Whitney Webb, Mint Press News, May 14 2019:… The U.S. Department of Transportation is currently headed by Elaine Chao, who was paid $50,000 for a five-minute speech to the Iranian exile group, Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), known to actively seek regime change for Iran. Other top U.S. officials, such as Bolton, have also been paid hefty sums for appearances at MEK events, where they have openly advocated for the overthrow of the Iranian government. Elaine Chao, John Bolton paid by MEK, sending Americans to war
With the US-Iran War Ball Now Rolling, Could an “Accident” or “False Flag” Serve as Pretext?
Elaine Chao, John Bolton paid by MEK, sending Americans to war
Certain forces in the U.S. and Israel have been actively pushing for war with Iran for years and have a track record that demonstrates little inhibition about using an “accident” to start it.
by Whitney Webb
As tensions between the U.S. and Iran threaten to boil over, the probability of a provocation or “accident” that would provoke hostilities between the two countries is higher than ever. U.K. Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, openly stated as much on Monday, telling reporters in Brussels that the U.K. was worried of a conflict breaking out between the U.S. and Iran by “accident with an escalation that is unintended really on either side but ends with some kind of conflict.”
Yet, current and past events make it clear that such an “accidental” provocation is unlikely to be purely accidental in nature, as forces in the U.S. and Israel have been actively pushing for a U.S.-led war with Iran for years and have a track record that demonstrates little inhibition about using an “accident” or “false flag” to drag the country into a war with the Islamic Republic.
Notably, the state of Israel — in an event long since buried by the government and corporate media — has previously staged such a “false flag” by targeting an American naval vessel, killing 34 Americans, in order to blame the attack on Egypt and drag the U.S. into a war with several Middle Eastern nations in 1967. However, Israel is not alone in this, as the CIA as well as neo-conservatives serving in the Bush administration, led by then-Vice President Dick Cheney, have planned “false flags” that involved the murder of American servicemen and civilians in order to justify miltiary action against U.S. adversaries.
In this two-part series, MintPress explores the troubling evidence that preparations for another such “false flag” are well underway. In this first installment, current events in relation to U.S.-Iran relations and the role of Israel in the ratcheting up of tensions will be examined, while the second installment will focus on Israel’s past of conducting “false flags” to goad the U.S. into wars on Israel’s behalf as well as efforts by former Vice President Dick Cheney to conduct a “false flag” pitting American sailors against American sailors disguised as Iranian naval forces to justify a conflict with Iran.
Bolton, taking a page from Iraq 2003 playbook, sets ball rolling
Since National Security Advisor John Bolton sent out a dramatic press release announcing the deployment of a U.S. carrier strike group as a warning to Iran on May 5, tensions between the U.S. and Iran have risen dramatically, a development that Bolton — who has long advocated regime change and a pre-emptive war against Iran — likely welcomes. As MintPress recently reported, that press release was intentionally vague, allowing justification for a military response to any number of incidents, whether committed by Iran or alleged “proxies” of Iran, including groups over which Iran’s government has no control.
Furthermore, it has since been revealed that the “intelligence” Bolton used to frame the deployment and the rationale for future U.S. military action against Iran was from the Israeli government — which has long pushed the U.S. towards war with Iran. In addition, several unnamed U.S. officials stated soon after that Bolton and other Trump administration officials had greatly exaggerated the nature of this intelligence and overreacted. MintPress has noted on several occasions Bolton’s history of distorting intelligence to conform with a specific narrative or in order to promote specific policy actions and this tendency of Bolton’s was also recently noted in a New Yorker profile on the current National Security Advisor.
It was subsequently revealed that a few days prior to Bolton’s press release, Bolton had made a “highly unusual” visit to CIA headquarters to discuss Iran. NBC News reported that the “extremely rare” choice to hold this meeting at the CIA instead of the White House’s Situation Room likely meant that the purpose of the meeting was “to brief top officials on highly sensitive covert actions, either the results of existing operations or options for new ones,” based on statements from five former CIA operations officers and military officials.
That meeting, as noted by the political and financial news site ZeroHedge, “hearkens back to the Bush-Cheney White House’s direct intervention over Iraq intelligence in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion, which involved the VP and his staff making multiple personal visits to CIA headquarters and the Pentagon to pressure the intel analysts into conforming to a preferred ‘narrative.’” Yet, the emphasis on “covert actions” in relation to Iran suggests that something much more sinister may be afoot.
Indeed, in the weeks since that press release and the “highly unusual” CIA meeting, the U.S. has deployed more military assets towards the Persian Gulf and Secretary of State Pompeo has made several abrupt schedule changes in order to discuss Iran with various countries. Notably, the Trump administration has also announced the end of waivers that have allowed some foreign companies to continue buying Iranian oil without facing U.S. sanctions.
The situation has forced Iran to respond, with Iran announcing that it would begin withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal — which the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from over a year ago — as the U.S.’ economic war against Iran shoots to another level.
Perhaps most telling of all is the fact that Western media, particularly U.S. media, have been heavily promoting the Iranian “threat” since soon after Bolton’s Mary 5 press release, in yet another striking parallel to the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Yet, particularly notable in this case is that much of the “intelligence” that has been used to justify these recent moves by the Trump administration has come from Israel’s government, led by the recently re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose desire to goad the U.S. into a war with Iran is an open secret.
One potential pretext already in play in the Persian Gulf
On Sunday, reports surfaced that several oil tankers were the victims of “sabotage” while sailing towards the Persian Gulf near Fujairah, one of the seven emirates that comprise the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is located just outside the Strait of Hormuz. Fujairah’s government initially denied that any “sabotage” took place and maintained that its port facilities were operating normally after media reports from Iranian outlet PressTV and Lebanese outlet Mayadeen reported on a series of “explosions” on unidentified ships in the area.
The UAE’s foreign ministry later confirmed an incident in the area but said no casualties or spills occurred and notably did not provide details as to the number or nationalities of the ships involved nor the groups responsible for the alleged attack.
However, Saudi Arabia subsequently claimed that its tankers had been affected by this act of “sabotage” and that the targeted tankers had been approaching the Strait of Hormuz on route to load oil destined for the United States. Saudi Arabia, like the UAE, did not blame any country for the attack. A Norwegian-registered oil tanker experienced hull damage after striking “an unknown object,” potentially suggesting the attack was caused by an explosion of a sea mine or the result of a torpedo or other projectile launched underwater. Notably, the U.S., U.K. and France held a “mine warfare drill” in the Persian Gulf just last month and past Western media reports have characterized sea mines as “Iran’s favorite military asset.”
Iran rejected any responsibility for the attack and Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi warned against a “conspiracy orchestrated by ill-wishers” and “adventurism by foreigners.”
However, the timing of the sabotage came right on the heels of statements made by the U.S. and Israeli governments that have led some to blame Iran or suggest Iranian responsibility for the attacks — despite the lack of evidence made public and the decision by both the Saudis and Emiratis, long-time adversaries of Iran, from blaming any country for the incident or describing any specifics about the attack.
This past Thursday, the U.S. Maritime Administration — a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation — stated that “Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels, including oil tankers, or U.S. military vessels in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait or the Persian Gulf.” The U.S. Department of Transportation is currently headed by Elaine Chao, who was paid $50,000 for a five-minute speech to the Iranian exile group, Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), known to actively seek regime change for Iran. Other top U.S. officials, such as Bolton, have also been paid hefty sums for appearances at MEK events, where they have openly advocated for the overthrow of the Iranian government.
In addition to warning from a U.S. department headed by an official with links to an Iranian opposition group actively seeking regime change, Israeli officials “leaked” information on Israel’s Channel 13 on Saturday that Iran was allegedly planning to target Saudi oil assets in the region. According to the unsourced report, as cited by the Times of Israel, the Iranians were “considering various aggressive acts” against American assets or those of its regional allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel. The report also claimed that Iran had considered targeting American bases in the Gulf, but rejected it as too drastic and instead had decided to target “Saudi oil production facilities.”
In light of recent events, as well as the corporate media’s willingness to suggest Iranian culpability despite little to no publicly available evidence, it appears that this recent attack — regardless of who was responsible — could be seized upon by officials in the U.S. or Israel eager to see tensions between the U.S. and Iran escalate.
Netanyahu: “America is easily moved”
It is an open secret that Israel’s government, particularly under Netanyahu, has been eager to see the U.S. engage in hostilities with Iran. The main driver for this is the fact that, while Israel has since forged alliances with several Arab-majority nations such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, Iran and its regional allies — namely Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Syria — oppose Israeli objectives for the region and those of its allies. More crucially, Iran is arguably the country that is most supportive of Palestine and the major barrier to Netanyahu’s plans to annex Palestine’s occupied West Bank, a promise on which Netanyahu rode to reelection last month. Now more than ever, Netanyahu wants Iran’s government out of the way.
Netanyahu has openly stated that he views the U.S. government as a vehicle for fulfilling Israeli objectives and believes that Americans are easily manipulated, by Israel in particular. For instance, in a video recorded in the early 2000s — later broadcast on Israeli TV and subsequently reported on by Consortium News — Netanyahu “brags about how he deceived President Bill Clinton into believing he [Netanyahu] was helping implement the Oslo accords when he was actually destroying them. The tape displays a contemptuous attitude toward, and wonderment at, a malleable America so easily influenced by Israel.”
In the video, Netanyahu states:
America is something that can be easily moved. Moved in the right direction. They won’t get in our way; 80 percent of the Americans support us. It’s absurd.”
Israeli journalist Gideon Levy later asserted that the video reveals Netanyahu to be “a con artist who thinks that Washington is in his pocket and that he can pull the wool over its eyes” and that the current Israeli prime minister’s attitude is unlikely to “change over the years.”
Now, with the Trump administration having shown its willingness to favor Israeli interests in the Middle East, Netanyahu has apparently sensed that the hour has come to push the U.S. towards war with Iran. For instance, the Trump administration organized a summit aimed at securing “peace and security in the Middle East,” to which Iran was not invited. The New York Timesdescribed that summit as follows:
…Leaders of Israel and Arab states met publicly again, at an international conference in Warsaw staged by the Trump administration. But the goal of this meeting, drawing officials of some 60 nations, was not peacemaking. It was to rally support for economic and political war with Iran, for which the United States has found little enthusiasm among allies since withdrawing from the 2015 deal that restricts Iran’s nuclear program.”
Notably, during that meeting, Netanyahu wrote in a since deleted tweet that the summit was “an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran.”
In the wake of the Warsaw summit, Netanyahu has since claimed that he was responsible for the Trump administration’s decision to label Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terror group, a move that dramatically increased the risk of a military confrontation between the U.S. and Iran, especially given that Iran subsequently responded by declaring the U.S. military’s Central Command a terrorist organization.
Now, with Netanyahu feeding Bolton “intelligence” that Bolton has greatly exaggerated in order to justify their common goal — a U.S. war with Iran — and also “predicting” dubious “sabotage” attacks near the Persian Gulf, Israel’s government has revealed itself to be a driving force behind the spiking tensions between the two countries.
Equally troubling is the fact that world leaders are now openly positing that an “accident” or “false flag” provocation will be used to provoke such hostilities.
For Netanyahu, it’s now or never for a U.S.-Iran war
With the Iran nuclear deal in tatters, one consequence of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran has been to push Iran to renege on aspects of the deal, from which the U.S. has already long since withdrawn. The goal, by all appearances, is to use Iran’s plan to breach parts of the deal as justification for further aggressive actions against the country by claiming that such breaches, instead of a response to U.S.-led economic warfare, are a sign of an intention to develop nuclear weapons.
With waivers for the purchases of Iranian oil now ending and Iran’s president announcing that Iran will end compliance with some aspects of the deal if Europeans do not find a meaningful workaround for U.S. sanctions, the Trump administration — and the Iran hawks within — seem to have their ducks in a row.
While there has long been concern about a U.S.-Iran conflict, several situations have arisen that have made this push for a regime-change conflict with Iran of extreme importance to both U.S. and Israeli interests in the region.
For instance, Syria’s government is set to take the Idlib province, after which Syria will turn its attention towards the Israel-controlled Golan Heights and the U.S.-occupied area of northeastern Syria. Israel was revealed to be the “brains” behind the Syria conflict and has been actively preparing for hostilities with Syria and nearby Lebanon since last year, following the failure to overthrow Syria’s government. Syria holds a mutual defense pact with Iran, meaning that it will join a conflict with Iran if Iran is threatened, thus preventing Syria’s government from focusing its efforts on retaking areas occupied by the U.S. and Israel.
If the U.S. and Israel wait until Syria consolidates control over Idlib, they will be facing a much stronger adversary in Iran’s closest regional ally than one distracted by a pocket of Al Qaeda-dominated terrorist groups in its north.
Yet, the clearest indicator that the push for war is very much in earnest is the intention of Netanyahu to effectively destroy Palestine. Several analysts, including ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern, have long maintained that Israel’s and Netanyahu’s main reason for wanting a war with Iran is to “have Iran bloodied the same way we did to Iraq” so that Iran “would no longer be able to support Hamas and Hezbollah in Gaza, Lebanon, and elsewhere.” In other words, Netanyahu wants Iran out of the picture so it can no longer provide material or financial support to groups that resist Israeli occupation.
Having won reelection in part because of his promise to annex the occupied West Bank, Netanyahu worries that Iran and its regional allies will strongly oppose that annexation and may even go to war over it, particularly if the fate of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem is threatened. Now, with the Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century” also set to be made public in less than a month, that deal’s push to enable the annexation is also threatened by the regional bloc led by Iran that still supports Palestine. If Netanyahu is able to eliminate Iran as a regional power, he will have eliminated the greatest single threat to both his plans for complete annexation and the enactment of the Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century.”
With top officials in the U.S. government and much of the media failing to push back, Netanyahu finally has a window of opportunity — albeit one that is shrinking — to push the U.S. to war with Iran and it appears that he, along with his allies in the Trump administration, plans on taking it.
As Part II of this series will show, Israel’s government and Bush-era neo-conservatives have a track record of enacting and planning “false flag” attacks to embroil the U.S. in foreign wars and that playbook would include provoking the U.S. into a war with Iran.
Feature photo | The U.S. Navy, the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group transits the Suez Canal in Egypt en route to the Persian Gulf, May 9, 2019. U.S. Navy via AP
Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.
Elaine Chao, John Bolton paid by MEK, sending Americans to war
link to one of the Mojahedin Khalq songs
advocating terror and killing Americans
(In Persian written and distributed after the Iranian Revolution)
Sixty MKO (MEK, Rajavi Cult) members nabbed last year in single province
Tasnim News, Tehran, April 25 2019:… The MKO or MEK – listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community – fled Iran in 1986 for Iraq and was given a camp by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. They fought on the side of Saddam during the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-88). They were also involved in the bloody repression of Shiite Muslims in southern Iraq in 1991 and the massacre of Iraqi Kurds.
Iranian Official: 60 MKO Members Nabbed in Single Province Last Year
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An Iranian intelligence official said the security forces in the northwestern province of East Azarbaijan arrested 60 elements that had links with the terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) last year.
Head of the Intelligence Ministry’s office in East Azarbaijan province said the intelligence forces have arrested a number of spies and infiltrators in the provincial organizations.
He also noted that the MKO terrorist group intensified its efforts in the previous year to take advantage of the economic woes in Iran, adding that 60 elements affiliated with the MKO’s leading members have been arrested.
The detainees had plans to acquire arms and carry out terrorist operations, he added.
The MKO or MEK – listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community – fled Iran in 1986 for Iraq and was given a camp by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
They fought on the side of Saddam during the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-88). They were also involved in the bloody repression of Shiite Muslims in southern Iraq in 1991 and the massacre of Iraqi Kurds.
The notorious group is also responsible for killing thousands of Iranian civilians and officials after the victory of the Islamic revolution in 1979.
More than 17,000 Iranians, many of them civilians, have been killed at the hands of the MKO in different acts of terrorism including bombings in public places, and targeted killings.
Iran dismantles CIA backed MEK cells
Mehr News and Tasnim News, Tehran, April 21 2019:… Over the past year, the intelligence forces managed to identify and smash 144 Takfiri terrorist teams, 116 cells linked to the terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO or MEK), 44 anti-revolutionary groups, and 380 drug rings, Alawi said, addressing a congregation of worshippers in Tehran on Friday.
1- Intelligence Ministry identifies CIA network in Iran, region
Mehr News, Tehran, April 21 2019:
Link to the source
TEHRAN, Apr. 19 (MNA) – Iran’s intelligence forces have managed to discover a CIA’s espionage network in the country and in the region, said Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi on Friday.
“In a complicated process against the US Central Intelligence Agency, its espionage network was identified with 290 spies in different countries, including Iran,” he said, adding that the information was offered to friend countries which led to arrest of CIA agents.
He made the remarks before the start of Tehran’s Friday prayers while briefing the nation about achievements of Intelligence Ministry.
The forces have also given a similar blow to UK’s MI6, he highlighted, noting that details of both these operations will be announced soon.
Alavi went on to say that dozens of spies who had been working in the country’s sensitive sections have been identified and arrested.
In the past [Iranian calendar] year 1397 (March 2018-March 2019), intelligence forces have dismantled 114 Takfiri terrorist teams, 116 circles related to MKO, 44 anti-Revolution teams, and 380 drug smuggling bands, he added.
Furthermore, the ministry has neutralized 188 operations, he noted, adding that the last of which was carried out in the south of the country, leading to the arrest of 4 individuals and seizing 15,000 Ak47 bullets.
2- Iran’s Intelligence Forces Smash 114 Takfiri Terrorist Teams Last Year: Minister
Tasnim News, Tehran, April 21 2019:.
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran’s Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alawi highlighted the achievements of the country’s security forces over the last Iranian calendar year (March 21, 2018 – March 20, 2019) and said 114 Takfiri terrorist teams were identified and disbanded during the period.
Over the past year, the intelligence forces managed to identify and smash 144 Takfiri terrorist teams, 116 cells linked to the terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO or MEK), 44 anti-revolutionary groups, and 380 drug rings, Alawi said, addressing a congregation of worshippers in Tehran on Friday.
He added that in the period, 188 operations by the mentioned groups have been thwarted, during the last of which, four culprits were arrested in southwestern parts of the country and 15,000 bullets of AK-47 weapons were captured from them.
The minister went on to say that the Islamic Republic’s intelligence forces have also identified and foiled hundreds of attempts by foreign intelligence services to employ people as spies.
Dozens of spies recruited by the foreign intelligence services have been identified in “the sensitive centers” of the country and have been referred to the Judiciary, Alawi said, adding that these moves by the Intelligence Ministry has astonished and confused the foreign spy agencies.
In recent years, the Middle East has been plagued with Takfiri terrorist groups like Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL), which are believed to have been created and supported by the West and some regional Arab countries.
However, Iran is considered by many experts as the “island of stability” in a region which faces many security challenges.
In August 2016, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei highlighted the strong security in Iran despite crises and insecurity in the region.
“Thank God and through the appreciated efforts and endeavors of the military and security forces, the country enjoys a strong security shield while regional countries are filled with incidents and insecurity,” the Leader said.
It’s a mistake to treat the MEK as a normal opposition group
Anne Khodabandeh, Iran Interlink, February 27 2019:… It is a mistake to approach the MEK as a normal opposition. Indeed, quoting MEK members is like giving a platform to Flat Earthers or Creationists. It is not balanced reporting. The MEK is a unique entity. Not an opposition, not a ‘group’ or ‘organization’, descriptions which imply a certain kind of accountable system and order.
It’s a mistake to treat the MEK as a normal opposition group
When reporter Luisa Hommerich wrote her investigative piece in Der Spiegel titled ‘Prisoners of Their Own Rebellion – The Cult-like Group Fighting Iran’, which exposes the grim situation for MEK members, I doubt she was expecting death threats to follow. After all, she was just doing her job. But that is exactly what the MEK reaction was. A Farsi language statement (written and published in Europe) promised her assassination. Nice.
Of course, for those who already know the MEK, this is not surprising. A timely reminder that the MEK cannot disown its past and cannot stop repeating its past, came in an interview with Nabi Ahamadi, who escaped the cult in Albania recently. Ahmadi was a close friend of Malik Sharai who was killed by MEK in June last year. He confirmed that Sharai was one of the few remaining witnesses to the mysterious death of 53 MEK members in Camp Ashraf, Iraq. He also confirmed that Sharai had asked to leave the group but was then held in solitary isolation before being physically eliminated by the MEK leaders. As a trained swimmer, Ahamdi says it is implausible that he drowned as MEK claim.
Another example is the suspicious assassination of Mohammad Reza Kolahi – the bomber of the Jomhouri Party headquarters in 1981 who was killed in the Netherlands in 2015. After he left the MEK Kolahi was always going to be a liability. He knew too much. So, why is nobody asking Maryam Rajavi about this convenient death?
One reason of course is that the MEK leader Maryam Rajavi refuses to engage with journalists, investigators, researchers. Anyone in fact who might get to the truth about her organization. Indeed, Hommerich did her job thoroughly, as did the journalists of Aljazeera, The Guardian, Independent, Channel 4 News, NBC and other down the years (there is a very long list). They all asked the MEK to give their side, to comment on their findings and to have a voice. The MEK called them all agents of the Iranian intelligence services and refused to talk.
Former MEK members Gholamreza Shekari and Hassan Heyrani from Albania, who were interviewed for the Der Spiegel article, revealed that not only did the MEK refuse Hommerich’s request for interviews, they sent armed guards to prevent her getting near to Camp Ashraf 3 in Manez. This is not the response of a normal political opposition. Issuing death threats to journalists is not the response of a normal political opposition. But then, there’s nothing normal at all about an opposition universally hated by their own people, inside and outside Iran.
It is a mistake to approach the MEK as a normal opposition. Indeed, quoting MEK members is like giving a platform to Flat Earthers or Creationists. It is not balanced reporting. The MEK is a unique entity. Not an opposition, not a ‘group’ or ‘organization’, descriptions which imply a certain kind of accountable system and order.
Hommerich asked to speak with someone from the MEK (NCRI) but they did not reply. Instead, she spoke with some of the many defectors who have escaped. Their stories do not differ much from the testimony of other former members over thirty years: the MEK is a cult that routinely and systematically abuses the human rights of its whole membership. According to 50-year-old Gholamreza Shekari, this is achieved through ‘lies, manipulation and fear’; a methodology known as Cultic Abuse.
For the record, the MEK is a cult. Maryam Rajavi keeps slaves. It is that simple.
Maryam Rajavi (Mojahedin Khalq, MEK leader) just doesn’t get it does she
Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton), February 10 2019:… Her desperate efforts to stay visible – parading on stage in glamorous outfits before paid speakers and audience – expose her ego rather than her leadership. As de facto leader of the MEK, Rajavi has successfully carved out a niche for the mercenary MEK in the anti-Iran front – acting out the silent wishes of America, Israel and Saudi Arabia, who might proclaim an interest in regime change against Iran, but who cannot necessarily do the dirty deeds. By continually insisting on her propaganda events she is overstepping her mandate: the MEK’s role is to get paid, do the work, then disappear.
Maryam Rajavi (Ideological leader of Mojahedin Khalq, MEK) just doesn’t get it does she
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has invited several of what are known as Iran’s ‘fake opposition’ to his Middle East summit in Warsaw on 13-14 February. (A thinly disguised Iran bashing fest!). But Rajavi is being kept at arms’ length, a barge pole’s length even. She has not been invited.
To be clear, Maryam Rajavi is notorious inside the MEK to be jealous and throw tyrannical temper tantrums. No doubt she reacted similarly to the photograph of Pompeo posing alongside the much younger controversial ‘activist’ Masih Alinejad circulating in social media. Though, apparently, these days just about anybody except Rajavi can have their picture taken with Pompeo.
Rajavi’s actions indicate that she really doesn’t understand why this is. Her desperate efforts to stay visible – parading on stage in glamorous outfits before paid speakers and audience – expose her ego rather than her leadership. As de facto leader of the MEK, Rajavi has successfully carved out a niche for the mercenary MEK in the anti-Iran front – acting out the silent wishes of America, Israel and Saudi Arabia, who might proclaim an interest in regime change against Iran, but who cannot necessarily do the dirty deeds. By continually insisting on her propaganda events she is overstepping her mandate: the MEK’s role is to get paid, do the work, then disappear.
Rajavi is not invited to Warsaw because, quite frankly, she and her organization stink. The smell of terrorism, murder, crime and corruption cling to the MEK in spite of all the group’s efforts to whitewash, re-write, lobby and otherwise hide their past and present. No other fake opposition is as dirty and untrustworthy as the MEK. No other fake opposition keeps its members as slaves and kills dissenters. No other fake opposition commits false flag ops to blame on Iran and destroy trust.
So, while western media is reluctant to delve deeper into what the MEK are actually capable of, the security services which advise those governments who turn a blind eye to this activity are fully aware of Maryam Rajavi’s weaknesses. The fact she is prepared to sell her homeland for dollars means she is just as easily capable of selling another country for Rials when the time comes!
Anne Khodabandeh, Open Minds, De-Radicalisation Consultant, PHOTO-EXHIBITION in Bruxelles
(International Terrorism Mojahedin Khalq, MEK, NCRI, Rajavi cult)
Albanian students! Go to Paris! Don’t let your political leaders take all the MEK freebies!
Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) leader Maryam Rajavi must have been furious that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo didn’t invite her to his Middle East summit in Poland on 13-14 February. What did she expect? Did she assume that as the ‘president elect of the main opposition to Iran’ she would have a seat at the table. Just like Ahmed Chalabi had before Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
The Americans may have used the MEK to manufacture a fake Iranian terrorism threat to scare the European Union with but they don’t support her or her cult.
Either she has misunderstood the MEK’s role as a mercenary force – get paid, do the work, then disappear – or she is wilfully doing more than she’s paid for. Either way, Rajavi, the queen of propaganda, will make sure she is not ignored and the MEK at least looks relevant in the regime change game against Iran.
Maryam Rajavi announced a rally in Paris to be held on February 8th. The only problem, where to find an audience. In typical MEK fashion, top members were immediately dispatched to Camp Manez in Albania to charge up the ancient residents there as if they were going on a military adventure. They are not what is needed though. The members are too old, sick and despondent to wave a flag and cheer, more importantly they do not have ID papers or travel documents to get to Paris.
Instead, MEK members are on an intensive recruitment drive to gather as many Albanians as possible to travel to Paris for the rally as a show of popular support. There is nothing new in this. For two decades the MEK has had to bus in paid rent-a-crowd extras because its own supporters and members have abandoned the cult in such great numbers.
According to on the ground sources in Albania, the MEK is targeting youth, especially students from rural areas. Here is the offer:
A free 4-5 day trip to Paris with free air ticket, free transport, free hotel and free food. The Albanians will also be given a free bus ride to take them to the Tati store for shopping where they can buy clothes, umbrellas and shoes at dirt cheap prices.
The only condition: They must attend the conference. But even there they will enjoy free coffee breaks, free lunch and free soft drinks and cakes.
At this point you may expect this blogger to tut and warn against such bribery and deception. But no. If Albania’s political class and its media are happy to take money and favours from Rajavi, why not her citizens. Why should Pandeli Majko and Elona Gjebrea and a lot of others take advantage of the MEK’s generosity, and not the poor citizens of the country.
Students should accept the MEK offer. Take a free break in Paris. Go to the MEK gathering; you won’t be interested, but you can take a book or magazine to read, or catch up with your course work while you are there!
Nobody who knows anything about the MEK will be fooled into thinking that you are Iranian, or that you have any knowledge of, or support for the group. Go. Enjoy yourselves. Don’t let your corrupt leaders get all the freebies.
Bolton/Pompeo used MEK to prep the table for Warsaw summit against EU interests
Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton), Balkans Post, January 27 2019:… The Poland summit is an indication that top officials in the Trump administration like former CIA chief Mike Pompeo and Trump’s Security Advisor John Bolton now feel confident they can create Trump’s foreign policy for him. The MEK’s use as a regime change tool is not new, but it was a speech made by John Bolton (before he was appointed Security Advisor) at the 2017 MEK rally in Paris that first indicated that his advocacy for using the MEK for regime change against Iran had a timeline.
Bolton/Pompeo used MEK to prep the table for Warsaw summit against EU interests
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s global summit in Warsaw on 13 and 14 February to discuss Middle East issues was greeted with scepticism. It was widely interpreted as a thinly veiled excuse to talk about Iran. And because Iran was not invited, the agenda could only be hostile.
But while it is acknowledged that Pompeo wants to build consensus against Iran, it is also understood that Pompeo’s first target is the European Union. Efforts to get the EU to withdraw from the JCPOA have already failed. This time, Pompeo hopes his approach will undermine the unity and integrity of the European Union itself. There are already divisions. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini has rejected the invitation. But European countries which may send representatives are those – Denmark, Belgium and Holland – which have allegedly been targeted by Iran for terrorist acts.
Manufactured threat to Europe
The Poland summit is an indication that top officials in the Trump administration like former CIA chief Mike Pompeo and Trump’s Security Advisor John Bolton now feel confident they can create Trump’s foreign policy for him.
Pompeo will come to Poland with a list of grievances against Iran, including human rights violations, destabilising the region, terrorism and of course, Iran’s ballistic missile programme. Some grievances are subject to interpretation – Iran of course is in Syria at the invitation of Bashar al Assad. Iran’s success in driving back Daesh in Syria and Iraq is undisputable. However, there is evidence that some grievances have been manufactured to deliberately demonise Iran. From its closed base in Albania, the Iranian Mojahedin Khalq (aka MEK, MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult) been busy behind the scenes for over two years creating a false narrative designed to persuade European politicians that Iran is a threat to Europe.
The MEK’s use as a regime change tool is not new, but it was a speech made by John Bolton (before he was appointed Security Advisor) at the 2017 MEK rally in Paris that first indicated that his advocacy for using the MEK for regime change against Iran had a timeline. “Before 2019”, he told his audience, “we here will celebrate in Tehran”. Others chimed in; Albania’s former prime minister Pandeli Majko boasted that he would eat ice cream with the MEK in Tehran after they conquered Iran. As 2018 passed into 2019 commentators mocked. However, the idea of an active plan wasn’t picked up until last week when it was revealed that Bolton was doing everything within his power to push for President Trump to launch a military attack on Iran. The dots now begin to join up.
Regime Change Timetable
John Bolton is a long-term paid cheerleader for the MEK. He did not hesitate to visit them when they arrived in Albania to give them his blessing. And also, it seems, to enable their activities. In the Autumn of 2017, the MEK were given the green light to evade the de-radicalisation programme agreed by the Obama administration and regroup in a closed camp 30km from the capital where the cultic conditions of Iraq could be replicated.
Inside the camp the MEK were helped to create a click farm, using the slave labour of the members, to create and curate an online narrative concerning Iran to shape public and political perception on human rights, terrorism, nuclear intentions, etc.
In March 2018, the MEK made a false allegation against two retired Iranian journalists. They were invited to Albania to celebrate Norouz or Persian New Year by religious leader Baba Mundi and the Bektashi community. The MEK told police they were there to kill MEK members in their remote camp. Albanian police found no evidence and apologised to the men and the religious community. But the MEK narrative has been repeated so many times that it has taken on the aspect of fact. Indeed, it has now taken on the aspect of a ‘super-fact’ as faked embellishments to the story have been added; “A truck loaded with explosives was set to attack 3,000 members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) who are refugees in Albania, the dissident faction explained..”
In April 2018, the MEK the suspicious death of a troublesome member was a reminder that the MEK has a history of eliminating its members to whitewash its past. The impunity with which the MEK can act has transferred from Iraq to Albania because the MEK is protected by America. The Albanians do not have authority over the MEK in their own country.
In July 2018, just after the MEK held its annual propaganda rally in Paris to promote its regime change agenda an alleged assassination plot was immediately blamed on Iran. Iran however denied responsibility and called it a false flag op aimed at alienating the EU. Iranian media published information that two of those involved were long-term MEK supporters.
MEK are untrustworthy
With this background, it is hardly surprising that while anti-Iran pundits are happy to take money to promote the MEK as the main opposition, its leader Maryam Rajavi has not been invited to the summit in Poland. Not only would that ensure a total boycott, but Rajavi herself cannot answer for the criminal and subversive activities of her group. Instead of staying in the shadows though, Maryam Rajavi has insisted on holding her own propaganda rally in Paris on the 8th February, desperate to maintain the fiction that the MEK is relevant and popular and that it is the key to regime change.
Pompeo may echo this message but will fall short of promoting the MEK. The real reason for keeping the MEK at arms-length is not just because it is too dirty, but because ultimately the MEK cannot be trusted. The rally on 8th February is an example of the MEK doing its own thing. It may be a paid mercenary group but Rajavi doesn’t know when to stop. The Intelligence community knows the MEK. It is a group which will take money to kill Iranians. It is a group which may also, one day, take money to kill Americans. It would be disastrous for any government to share a platform with such people and Albania should follow America’s example; keep the MEK at a distance.
Anne Khodabandeh, is an expert in anti-terrorist activities and a long-standing activist in the field of deradicalization of extremists. She has written several articles and books on this subject, along with her husband, who is of Iranian origin.
Mattis and Our Bankrupt Iran Policy
Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, January 14 2019:… Bolton also distrusts multilateral agreements and has close ties with the Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK, an Iranian opposition group with a past history of assassinating American citizens.The other survivor so far of Trump’s reality show administration is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. A self-described “counterpuncher,” Pompeo, who replaced the more moderate and less Iran-phobic …
Mattis and Our Bankrupt Iran Policy
James Mattis’ tenure at the Pentagon ends today. Sina Azodi and Barbara Slavin consider what his departure could mean for the future of Iran policy:
The retired Marine general had policy differences with the president about Iran as well. While a supporter of containment, Mattis advocated remaining within the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). His departure tilts the balance in Trump’s national security team in favor of more hawkish individuals who have openly advocated regime change as the ultimate solution to US differences with the Islamic Republic.
When Mattis resigned, I warned that his successor would likely be more of a yes-man and less willing or able to restrain the president’s belligerent tendencies. That might seem like a strange thing to say until we remember that Mattis was responsible for curbing the president’s desire for a much larger military response against the Syrian government in the spring of this year, and according to some accounts he was a major obstacle to an attack on North Korea in 2017. Trump supporters have been quick to credit the president for de-escalation and limited intervention that happened because Mattis restrained him, and they have been equally swift in shifting blame for his escalations of other wars to the people around him. Mattis was unwilling to end our current pointless and illegal wars, but it is also true that he was responsible for keeping Trump from starting new ones.
Mattis shared the administration’s Iran obsession to an alarming degree, but as Azodi and Slavin point out his departure removes one of the only counterweights inside the administration to the much more rabid Persophobes in Bolton and Pompeo. It could also mean one less obstacle inside the administration to an attack on Iran that Bolton and Pompeo have wanted for many years. Azodi and Slavin continue:
Left atop Trump’s national security team is national security adviser, John Bolton, a so-called “offensive realist” who has long pushed for bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities. Bolton also distrusts multilateral agreements and has close ties with the Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK, an Iranian opposition group with a past history of assassinating American citizens.
The other survivor so far of Trump’s reality show administration is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. A self-described “counterpuncher,” Pompeo, who replaced the more moderate and less Iran-phobic Rex Tillerson, has also suggested in the past that US should consider attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities.
U.S. forces may be withdrawn from Syria in the coming year (or maybe they won’t be), but that doesn’t mean that war with Iran has become less likely.
Mesissa Etehad, LA Times, January 13 2019:… MEK, is a shadowy organization with a militant past. Up until 2012, it was deemed a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. Led by a husband-and-wife power couple — Massoud and Maryam Rajavi — the group was sheltered and armed by Saddam Hussein for nearly 20 years. Known for its female-led military units, the MEK was disarmed after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Massoud Rajavi went missing …Elaine Chao, John Bolton paid by MEK, sending Americans to war
Tehran times and Mehr News, Tehran, January 12 2019:… Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted to be behind murder plot allegations. Mojahedin Khalq terrorist group (MKO/MEK/ Maryam Rajavi cult) and Al-Ahvaziya group how took responsibility for the latest terror attack in Iran are free in Europe. Last summer, they held their held their annual forum in Paris with the presence of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, calling for regime change in Iran. The MKO listed as a terrorist organisation by much of the international… Elaine Chao, John Bolton paid by MEK, sending Americans to war
Iran Interlink, January 11 2019:… There were two more deaths this week in Albania. Every week two or three members are dying. On one side it can be put down to their age, but on the other hand some deaths are suspicious. There is no oversight or inspections to find out what happened to them. We have only to accept what MEK say about them. Behzad Massoudi, who died this week, was with MEK for over forty years. Everyone who knows him says he had no illness as the MEK claim. But he was a critic during all his time with them …Elaine Chao, John Bolton paid by MEK, sending Americans to war
Press TV, January 09 2019:… The Leader was referring to comments by US National Security Adviser John Bolton. “Before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran,” Bolton told an MKO meeting in July 2017. Ayatollah Khamenei said, “Christmas was a few days ago. This is how US calculations work.” “Some US officials pretend that they are mad. Of course I don’t agree with that. Rather, they are first-class idiots,”… Elaine Chao, John Bolton paid by MEK, sending Americans to war
Nejat Society, January 09 2019:… “In 1989 a team of MKO recruiters headed by Mehdi Abrishamchi launched their propaganda in the POW’s camps to recruit us,” Mohammadian writes in his statement of defection. “Together with some other Iranian prisoners, I joined them but, soon I found out that their propaganda was completely false”. He witnessed an immoral, undemocratic and inhuman atmosphere in the group. It was like the collapse of …Elaine Chao, John Bolton paid by MEK, sending Americans to war
Press TV, January 08 2019:… “Europeans, incl Denmark, Holland & France, harbor MEK—who killed 12000 Iranians & abetted Saddam’s crimes against Iraqi Kurds—as well as other terrorists staging murder of innocent Iranians from Europe. Accusing Iran won’t absolve Europe of responsibility for harbouring terrorists,” Zarif said in a post on his official Twitter account. Iran’s top… Elaine Chao, John Bolton paid by MEK, sending Americans to war
Nejat Society, January 08 2019:… When approached in person, Amnesty International officials have not accepted responsibility for the content of this report and have instead referred complainants to the authors and asked them to send their complaints to the writers directly, which is quite odd. Amnesty International did not deny the role of the MEK and Shadi Sadr. One of the …