Sean Nevins, Mint Press News, January 22 2015:… While the world’s eyes are focused on ISIS [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] and rising tensions in the Middle East, a former terrorist group from Iran is tromping through the halls of Congress, and garnering support from some of America’s most powerful and prominent politicians and officials …
link to one of the Mojahedin Khalq songs
advocating terror and killing Americans
(In Persian, After Iranian revolution)
VIDEO: How To Stop Being Terrorists: A Guide For ISIS, Courtesy Of The MEK (Mojahedin Khalq, Rajavi cult)
An Iranian group shows that as long as you stop being violent, it’s possible to gain supporters in the U.S. government and get removed from the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list — especially if your end-game is to overthrow the current Iran regime and take over.
WASHINGTON — While the world’s eyes are focused on ISIS [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] and rising tensions in the Middle East, a former terrorist group from Iran is tromping through the halls of Congress, and garnering support from some of America’s most powerful and prominent politicians and officials.
Speaker: “Howard Dean, Ed Rendell, Patrick Kennedy, and many others.”
The group is the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran, or the MEK, in its Persian acronym. It was taken off of the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations list [in 2012] after demonstrating that it had not been engaged in terrorist activities for the last 10 years.
The group is led by Massoud Rajavi, who has been in hiding since 2003, when the United States and Britain invaded Iraq, and Maryam Rajavi, who acts as the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the group’s political wing.
According to the FBI, the MEK murdered American citizens in Iran during the 1970s, allied with the ayatollahs to help overthrow the Iranian government, participated in the American embassy hostage crisis in 1979, and teamed up with Saddam Hussein to fight their own countrymen during the Iran-Iraq War.
They are responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iranians and a campaign of bombings, assassinations, and military attacks, as well as collusion with Iraq.
The goal of the group now is to overthrow the current Iranian regime and take power for themselves.
So how does a group go from being one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in the world to having an office on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., with backing from the likes of the former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton and former Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, among many others?
CNN: “There’s been a lot of pressure in the United States both from the group and from its supporters in Congress, and very high-paid former officials speaking on their behalf to delist the group.”
In 2011, groups around the country acting as front organizations for the MEK — including the Iranian American Community of Northern California — hired lobbyists to help remove the MEK from the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list.
They recruited the likes of Howard Dean, who is a former Democratic presidential candidate; Michael Hayden, the former CIA director; Newt Gingrich, who is the former Speaker of the House; and the lobbying firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, among many others. They [MEK] often paid five-figure speaker fees to individuals, and six figures to the firms lobbying on their behalf.
Jeremiah Goulka: “They’re just thorough PR jobs, that do a very good job of making lawyer-like arguments based on taking very nit-picky looks at wording.”
That’s Jeremiah Goulka, the author of “The Mujahedin-e Khalq in Iraq: A Policy Conundrum,” a report published by the Rand Corporation in 2009 that assesses the status of the MEK at a camp called Ashraf in Iraq.
Goulka: “I was asked to join the Rand Research Team. … Who are the MEK? Why are they there in Iraq? What should the detainee operations command do, if anything?”
However, following publication, the Rand report came under fire by the MEK and its paid lobbyists in Washington.
Lincoln P. Bloomfield: “Well, I’m a former policy official and one of my roles is as a consultant to a law firm in Washington. An American citizens group hired the law firm to help them advocate to remove the MEK from the terrorism list.”
That’s Ambassador Lincoln P. Bloomfield, the former deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs from 1992 to 1993. He wrote a book, entitled “The Mujahedin-e Khalq, MEK: Shackled by a Twisted History,” that posits that the MEK has been severely misunderstood over time.
Bloomfield: “I found out that there’s a gap between what everyone was saying about the MEK and what the information seemed to show, that there was a gap, something was amiss. So that really piqued my curiosity and I just kept digging for the next two years.”
Ambassador Bloomfield’s law firm, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, was reportedly paid $620,000 dollars by a group supportive of the MEK during those two years, according to the Senate Office of Public Records.
But are his claims — which match those of the MEK — true?
Bloomfield: “As I began to examine what think tanks were saying, what the press was saying, a very consistent set of allegations arose: that they’d killed Americans in the 1970s in Iran, that they had helped with the embassy hostage takeover during the revolution in 1979, that they were a violent, left-wing, Marxist group that was speaking about democracy but didn’t really mean it, and that they’d engaged in a whole series of violent actions, and that they were also human rights abusers in their own midst.”
In June 1973, Lt. Col. Lewis Hawkins of the U.S. Army was the first American assassinated by the MEK, as he walked near his home in Tehran, according to The Associated Press.
Ambassador Bloomfield claims that Hawkins was murdered by a man named Vahid Afrakhteh, citing two Washington Post articles from 1976.
This is significant because the MEK narrative has attempted to gain credibility in the United States by separating itself from the killing of Americans.
Bloomfield: “Other activists who were impatient with the MEK took the Mujahedeen name and weren’t interested in Islam, and they wanted a secular Marxist, violent revolution, and they were the ones who killed the Americans. They were caught. I have put The Washington Post articles from those days in my report.”
The Washington Post articles are referenced as proof that a U.S. State Department report on the MEK is problematic — and possibly untrue — because it says Reza Rezai, not Afrakhteh, “was arrested and executed by the Shah’s government for the murder of Colonel Hawkins.”
The MEK and its supporters are trying to separate Rezai from the killing of Lt. Col.
Hawkins because even though he is dead, he is still idolized by the current MEK as a hero.
However, while it may be true that Afrakhteh committed the actual murder of Hawkins, two separate reports from The Associated Press in 1973, obtained by MintPress News, named Reza Rezai as the “man alleged to have planned the murder of… Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Hawkins” and as the leader of the group. One of the reports says, “The gunman who killed Hawkins still is at large.”
That person who was “still at large” very well could have been Afrakhteh, so the fact he is named as the actual gunman does not in any way absolve Rezai from responsibility for the murder, nor does it contradict the State Department report.
The MEK also claims, as does Ambassador Bloomfield, that it is separated from the murder of the seven Americans, including Lt. Col. Hawkins, because there was a schism in the group between a Marxist-leaning faction, and the Muslim faction led by Massoud Rajavi.
Bloomfield: “There was blood between the two factions. The one that wanted Islam is the one that we see today, and for their commitment to Islam a couple of people were gunned down by these leftist revolutionaries, who were using the name Mujahedin.”
However, that schism did not happen until 1975, according to Ervand Abrahamian, author of “The Iranian Mojahedin,” and one of the foremost scholars of the group. Therefore, in the words of Muhammad Sahimi, “Hawkins’ assassination, at least, was irrefutably the work of the original” MEK.
Another problem with the narrative of the MEK not being involved with the killings of Americans is that the group bragged about those murders in its very own newspaper called “Mojahed,” seen here.
The text states:
“It was the Mujahedin-e Khalq that killed with guns American Generals and also blew up nests of spies, like America’s information office… ”
[Mojahed – Number 77, Page 2]
The MEK and its supporters also claim that the group was not involved with the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis and that it did not support it in any way.
Bloomfield: “This one is very black and white, and misunderstood. And, frankly, allegations that the MEK were behind the embassy takeover, and were promoting keeping the Americans hostage only surfaced in detail a few years ago.”
The problem with this statement is that the MEK clearly promoted the 1979 embassy takeover in its newspaper.
The headline to the article in this issue of “Mojahed” says:
“We are happy that this time they targeted the real Shah, which is America’s imperialism; The nest of the spies has been seized!”
[Mojahed – Number 10, Front page, November 12, 1979]
Further, despite an intense campaign to expunge the MEK’s troubled history toward the safety and well-being of American citizens and the way it treats its own members, the State Department, the FBI, Human Rights Watch, and the Rand Corporation have not changed their stance on any of these issues.
So, what is the MEK? The aforementioned organizations claim that not only is it an opposition group to the current Iranian regime, but it is a kind of cult.
Goulka: “At the MEK camps, there’s a whole set of practices that are all textbook out of cult theory – sleep deprivation, make-work projects, which is one of the reasons why Camp Ashraf has all this — surprisingly, it’s pretty. I mean there’s all of these beautification projects there. There’s fountains and there’s gardens, and there are all of these statues and memorials to things. Make-work projects. Sometimes food limitation. But one of the big things I didn’t know about them, the stuff that gets at people, um: 1) forced celibacy; 2) forced divorce; 3) gender segregation. They will claim that the divorce was not forced. One of their representatives told me that, I don’t remember his exact words, but that in the desert, it just doesn’t support family life. And I’m sure that Iraqi families feel just the same way.”
Masoud Banisadr was an MEK member for 20 years and served as the group’s representative to the United Nations and the United States during that time. He now ardently denounces the group. His account of what it’s like on the inside supports Goulka’s claims.
Masoud Banisadr: “Not only me, all members were forced to divorce their spouses, and later they have to send their children abroad to Europe and United States to be adopted by supporters and other members. The final stage was self-divorce, which meant that you have to divorce your own personality, your own individuality. You had to prove to the group that your whole individuality and personality before you become member of the group were devilish and wrong and corrupt and so-on.”
The MEK and its supporters claim that the group is not a cult, though, and that former members have been coerced into saying that it is a cult by Iran’s intelligence services.
Goulka: “This is what’s important to remember: Even if there are Iranian efforts to paint the MEK as terrible, which there are — I mean, the Iranian regime is always trying to make the MEK look terrible. But, it’s easy to make the MEK look terrible because the MEK looks terrible.”
Part of Goulka’s job in Iraq when assessing the MEK camp was to interview members of the group.
Goulka: “I mean, I interviewed loads of people, and, I mean, were they all agents? I doubt it. Were they Iranian agents, were they sneaking into the locked-off refugee camp off of F.O.B. [Forward Operating Base] Grizzly, and planting information to somehow feed me when they did not know I was coming?”
In response to the MEK’s claims, Human Rights Watch even went back and re-assessed their reporting and re-interviewed the original people from their report.
The second time around, they made the same claims that the organization is a cult and that they [members of the group] were tortured and abused by MEK’s leaders.
Human Rights Watch found no evidence of influence by Iranian intelligence services.
Despite all the documented history behind the group’s nefarious claims, it still came off the [Foreign Terrorist Organizations] list. And that’s because the single most important thing it did was end all acts of violence. And on this point, both Goulka and Ambassador Bloomfield agree.
Bloomfield: “In September of 2012, when Secretary of State Clinton removed the MEK from the U.S. terrorism list, the announcement said that the MEK had conducted no acts of violence for at least 10 years.”
Goulka: “I was actually thinking they should come off the list. I don’t think the U.S. made the decision for the right reasons, but I think they made the right decision. I think they needed to come off the list because I think the list, as written — I mean, the statute as written — they no longer really satisfied. And I think it’s important that there be some kind of incentive to terrorist groups in the world to say, ‘You know, if you stop being violent, we will take you off the list.”
So now that the MEK is no longer officially considered a terrorist group, what is it? How are they any different from other Iranian opposition groups, such as the National Front, or supporters of the previous monarchy?
Banisadr: “This is the problem which they are facing. I mean, the kind of questions that they face from ordinary Iranians outside of Iran, or their supporters outside of Iran is: How do you want to go back to Iran? How do you want to overthrow this government? The only answer which they have is that, ‘We are lobbying the United States. We are lobbying Western countries to fight against the Iranian government. First to put sanctions, put hardship on Iranian government so they cannot solve the problems of [the] Iranian people. And this might create some resistance on the opposition within Iran, and create an environment of revolution, perhaps, inside of Iran. At the same time, we are inviting Western countries, especially [the] United States to attack Iran because of [the] nuclear issue, because of [the] Israeli issue, and so on. So, when [the] United States attacks Iran the only the only people that can govern the country are us. There is nobody else.’”
Goulka agrees with Banisadr’s assessment of the group. He echoed his remarks about the MEK trying to grab power in Iran through pressuring the American government, but from a perspective rooted in the shame behind the horrors of America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Goulka: “We’re always trying to make it sound like Iran is so super powerful as a military force. And it’s nothing compared to Israel, which is nothing compared to us. Yet we’re going to get ourselves up into a lather where the only, the only end result of that, the only logical end result if you let it keep going, is that we get violent with Iran. And that doesn’t suit anybody’s interests, without even questioning the actual morality of it. I mean, do I support the Iranian regime? No. But when you look at what we did to Iraq, where now people in the media constantly talk about 100,000 civilians dying as if that’s something we should accept. And most evidence suggests that’s like one-tenth of the people that actually died. And that’s death — that’s not the number of people who are just displaced, or injured, or had their lives ruined. The millions of people who were displaced and had to leave the country, or just displaced in the country – I mean, we wrecked that country because some people here wanted to do it, and you had fools like Ahmed Chalabi saying that they could go in and take over the place, and our fools who followed it. And the number of deaths for our people, too, and the way we’ve ruined lives here, and the way we’ve, you know, the money we’ve spent on it. Why would we repeat that in Iran? I mean, it’s insane. But, of course, insanity is the whole notion, you know, thinking you can do it again right this time. And it’s just frightening to watch us go down that path if we keep listening to the MEK.”
For MintPress News in Washington, this is Sean Nevins.
Comrades in Arms – Sexual abuse by Massoud and Maryam Rajavi
Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult) terrorists openly declare support for ISIL, terror acts
Press TV, December 28 2014:… The anti-Iran terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) has openly expressed support for the ISIL militants and their acts of terror in a clear indication of its wrath over Iran-Iraq cooperation against the Takfiri group. In a statement on Saturday, the MKO said any measure against ISIL would be a blatant violation …
Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult) terrorists openly declare support for ISIL, terror acts
The anti-Iran terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) has openly expressed support for the ISIL militants and their acts of terror in a clear indication of its wrath over Iran-Iraq cooperation against the Takfiri group.
In a statement on Saturday, the MKO said any measure against ISIL would be a blatant violation of the UN Security Council’s agreements, IRNA reported.
The terrorist organization also called for an immediate end to moves against the ISIL militants.
The statement, without making any reference to the all-out cooperation among Iraqi Sunnis, tribes and army in the anti-ISIL fight, claimed that cooperation between Tehran and Baghdad in the battle against the ISIL terrorist group pursues anti-Sunni agendas.
The ISIL terrorists control some parts of Syria and Iraq. They are engaged in crimes against humanity in the areas under their control. ISIL militants have terrorized and killed people of all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians.
Earlier this month, Press TV learnt that Israel is training the MKO terrorists in Jordan along the border with Saudi Arabia in order to carry out acts of terror inside Iran and neighboring Iraq.
According to sources, who declined to be named, the MKO terrorists are undergoing training on how to conduct terrorist operations in Iran and Iraq and are also receiving technical as well as information technology (IT) training from Israeli agents.
The MKO fled Iran to Iraq in 1986, where it enjoyed the support of Iraq’s executed dictator, Saddam Hussein, and set up its camp near the Iranian border.
The group is also known to have cooperated with Saddam Hussein in suppressing the 1991 uprisings in southern Iraq and carrying out the massacre of Iraqi Kurds.
The MKO has carried out numerous acts of violence against Iranian civilians and government officials.
Maryam Rajavi’s annual Rally in Villepinte.
This year promoting ISIS, MEK, Saddamists – Everyone Loses
Massoud Khodabandeh, Iranian.com, June 29 2014: … The MEK pretend to work as mercenaries to suit western backers but have in reality simply exploited loopholes and weaknesses in western political systems purely to promote themselves and, like parasites, find a niche to exist in for a while. The MEK have infiltrated parliaments and ministries and …
Maryam Rajavi’s annual Rally in Villepinte. This year promoting ISIS, MEK, Saddamists – Everyone Loses
A scene from a previous MEK rent-a-crowd rally in Villepinte
This past Friday in Paris, the Mojahedin Khalq is held its annual rally to celebrate its violent past. This year, as every year, the MEK will pay both speakers and audience to attend. The annual rally is increasingly exposed and mocked by the media.
Who are they?
Mojahedin Khalq is one of the rare forces which advertises and is proud of being a mercenary force. They never had an agenda of their own but have taken money from their paymasters, such as Saddam Hussein, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Although no government except Saddam Hussein’s regime has ever publicly condoned or supported the MEK, various Western agencies – the Pentagon, CIA, MOSSAD, the Israeli lobby and various neoconservatives – have at various times, and for various purposes, used the MEK. The MEK undertakes activities and poses in particular ways which suit their agendas – information laundry, assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists, and more, culminating in Maryam Rajavi’s disastrous, ludicrous attempt to pose as a human rights advocate in the Canadian Parliament in May this year.
What is different this year?
This time the annual rally is being held at the same time that Western leaders meet in Paris to discuss how to find a political solution to the crisis in Iraq.
Each government is, of course, pursuing its own interests in Iraq and each wants to wrest the greatest political influence and benefit from the current crisis. But what they all share in common is the need to confront and stop the terrorist threat of ISIS in Iraq.
Iraqi media and analysts identify this current manifestation of ISIS as a sophisticated military force – although said to be an offshoot of Al Qaida formed in Syria – as an element of the Baath Party (that is, the remains of Saddam’s regime), who had warned before that they would take revenge and create chaos and mayhem. Some ISIS equipment has been found to have previously belonged to the MEK. This is not a group which has newly emerged or lately come together, but is part of an existing cohort of groups and individuals prepared to use extreme violence to pursue political aims. The MEK are part of this cohort.
While the violence of the triangle of Saddamists, ISIS and MEK in Iraq is ongoing, we witness that the MEK’s strongest advocates in the west, Struan Stevenson, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Paulo Casaca and a couple of others have abandoned their mainstream political careers in the European Parliament and similar places to become full time advocates for this cohort. Under the organisational label ‘European Iraqi Freedom Association’ (EIFA), they claimed that the recent violent acts in Iraq were not carried out by ISIS, but were “part of a popular uprising” against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. In doing so, they are openly backing the MEK, ISIS and Saddamist cohort against the government of Iraq even after successful elections returned popularly elected political representatives.
For those with any lingering doubt about where the MEK stands on the issue of terrorism, an examination of their own website in Farsi is instructive. Only days before the current crisis erupted in Iraq, MEK leader Massoud Rajavi expressed his solidarity with the Saudi backed Jaish-ul-Adl terrorist group based in Pakistan. Referring to the execution of 16 men affiliated to Jaish-ul-Adl terrorist group Masoud Rajavi described them as “martyrs” and “brothers”.
A screenshot of the MEK site’s first page quickly circulated on the internet as shocked Iranians of every stripe denounced the MEK. As the world looked on in horror at the actions of ISIS (beheadings, mass murders, etc), the MEK hailed the group as “revolutionary forces”, (an echo of the false identity it ascribes to itself as “Iran’s resistance movement”), and continued to advertise ISIS achievements and stances.
The MEK’s collaboration with Saddamists and its public support for ISIS is unsurprising for experts on the group, but it is problematic. This support has made MEK in Camp Liberty a legitimate target for revenge killing by its old enemies – the Kurdish and Shiite populations among which the MEK massacred several thousand for Saddam Hussein during the First Gulf War in 1991. This matches with one of Massoud Rajavi’s recent internal proclamations; that should Camp Liberty be threatened by (unspecified) outside forces the residents should all kill themselves. In this way, Rajavi would be rid of many witnesses to his multiple crimes against humanity and war crimes. A meeting of ex members in Paris on 21 June highlighted this very threat.
But this stance contradicts another of Rajavi’s positions, which is to use the forces in Camp Liberty as advertising products in the Paris rally. The speakers may admit to being paid, but they also claim to sincerely believe in the MEK’s ability to bring about freedom for Iran, and will no doubt be keen to use the platform in Paris to echo the demand to ‘rescue’ the Camp Liberty residents. Whether they are willfully ignorant of the facts or simply naïve is open to question. Indeed, both speakers and attendees should ask how this rally will help rescue the residents in Camp Liberty, Iraq, who the MEK leaders absolutely refuse to help. The UN has not hesitated to denounce the hindrances and obstruction created by the MEK leaders when it has tried to help these victims. In addition, the UN has accused the MEK of human rights abuses against its own members.
Lobbying for what? survival of a terrorist cult?
The idea that this rally is for lobbying is not only false but it is dangerous. Lobbying cannot involve the promotion of bloodshed and terror; that is murder. In any case, the MEK are not lobbying anyone for anything. The MEK is a cult and has its own agenda quite independent of its publicly stated policies. Its own internal interests are paramount and the current rally is being used to promote Maryam Rajavi as a replacement for Massoud Rajavi as the cult guru or ideological leader.
Everything the MEK has ever done has been to ensure its own survival; from working for Saddam Hussein to getting de-listed as a terrorist group. Governments, countries, agencies and lobbyists would do well to sit down and work out what have been their gains and losses because of using this organisation. For example, the MEK has not advanced the neoconservative agenda at all, instead because of its resort to violence it has benefited the conservatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran who use it to point out western double standards on terrorism. The MEK’s achievements in relation to its proclaimed stance are nil.
Can MEK be trusted? beneficial?
The MEK pretend to work as mercenaries to suit western backers but have in reality simply exploited loopholes and weaknesses in western political systems purely to promote themselves and, like parasites, find a niche to exist in for a while. The MEK have infiltrated parliaments and ministries and misused them. The rally in Paris on June 27th exploits the concept of ‘freedom of speech’ to promote a pretended political point of view.
Given the MEK’s very clear and public support for ISIS, the fallout from this rally will affect everyone. While Western leaders are in the same city promoting the formation of a united front (according to configurations best suited to themselves) to confront the terrorist group, by turning a blind eye to a rally held by ISIS supporters in Paris, all western governments, not just that of France, are implicated in tacit support for that terrorism.
A scene from a previous MEK rent-a-crowd rally in Villepinte
(Izzat Ebrahim and Massoud Rajavi still at large)
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Paris, June 27 2014: … France has no contact with the “People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran” which is known for its use of violence. It has no legal existence in France as an organization. Its violent and undemocratic Ideology has been exposed by several human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International who have reported on …
Massoud Khodabandeh, Iranian.com, May 05 2014: … these anti-Iranian hardliners in the USA, headed by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, already failed in a provocative bid to bring the Mojahedin Khalq’s second-in-command Maryam Rajavi to the US to speak in Washington to coincide with the nuclear talks. Such a visit could have only one purpose; the hope that Iran would …
Farideh Farhi, Lobelog, April 22 2014: … members (some of them with links to the exiled Iranian opposition group, the Mujahadeen-e-Khalq (MEK), such as Spanish EPP member Alejo Vidal-Quadras and British ECR member Struan Stevenson) proposed amendments deleting the call for an opening of the EU office in Tehran, fully in line with the position of their supposed enemies — Iranian hardliners …
Eldar Mamedov, Lobelog, June 19 2014: … While the world watched in horror as jihadist extremists from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seized the Iraqi city of Mosul, some members of the European Parliament (MEPs) claimed that these actions were not carried out by ISIS, but were “part of a popular upris