the game) accepting the end of their careers as officials. If they are now brought back and appointed to key positions, US policy could simply be taken hostage by a notorious terrorist organisation such as the Mojahedin Khalq.
Even if these three gave assurances that the paid support they gave to Maryam Rajavi and her terrorist cult Mojahedin Khalq has been done purely on straightforward lobbying grounds, no one can be certain that a decade of recordings and document gathering by the MEK would not end up producing enough leverage to highjack the national security of the United States and or its allies across the globe.
President Trump (and security advisors) simply can’t afford to take such a risk with the future of the country.
Maryam Rajavi — MEK Propaganda Queen — Advertises Her Services For Iran’s Enemies
, 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? From whom is she hoping to garner support?Many constituencies outside Iran wish fervently for its destruction. It is enlightening that Maryam Rajavi’s …
Maryam Rajavi — MEK Propaganda Queen — Advertises Her Services For Iran’s Enemies
Co-authored by Anne Khodabandeh
The Middle East is in turmoil. Deaths and destruction are a daily occurrence throughout the region. Families flee their homes in fear, forced into an uncertain future. No end is in sight. Yet into this calamitous scenario a slick, sophisticated terrorist recruiter’s advert has popped up which ISIS itself could learn from.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) website carries a glamorous advertising campaign for a Grand Gathering. Surrounded by glitzy pictures of flag-waving youth, the central focus of this gathering is ‘Our pledge: regime change’.
Well, we all know what that means. Don’t we? Apparently not. Because this advertising doesn’t reflect the destruction wrought in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen. Here is no promise of jihad and the caliphate. It looks very much like a carnival. Which is exactly what it is – a show. So, what is meant by the promise of regime change?
The first port of call is to understand that the NCRI is just another name for the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) which was also known as the National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA).
Back in 1994, MEK leader Massoud Rajavi tasked his wife Maryam to leave Iraq for America in order to regain political recognition of the Mojahedin Khalq as ‘the’ Iranian opposition which had been lost when he refused to abandon Saddam Hussein during the First Gulf war.
Refused entry to the USA as the leader of a terrorist entity Maryam instead took up residence in France as a refugee. But instead of meeting politicians to talk about how the MEK could overthrow the Iranian regime, she discovered she could simply create the illusion of support by paying both audience and speakers. She discovered a talent for dressing up, holding fancy dinner parties and talking about her cult ideology.
To create the appearance of a willing audience for her views, she recruited a rag-tag following of Iranian economic refugees who would happily turn up when paid for their services. She paid for feminists from North America, Europe and Scandinavia to visit Auvers-sur-Oise and attend dinner parties. She posed in her hijab to speak about her version of feminism to these western women; carefully spelling it out for them that they would never really understand what feminism is until they understood her husband Massoud Rajavi.
When Massoud recalled her to Iraq in 1997 she had spent a third of the total MEK budget and had no political support to show for it. She had lost around half the loyal MEK members who had defected whilst in Europe. With morale at an all-time low, Maryam was forced to retreat to Iraq with what remained of her personnel and leave the western bases in the hands of largely uneducated paid ‘supporters’.
When allied forces next invaded Iraq in 2003 Maryam Rajavi again fled to France. This time, as luck would have it, western politics was focused on curtailing Iran’s nuclear programme which it insisted was aimed at creating a nuclear weapon. The MEK’s services as propaganda experts were just what was needed, ensuring the MEK’s ostensible survival as an opposition group.
But in reality the MEK was already in terminal decline. Its fighting forces, disarmed in 2003, are currently being transferred from Iraq to Albania by the UNHCR to begin a process of de-radicalisation and reintegration back into normal society. Nobody expects veterans with an average age of sixty to wage the terrorism of thirty years ago. Disarmament also allowed American experts to investigate years of complaints about human rights and cultic abuses inside the MEK. As long as the MEK was being used to muddy the waters of the nuclear negotiations, such details could be glossed over. But since last year when agreement was reached, the MEK’s murky past can no longer be dismissed.
The main reason, of course, is that the new theme for challenging Iran in the international community is based on the country’s dismal human rights record. But Maryam Rajavi has her own well documented human rights abuse dossier to answer for. The MEK, under whatever name it is used, is simply the wrong tool to use to demonise Iran.
Beyond this, the MEK is not the popular opposition its own advertising claims it to be. The group is almost universally despised among Iranians both inside the country and in the diaspora. Not only did the MEK fight alongside Saddam Hussein’s army during the devastating eight-year Iran-Iraq war, but the MEK’s anti-Iran role in the nuclear negotiations hit a nerve with most ordinary Iranians who regarded support for their country’s right to nuclear technology as an issue ofnationalism rather than politics.
Maryam Rajavi cannot get support from Iranians unless it is paid for. Nor can Maryam Rajavi deign to share a platform with any other Iranian opposition personality. So this year Maryam Rajavi will again do what she does best; pay audience and speakers alike to give the illusion of support.
So, back to the recent advertising campaign. Any publicity campaign will be successful if it is newsworthy. Maryam, however, simply churns out the same scenario ad infinitum. Starting with describing a terrible situation in Iran – based on news items that can be gleaned from any serious reporting outlet – she then proposes a ten-point plan for Iran, approved this year by Italian parliamentarians. And then she promises regime change.
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? From whom is she hoping to garner support?
Many constituencies outside Iran wish fervently for its destruction. It is enlightening that Maryam Rajavi’s websites are home to a bizarre mixture of anti-Shia, anti-Iran, anti-Syria, items which reflect very closely the views of neocons, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Maryam Rajavi is not promising regime change, she is advertising her services as a propaganda queen.