Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton), Middle East Strategy Consultants, January 25, 2013
: … The problem for Rajavi is that this didn’t happen. The report was leaked to the press as planned, but there was no media fest. Instead the report was pulled back “for revision” when the Library of Congress realised the shoddy piece of work was ripe for investigation: how was it possible for a group like the MEK to infiltrate its disinformation into the ‘Irregular Warfare Support’ office of the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office in the Pentagon? The investigation has even gone as far as Brussels where Members of the European Parliament are now being questioned about their use of this unpublished, un-attributed report to interfere in the asylum process for Iranian refugees …
Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton), Middle East Strategy Consultants, January 25, 2013
Author of “Saddam’s Private Army” and “The life of Camp Ashraf”
Massoud Rajavi is in danger of losing everything he ever had. The devastating significance for him of losing Camp Ashraf should not be underestimated. A 40km square piece of land containing a nuclear bunker, arms caches, a satellite communications system, its own water and power supplies, dormitories, refectories, meeting rooms and leisure facilities, has been replaced for the residents by a 1km square area with prefab huts for living quarters. And their marching orders to leave Iraq ASAP.
Worst of all is that Rajavi has lost the ability to completely isolate his people from the outside world. As hard as the MEK leaders try to keep it closed, Camp Liberty is porous to external access as Camp Ashraf never was. It is regularly visited by representatives from the UN, EU, US and various NGOs and security at the camp is taken care of by Iraq’s security forces. The Iraqi authorities have even kept open a hotel in Baghdad, hired during the transfer process, to house any residents who do not wish to live in the basic conditions of Camp Liberty.
All this has made it possible for people to leave the MEK. It is a slow and difficult process of attrition because the cult maintains an iron grip on the residents through its psychologically coercive, high-pressure indoctrination process which is characterised by a daily confession and punishment regime for every single person from rank and file to leadership. The danger that is absolutely paramount in Rajavi’s mind is that sooner or later the cult will be dismantled, its membership dispersed and he will be left alone.
It is in this context that the controversial US Library of Congress report which asserts that Iran’s Intelligence agency has 30,000 employees should be placed for meaningful analysis and assessment.
The leaked report has been quickly and decisively exposed as a sham. And it should be clear to careful readers that the (privately commissioned and paid) report hasn’t been written for the MEK but has been written by the MEK; it contains much MEK cult jargon and many second language-user errors. Beyond this, the sources for much of the content can be traced directly to MEK websites which are, unsurprisingly, no longer functioning.
Why would the MEK risk publicising this easily refuted piece of nonsense?
Educated observation of its behaviours and statements will reveal that the MEK is not an actual player in the political scene, and that much of what the cult does publicly is really designed for internal consumption rather than as part of a policy platform to confront Iran. (Anyone who has direct dealings with MEK members will know that expecting transparency or consistency from them is like asking a drunk to walk in a straight line.
By commissioning this report Rajavi has created a fraudulent narrative with which to deceive his followers. His intention is to persuade as many as possible to remain in Camp Liberty, rather than be transferred to third countries by the UNHCR, by giving them false hope and expectations for the future of the MEK.
What Rajavi is saying through this report is that in spite of being incarcerated in Camp Ashraf and then Camp Liberty for ten years doing nothing, the MEK is in fact engaged in a serious head to head fight with the Islamic Republic of Iran in the shape of the Khodabandeh family. The Khodabandehs are libellously depicted in the report as “agents of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence”. According to Rajavi’s narrative the Khodabandehs are at the forefront of a massive spy network spread throughout the world and tasked to destroy the MEK. He has chosen to ‘promote’ the Khodabandeh family to this position because they are the most prolific and effective English language critics of his cult. He can motivate the residents of Camp Liberty to stay on in order to fight this enemy.
Rajavi has bigged up the Khodabandeh family and the hundreds of former MEK members who are vociferous in their criticisms because he is being defeated by their exposures. He has created the excuse that they are the face of the Iranian regime and extremely powerful and that is why it is so difficult to defeat them. (Interestingly only days ago Rajavi told the residents inside the camp that if they hear anything bad about him -he means the allegations of sexual abuse against women members -they should ignore such talk. Their only task is to accept his leadership and be confident that, in good time, he will answer his enemies. In other words he is instructing the MEK not to think, only to unquestioningly obey.)
But Rajavi’s deceptive narrative continues: do not be concerned about this fight with the regime, do not run away from it, because the MEK has the backing of the most powerful people in the American political establishment, the Israeli lobby and the Neoconservatives. Rajavi promised that the report would receive massive coverage in the American media and be supported at the highest levels in the American establishment as evidence that the only way to confront Iran is military action; that is, war.
His intention is to convince the MEK that he has found a replacement for Saddam’s regime in the Israeli lobby and Neoconservatives in Europe and the US. (In other times he has been prepared to fake mercenary status for the MEK to imply such support.)
The problem for Rajavi is that this didn’t happen. The report was leaked to the press as planned, but there was no media fest. Instead the report was pulled back “for revision” when the Library of Congress realised the shoddy piece of work was ripe for investigation: how was it possible for a group like the MEK to infiltrate its disinformation into the ‘Irregular Warfare Support’ office of the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office in the Pentagon? The investigation has even gone as far as Brussels where Members of the European Parliament are now being questioned about their use of this unpublished, un-attributed report to interfere in the asylum process for Iranian refugees.
Rajavi has exposed his weakness not only in Iraq where the residents of Camp Liberty are drifting away from his control, but in the heart of Washington. Exposure of the lies and distortions in the report mean that Rajavi is not being protected and promoted as he has said by powerful people in the capital. Not only that, the defeat he is facing really is at the hands of former members and not the powerful Iranian Ministry of Intelligence.
Perhaps now a line can be drawn under this issue and the focus of attention placed back where it belongs; Camp Liberty and the 3000+ cult hostages – and their families – whose future still remains uncertain.
30,000 Iranian spies? Library of Congress withdraws report
(Mojahdin Khalq terror group web site the only source of the report)
… Massoud Khodabandeh, is a former-member-turned-fierce-critic of the Mujahadin-e Khalq (MEK), a small exile group that has long fought the government of Iran and was recently removed from the U.S. government’s list of terrorist organizations. The report even includes their pictures.The report’s source for the spy claim is a 2007 essay published on a now-defunct website by Rabbi Daniel Zucker, who is chair of a group called Americans for Democracy in the Middle East and has frequently written in support of the MEK.The Zucker piece in turn cites a 2005 post on another now-defunct pro-MEK website called iranterror.com …
Justin Elliott, Cristian Science Monitor, January 23 2013
A US Library of Congress report asserting that Iran’s Intelligence agency has 30,000 employees has been widely quoted – and criticized. The report has been withdrawn and is now under revision.
As we detailed last week, the study’s ill-supported claim that the Iranian intelligence ministry has 30,000 employees was picked up by CNN and others. News outlets have also seized on other assertions in the report.
“The report was pulled for revisions after the Division staff identified a passage that should have been caveated but was missed in the initial reviews,” said Federal Research Division chief David Osborne in an email. “The report will be re-posted when revised.”
Osborne declined to specify the passage in question. It might have had nothing to do with the 30,000 figure.
Another section of the report prompted a married couple branded as spies for Iran to consider legal action.
The report flatly claims that a British woman and her Iranian-born husband are operatives for Iran’s intelligence ministry. The husband, Massoud Khodabandeh, is a former-member-turned-fierce-critic of the Mujahadin-e Khalq (MEK), a small exile group that has long fought the government of Iran and was recently removed from the U.S. government’s list of terrorist organizations.
The report even includes their pictures.
The report’s source for the spy claim is a 2007 essay published on a now-defunct website by Rabbi Daniel Zucker, who is chair of a group called Americans for Democracy in the Middle East and has frequently written in support of the MEK.
The Zucker piece in turn cites a 2005 post on another now-defunct pro-MEK website called iranterror.com. That site also states Khodabandeh and his wife are operatives for Iranian intelligence, but does not offer any sources or evidence.
Even though it relied on questionable sourcing, the report effectively extended the imprimatur of the U.S. government to the claim that the couple are spies.
Asked about the various criticisms of the report, Pentagon spokeswoman Anne Edgecomb told ProPublica: “We believe its findings will enrich the discussions and concepts of policy makers.”
She declined to comment further.
The MEK’s official website seized on the government report this month, publishing an item claiming that “a recent investigative report by [the] Pentagon … revealed that Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh are agents of the mullahs’ Ministry of Intelligence and Security.”
Khodabandeh and his wife, Anne, who also worked with the MEK in the 1980s and 90s, were incensed by the government report.
“Everything they’ve said is just made up,” Anne Khodabandeh told ProPublica.
Massoud Khodabandeh wrote a response column on Huffington Post blasting the report for its reliance on pro-MEK sources. The couple, who are based in the United Kingdom, run an anti-MEK website and consider the group a dangerous cult. (That charge that has been echoed by some outside observers but rejected by the MEK.)
The study claims that after Khodabandeh left the MEK in 1996, he and Anne “agreed to work for [Iran’s intelligence ministry] and spy on MEK.” It claims that the intelligence ministry used threats against Khodabandeh’s family in Tehran to compel the couple to cooperate.
Earlier this month, Anne Khodabandeh emailed Osborne, the Federal Research Division chief, saying that “my solicitor would like to know the actual provenance of the report for further action.” Osborne responded that the report had been pulled down for (again unspecified) revisions.
“The fact that the document was leaked to [Washington Free Beacon reporter] Mr. Bill Gertz or otherwise publicized is not the fault of the Library of Congress,” Osborne wrote Jan. 9. “It is not and will not be posted to any Library of Congress site.”
Anne Khodabandeh told ProPublica she and her husband are holding off on legal action at this point because of the potential expense involved, and the fact that the report does not name its author.
Khodabandeh: Mojahedin Khalq a clear threat to the national interest of U.S.
(aka; MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult)
… Now, if Zucker and his ilk can insert this MEK-written propaganda into an apparently official document for the Pentagon — an easy target, of course, as it is swarming with willing warmongers — will it be long before such documents reach into higher circles of power — that is, the people with America’s nuclear arsenal at their fingertips. The decision-making clique in a national crisis cannot afford to be swayed by either ideologically biased or un-researched information. When MEK misinformation so blatantly reaches the Pentagon, is it too far-fetched to imagine it reaching The White House? Should a crisis arise, can Americans be confident that those at the top really …
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, January 09 2013
Director, Middle East Strategy Consultants
The MEK have been very keen to publicize a Library of Congress report called “Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile.”
On the surface this is understandable, as the MEK is the sworn enemy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. However, a closer look at the content reveals a murkier truth.
The report is characterized by its mixture of allegation, assertion and allusion, much of which is not substantiated by evidence. The report blends fact and fiction in a manner intended to deceive and mislead. As such, this document is not an attack, it is a defensive act, it is a play on words intended to prevent informed discussion and stop important people being listened to. Indeed, the gratuitous mention of two specific individuals, Anne Singleton and me. We have consistently exposed the aspects of the Mojahedin Khalq which it most wants to hide — its cult nature, human rights violations, and mercenary relation to foreign agents — is the strongest possible indication of the provenance of this report.
The other indication is that the source of this specific misinformation is Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker. In a footnote, the article “Disinformation Campaign in Overdrive: Iran’s VEVAK in High-Gear” is sourced at Global Politician, September 3, 2007, www.globalpolitician.com/23386-vevak-iran (accessed April 17, 2012). Interestingly, this website can no longer be accessed.
It is known that Zucker, along with his family, visited Maryam Rajavi in Paris and was sufficiently impressed by her glamorous outfits, free dinners and weasel words to become an active advocate of the MEK in America.
However, Zucker’s article received a thorough retort back in 2007 from Professor Paul Sheldon Foote.
Reference to the same discredited article in this report can only be done out of ignorance, stupidity or desperation. Do Zucker and his ilk really believe that through defamation they can prevent the truth from emerging? Perhaps the MEK believe this will save their necks in Washington. Certainly Massoud Rajavi is deluded. He really believes that his cultic ‘thought-terminating clichés” will work with everyone. In Zucker he has found a like-minded person, willing to place hope over experience. But surely there are people in Washington who are not so willing to be so easily duped.
So, what is it that Rajavi and his supporters are so desperate to hide?
Part of the answer to this question lies in the recent article “Do not Disturb — Criminals at Work in Camp Liberty” by one of the people named in the report. As time passes and the UNHRC processes the individuals in Camp Liberty for refugee status and relocation, the danger of further exposure of human rights abuses inside the MEK is becoming ever more critical for the cult. More and more exhausted and disillusioned MEK members are scheduled to come to Europe. When they are freed from Rajavi’s cultic constraints, what else will they reveal about the cult and its criminal activities?
While the UN is timidly tiptoeing around outside the closed door of Camp Liberty, afraid to intervene for fear of being labelled an ‘agent of the Iranian regime,’ only three thousand individuals are affected.
But in America the implications behind this report signal a potent threat to the national interest. Behind the self-interested motivations of the MEK and its sponsors there lies real danger for the American establishment. The problem for America is not the fact or fiction of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry’s reach into western countries. Instead, it is the reach of the internal enemies of America into its corridors of power which is truly disturbing.
Let us not forget that a similar document, mingling actual fact and unsubstantiated allegations masquerading as fact, became a central piece of evidence which was used in the legal argument to remove the MEK from the proscribed terrorism lists of both the UK and the European Union. Is this not a disturbing precedent?
Now, if Zucker and his ilk can insert this MEK-written propaganda into an apparently official document for the Pentagon — an easy target, of course, as it is swarming with willing warmongers — will it be long before such documents reach into higher circles of power — that is, the people with America’s nuclear arsenal at their fingertips. The decision-making clique in a national crisis cannot afford to be swayed by either ideologically biased or un-researched information.
When MEK misinformation so blatantly reaches the Pentagon, is it too far-fetched to imagine it reaching The White House? Should a crisis arise, can Americans be confident that those at the top really have well researched and balanced information on which to base their decisions, or could America be heading for a catastrophic miscalculation?
The loopholes to such a possibility can and should be closed. The MEK may look like friends now, but do not think they won’t turn around and bite you in the future.
(Daniel Zucker with Maryam Rajavi in 2007)
(Daniel Zucker and Ali Safavi)
(Ali Safavi commander in Saddam’s Private Army)
Whoops! What a big gaffe in the US report!
Did Pentagon lobby for Mojahedin Khalq?
(aka; MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult)
… Not only is this untrue, it is yet another gaffe. The original report did not say that I was in jail at that time and the author of the article either did not bother to read the actual report, or was probably as confused as everyone else who read it as to what it was actually trying to say. The fact is that I was arrested in Syria and taken to prison in Iran in June 2003. In the year 2002 I was still a member of the MEK living in their collective base in London. My brother and my sister-in-law who had both left the MEK had established the iran-interlink.org website and were active in exposing the violation of human rights inside Rajavi’s cult which had been going on for many years …
Ebrahim Khodabandeh, Iran Interlink, February 21 2013
Letter to the editor
Mail on Sunday
Mr Geordie Greig.
An unpublished report produced by the US Library of Congress for the Department of Defense (the Pentagon), has been continuously quoted by the Mojahedin-e Khalq terrorist cult in their media since it was conveniently ‘leaked’ to the internet in January. The so-called ‘Pentagon report’ mentioned my name along with that of my brother and my sister-in-law, but because what was written was so obviously made-up to fulfill the agenda of the MEK themselves, I chose to ignore it.
Then in an article dated February 16, 2013, the British newspaper Mail-on-Sunday also referred to this report and again this has been widely used by the cult in its media. Amused by the dramatic tabloid headline “British housewife accused by the US of spying for Iran ‘to save her brother-in-law’s life'”, I had a closer look to find out why this article had been published six weeks after the report was first leaked.
The US report claims that in 2002: “She (i.e. my sister in law Anne Singleton) agreed to cooperate with MOIS (Iran’s ministry of intelligence) to save her brother-in-law’s life – he (i.e. me, Ebrahim Khodabandeh) was still a member of MEK at the time.”
In 2002 I was living in one of the MEK’s bases in London. This means that my life was in danger inside the MEK in the UK!
In my opinion the Mail-on-Sunday article was published specifically to cover up this gaffe. It even points to this in the title.
At the start of the article it says: “Anne Singleton, 53, is alleged to have been blackmailed into training with the Iranian secret service during a visit to Tehran in 2002. The Pentagon-commissioned report claims that
Mrs Singleton and her Iranian husband, Massoud Khodabandeh, 56, agreed to work for the regime in return for saving the life of his jailed brother.” [bold added]
Not only is this untrue, it is yet another gaffe. The original report did not say that I was in jail at that time and the author of the article either did not bother to read the actual report, or was probably as confused as everyone else who read it as to what it was actually trying to say.
The fact is that I was arrested in Syria and taken to prison in Iran in June 2003.
In the year 2002 I was still a member of the MEK living in their collective base in London. My brother and my sister-in-law who had both left the MEK had established the iran-interlink.org website and were active in exposing the violation of human rights inside Rajavi’s cult which had been going on for many years.
I can tell from my 23 years’ experience and as one of the key personnel in the MEK’s Foreign Affairs Department in Europe that the gaffes made in the report and in the article both originated from the MEK.
February 20, 2013
Do not Disturb – Criminals at work in Camp Liberty
Massoud and Maryam Rajavi accused of sexual cruelty
… The women (several of whom had been appointed to the highest level of the MEK hierarchy – the Leadership Council which directly serves Massoud Rajavi and his wife, Maryam), described a bizarre process of preparation for their sexual encounter with Rajavi which was facilitated by and presided over by Maryam Rajavi, who, they said, procured specific women from the membership for Massoud’s use. The women were made to believe that refusal to participate would result in demotion, humiliation and even worse punishments. Maryam Rajavi invented rituals such as being washed by other women members so as to ‘spiritually purify’ them …
(Women “rewarded” with pendants and robes after sexual ordeal)
Anne Singleton, Middle East Strategy Consultants, January 5, 2013
Author of “Saddam’s Private Army” and “The life of Camp Ashraf”
When the US army captured the MEK and confined them to Camp Ashraf in April 2003, they registered 3,800 individuals. Of these, 800 were women.
The figure has remained mostly constant, with some members being trafficked in and out of the camp, and some escaping the cult altogether. (The actual figures are unknown because the Pentagon allowed the MEK to shut the door of the camp and operate Camp Ashraf independently of both national and international law.)
Understandably it is the women who escaped from Rajavi and his cultic abuses who are proving the most problematic. They are very angry and they are proving very difficult to silence.
In the Autumn of 2012 a number of these women, having courageously overcome the stigma attached to such issues, joined together to speak publicly about the sexual abuses they suffered in the MEK. They allege that Massoud Rajavi, the de facto leader of the Mojahedin-e Khalq, not only deceived them into having sex with him but had also instigated a programme of coerced hysterectomies for all women members in order to ‘neutralise their sexuality’. Out of the 800 women registered in Camp Ashraf, they gave the names of 100 who have already become victims of Rajavi’s hysterectomy programme.
The women (several of whom had been appointed to the highest level of the MEK hierarchy – the Leadership Council which directly serves Massoud Rajavi and his wife, Maryam), described a bizarre process of preparation for their sexual encounter with Rajavi which was facilitated by and presided over by Maryam Rajavi, who, they said, procured specific women from the membership for Massoud’s use. The women were made to believe that refusal to participate would result in demotion, humiliation and even worse punishments.
Maryam Rajavi invented rituals such as being washed by other women members so as to ‘spiritually purify’ them, followed by the instruction to dance naked before both the Rajavis to prove they had ‘broken the physical and mental barriers’ to their total submission to Massoud. After these coercive practices, he would choose a bedmate for sex. The women have said that they did not agree to sex with Rajavi out of free will but because they had been coerced through deception into submitting to what they later came to recognise as rape.
The women who spoke out all now live in Europe. Other former MEK women members living in Iran and currently in Iraq are also said to be willing to give their testimony. The women described how they were deceived into undergoing spurious hysterectomies in order to fulfill Rajavi’s demand that they ‘divorce from their sexuality’.
In response, former Colonel, Leo McCloskey, Commander of Forward Operation Base in Ashraf until 2008, was featured on the MEK’s websites and media, attempting to denigrate the women and dismiss their claims by labeling them as ‘agents of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence’. Based on what knowledge and expertise did he manage to come up with such a nonsensical counter argument?
What is most disturbing about these revelations is the response from the establishment. I’m sure that everyone reading this article will be at least curious to know whether such outrageous accusations might be true or not. Perhaps those who are more familiar with the MEK’s past known behaviour will be willing at least to give some credence to these allegations. But for responsible bodies like the UN and even human rights organisations, which, over thirty years, have compiled reams and reams of documented evidence of gross abuses committed by the Rajavi cult (let us not forget the MEK victims found in Abu Ghraib prison), to ignore these easily verifiable witness statements because the MEK says they are a ‘plot by the Iranian regime to discredit the opposition’ really beggars belief.
The facts are easily verifiable. The physical evidence of hysterectomy can be found in the women’s bodies. It is a matter of fact, not opinion. And if those who managed to escape the cult have evidence consistent with their accusations, does it not behove those people actually responsible for their welfare to conduct an investigation into the condition of the other named women in the MEK who are trapped incommunicado in (the ironically named) Camp Liberty.
Let us look more closely then at the ‘one size fits all’ label used to denigrate the victims: ‘agent of the Iranian regime’. It is not the first time the label has been used by the MEK, nor will it be the last. After all, in the current reckless Western culture of ferocious Iran-bashing, it is an easy formula to trot out for a willing audience. And what a willing audience!
The phrase arises from the cultic nature of the MEK and of course the concept of ‘thought-terminating clichés’ is familiar among experts in cultic abuse. It describes the technique used by cult leaders to prevent their followers (victims) from using their critical faculties. Whenever the cliché is mentioned, the cult member stops thinking. In this case, the phrase is also linked to another technique ‘cultic phobias’ which is to introduce irrational fears which when triggered arouse a phobic reaction in the victim.
For members of the Rajavi cult, the phrase ‘agent of the Iranian regime’ fulfils both these purposes; they stop thinking and experience an amorphous, pervasive fear. In some cases they can easily resort to violence in response to this reaction. The really despicable aspect of this use of the label is that it is directed at those victims of the cult who have only recently escaped the abuses. For them the phrase stinks of menace and threat; exactly why the Rajavi’s choose to use it.
But for outsiders, clearly many are unable or unwilling to use their minds to think through the absurdity of this phrase. Or, maybe they don’t need to. Leo McCloskey surely wasn’t acting out of the goodness of his heart when he quoted the MEK phrase. In such crass cases, are we wrong to assume that pecuniary benefits most probably apply?
With the deployment of this thought-terminating cliché, Rajavi has effectively hung a ‘Do not Disturb’ sign on the closed door of Camp Liberty, while an apparently awestruck (by Rajavi’s genius no doubt) Western world tiptoes outside, afraid it too will be accused of being an ‘agent of the Iranian regime’.
Now Focus Attention Back On Rajavi’s Hostages In Camp Liberty
(MEK, MKO, Rajavi Cult)
.. In Iraq the estranged families of MEK members have maintained a vigil outside both Camp Ashraf – and now Camp Liberty – for nearly three years. These families have travelled to Iraq to try and get news of and contact with their loved ones who are being held hostage by the Rajavi cult. Massoud and Maryam Rajavi have imposed cruel conditions on their followers in which nobody is allowed to have contact with their families outside the cult without the permission of the leaders. The Americans in Iraq have done nothing to help these families reach their loved ones. Instead they have apparently done everything possible to prevent the dissolution of the MEK as a single entity, in spite of being informed of the cult nature of the group…
Anne Singleton, Iran Interlink, October 1, 2012
Among humanitarian organisations and the estranged families of MEK members there is a sense of relief now that the US sideshow of speculation over MEK terrorist listing and who the MEK’s financial backers are has blown over. It means that attention can now properly be returned to the situation of the MEK in Iraq where the urgent problem is how to restore basic human rights to the former MEK fighters trapped in Camp Liberty. Because although UN inspectors and Diplomatic representatives have attested to the more than acceptable living conditions in the temporary transit camp, the residents continue to be denied their basic human rights by the MEK leadership. Since 2003 the Americans have been complicit in allowing the MEK to mistreat the membership. Unfortunately this situation has continued at Camp Liberty to where all but a handful of the former Camp Ashraf residents have been relocated.
Massoud and Maryam Rajavi run a personality cult which dictates to the members that only they should be worshipped and adored. There is no room for other relations, even friendships. In the MEK, members are not even permitted to maintain a relationship with other family members inside the group, such as siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins. Relations between individuals is severely restricted and constantly monitored for infringements. This state of affairs is maintained through a harsh, unremitting regime of daily confessions with infringements – or sins – punished by an escalating system of public humiliation, beatings and isolation. In Camp Liberty residents are billeted six to a bungalow even though enough space has been allocated to allow for two per housing unit. The cult leaders insist on more than two people sharing as a means to prevent dissenting views from being discussed behind closed doors.
In Iraq the estranged families of MEK members have maintained a vigil outside both Camp Ashraf – and now Camp Liberty – for nearly three years. These families have travelled to Iraq to try and get news of and contact with their loved ones who are being held hostage by the Rajavi cult. Massoud and Maryam Rajavi have imposed cruel conditions on their followers in which nobody is allowed to have contact with their families outside the cult without the permission of the leaders.
The Americans in Iraq have done nothing to help these families reach their loved ones. Instead they have apparently done everything possible to prevent the dissolution of the MEK as a single entity, in spite of being informed of the cult nature of the group.
However, because the US terrorism list has no relevance in Iraq, the Government of Iraq will not change its stance because of this action. Indeed, no government of any colour would be able or willing to keep any MEK in Iraq because of its history of violence against Iraqi citizens.
Since the US government no longer regards the MEK as terrorists the Americans should now make a real effort to remove them from Iraq for their own wellbeing. The State Department claims that the MEK has publicly renounced violence – even though there is no evidence that the MEK leader Massoud Rajavi has made any verbal or documented declaration to this effect. (Who do the State Department thinks actually runs the MEK? Lawyers?) As such the MEK should be expected to fully decommission its military personnel and reconfigure its internal structure to allow it to pursue exclusively peaceful and democratic opposition activities against the governments of Iran and Iraq, and possibly Syria.
The burning question then is what the MEK will do with its redundant former fighters in Camp Liberty in Iraq? As avowed enemies of the Iranian government they must presumably take refuge in the West. To qualify as refugees they must renounce their membership of the MEK as a political entity. Logically this should not present any difficulty as they are no longer needed as fighters. (Because the MEK is now a peaceful organisation with no need for any personnel trained in violence or military/terrorist style activity.)
The first step is to open up Camp Liberty to the outside world, to the families and humanitarian NGOs which are waiting to offer help to the residents. The residents must be given access to external information sources, internet, television, telephones, print media, etc. Conditions must prevail such that each resident is able to enjoy freedom of movement in the camp, freedom of association in the camp, including between the genders, and freedom to contact their families. This would represent a first, yet vital, step toward solving the problem of the MEK in Iraq.