MEK Camp In Albania – Fake Heshmat Alavi and The Troll Factory

MEK Camp In Albania – Fake Heshmat Alavi and The Troll Factory

MEK Camp In Albania - Heshmat Alavi Fake Persona and Their Troll Factory Tehran Times, April 21 2020:… MEK is a deeply unpopular group including among opponents of the Iranian government … Heshmat Alavi, who wrote dozens of articles for right-wing outlets, appears not to exist. Alavi’s persona is a propaganda operation run by the MEK, he quoted two sources as saying … Heshmat Alavi is a persona used by the MEK to continue its public relations work in the Western countries, aiming to sway elite and public opinion by placing news articles and running social media campaigns promoting its vision for itself as the future government of Iran. MEK Camp In Albania – Heshmat Alavi Fake Persona and Their Troll Factory 

MEK Camp In Albania - Heshmat Alavi Fake Persona and Their Troll Factory MEK Troll Factory in Albania . aka Mujahedin Khalq MKO Rajavi Cult

MEK Camp In Albania – Heshmat Alavi Fake Persona and Their Troll Factory

MEK running anti-Islamic Republic propaganda from Albania, France: Murtaza Hussain

TEHRAN — The Intercept’s Murtaza Hussain has said members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq, an exiled Iranian militant group better known as the MEK, are tasked to run the cultish group’s online propaganda campaign against the Islamic Republic from the MEK’s bases in France and Albania.

“The MEK is a very secretive organization but defectors have told us that on their bases in Albania and France members are tasked all day with posting articles online and running the MEK’s information operations,” Hussain said in an interview with the Balkans Post published on Sunday.

Last month, The Intercept published an article by Murtaza Hussain and Matthew Cole, providing a comprehensive account of what life was like inside the MEK. The article was based on interviews with the group’s high-ranking defectors.

According to the article, interviews with six defectors in Europe revealed how the MEK isolated, disappeared, and tortured many of its cadres into submission, including forcing dozens of female members to have sex with Masoud Rajavi and undergo medical sterilization so they could devote themselves more fully to the leader and his cause.

Heshmat Alavi and MEK (Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – Apr 17, 2020 )

It also said the MEK has shelled out hundreds of thousands of lobbying dollars in Washington, first as part of a successful campaign to get itself removed from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations and later, to build its reputation as a credible alternative to the Iranian government.

“The MEK was designated a terrorist group by the State Department but for years still did lobbying work on Capitol Hill,” Hussain was quoted by the Balkans Post as saying. “It seems that the law has always been unevenly applied on the question of terrorism designations.”

A few years ago, the MEK members were relocated from their Camp Ashraf in Iraq’s Diyala Province to Camp Hurriyet (Camp Liberty), a former U.S. military base in Baghdad, and were later relocated to Albania.

Last year, Germany’s Der Spiegel revealed that members of the MEK undergo horrific training in a camp in Albania, a country that has turned into a hub for anti-Iran activities by hosting the MEK.

Asked why the Albanian government hosts the terrorist organization, Hussain said, “I’m not sure what the Albanian government’s decision-making was but it seems highly likely that they made this decision based on the desire to be on good terms with the U.S. administration and right-wing elements in that country.”

“There has been some speculation also about financial compensation in exchange for taking in this group on their soil,” he added.

Heshmat Alavi and MEK Example of Washington’s Ignorant Iran Experts

The MEK was established in the 1960s to express a mixture of Marxism and Islamism. It launched bombing campaigns against the Shah, continuing after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, against the Islamic Republic. Iran accuses the group of being responsible for 17,000 deaths.

Olsi Jazexhi, a Canadian-Albanian historian, has argued that Saudi Arabia is funding the MEK.

Based in Iraq at the time, MEK members were armed by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to fight against Iran during a war that lasted for 8 years in the 1980s.

In 2012, the U.S. State Department removed the MEK from its list of designated terrorist organizations under intense lobbying by groups associated with Saudi Arabia and other regimes opposed to Iran.

Olsi Jazexhi, a Canadian-Albanian historian, has argued that Saudi Arabia is funding the MEK.

“While the U.S. government and Israel will most probably not spend their money with an ex-terrorist organization, I believe that the only state who can support it should be Saudi Arabia,” the Balkans Post on Wednesday quoted Jazexhi as saying.

“Saudis have done such a thing with Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan or Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria and we should not be surprised if they pay the MEK bill as well,” he added.

In 2018, Professor Paul Pillar, who was a CIA intelligence analyst for 28 years, told the Tehran Times that the financial sources of the MEK have always been unclear, but the most likely sources are states that are regional rivals of Iran.

” Heshmat Alavi Gate ” , Trump and MEK

Hussain also said it is unclear how the group’s activities are funded but “it would be expensive”.

“The MEK has killed thousands of Iranians over the years and was involved in the 2009-2011 assassination of Iranian scientists alongside the Israeli Mossad,” he said.

The investigative journalist added that the MEK is a deeply unpopular group including among opponents of the Iranian government.

Back in June 2019, Hussain wrote an article in The Intercept arguing that Heshmat Alavi, who wrote dozens of articles for right-wing outlets, appears not to exist. Alavi’s persona is a propaganda operation run by the MEK, he quoted two sources as saying.

In the Sunday interview, Hussain said Heshmat Alavi is a persona used by the MEK to “continue its public relations work in the Western countries, aiming to sway elite and public opinion by placing news articles and running social media campaigns promoting its vision for itself as the future government of Iran.”

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MEK Iran Disinfo and Heshmat Alavi

MEK Camp In Albania – Heshmat Alavi Fake Persona and Their Troll Factory

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Also read:
https://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/mek-cult-operatives-undermining-american-democracy/

MEK Cult Operatives Undermining American Democracy

MEK cult operatives undermining American democracyMurtaza Hussain, The Intercept, June 10 2019:… Alavi’s articles also mixed criticisms of Iran and U.S. policy with overt advocacy for the MEK. His pieces in the Daily Caller, The Hill, and other outlets — though less numerous than his contributions to Forbes — employed a similar mix of advocacy against the Iranian regime and praise for the MEK. Though the MEK is known to be widely loathed among Iranians, Alavi described the group as the “main Iranian opposition group” in a 2017 Daily Caller article. MEK Cult Operatives Undermining American Democracy .

Ali Safavi NCRI Remember: MEK was an American excuse to invade IraqRemember: MEK was an American excuse to invade Iraq

MEK Cult Operatives Undermining American Democracy

AN IRANIAN ACTIVIST WROTE DOZENS OF ARTICLES FOR RIGHT-WING OUTLETS. BUT IS HE A REAL PERSON?

MEK cult operatives undermining American democracy

IN 2018, PRESIDENT Donald Trump was seeking to jettison the landmark nuclear deal that his predecessor had signed with Iran in 2015, and he was looking for ways to win over a skeptical press. The White House claimed that the nuclear deal had allowed Iran to increase its military budget, and Washington Post reporters Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly asked for a source. In response, the White House passed along an article published in Forbes by a writer named Heshmat Alavi.

“Iran’s current budget is funded largely through ‘oil, taxes, increasing bonds, [and] eliminating cash handouts or subsidies’ for Iranians, according to an article by a Forbes contributor, Heshmat Alavi, sent to us by a White House official,” Rizzo and Kelly reported. The White House had used Alavi’s article — itself partly drawn from Iranian sources — to justify its decision to terminate the agreement.

“Heshmat Alavi is a persona run by a team of people from the political wing of the MEK. This is not and has never been a real person.”

There’s a problem, though: Heshmat Alavi appears not to exist. Alavi’s persona is a propaganda operation run by the Iranian opposition group Mojahedin-e-Khalq, which is known by the initials MEK, two sources told The Intercept.

“Heshmat Alavi is a persona run by a team of people from the political wing of the MEK,” said Hassan Heyrani, a high-ranking defector from the MEK who said he had direct knowledge of the operation. “They write whatever they are directed by their commanders and use this name to place articles in the press. This is not and has never been a real person.”

Heyrani said the fake persona has been managed by a team of MEK operatives in Albania, where the group has one of its bases, and is used to spread its message online. Heyrani’s account is echoed by Sara Zahiri, a Farsi-language researcher who focuses on the MEK. Zahiri, who has sources among Iranian government cybersecurity officials, said that Alavi is known inside Iran to be a “group account” run by a team of MEK members and that Alavi himself does not exist.

Alavi, whose contributor biography on the Forbes website identifies him as “an Iranian activist with a passion for equal rights,” has published scores of articles on Iran over the past few years at Forbes, The Hill, the Daily Caller, The Federalist, Saudi-owned al-Arabiya English, and other outlets. (Alavi did not respond to The Intercept’s requests for comment by Twitter direct messages or at the Gmail address he used to correspond with news outlets.)

The articles published under Alavi’s name, as well as his social media presence, appear to have been a boon for the MEK. An opposition group deeply unpopular in Iran and known for its sophisticated propaganda, the MEK has over the past decade turned its attention to English-language audiences — especially in countries like the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom, whose foreign policies are crucial nodes in the MEK’s central goal of overthrowing the Iranian regime.

ALAVI’S PERSONA IS said to be managed by a trio of MEK members. Heyrani, who at one time helped coordinate online operations for the group, named the individuals and a commander from MEK’s political wing who have been responsible for writing English-language articles and tweets under Heshmat Alavi’s name, and shared their photographs and names with The Intercept. “They were my friends. We were close friends,” Heyrani said. “We were working together.”

Heyrani explained that the MEK leadership would not look kindly on the fluent English speakers who operate the persona writing under their own names. Rank-and-file members, he said, are discouraged from having prominent public profiles — a reflection of what many critics have said is the MEK’s cult-like operating principles. “The leader of the organization doesn’t allow any person to use their real name,” said Heyrani, “because the leader is the first man in the organization, and everything should be under their shadow.”

The MEK conducts relentless online information campaigns, using an army of bots to flood online debates about Iran with the group’s perspective. One of the goals of the MEK team that manages the Hesmat Alavi account, Heyrani said, is to get articles under Alavi’s name published in the American press. The Intercept’s requests for comment to the MEK’s political wing, along with interview requests to the alleged operators of Alavi’s persona, went unanswered.

Another former MEK member now living in Canada, Reza Sadeghi, confirmed that the trio identified by Heyrani was involved with the group’s online information operations. Sadeghi was a member of the MEK until 2008, involved in lobbying activities in the United States, as well as operations at the MEK’s former base at Camp Ashraf in Iraq. He described a growing online propaganda center run by the group, intended to sway online discourse about Iran.

“We were always active in making false news stories to spread to the foreign press and in Iran,” Sadeghi said. “At Camp Ashraf, there were computers set up to do online information operations. Over the years, this activity got more intense with the introduction of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.”

“We were always active in making false news stories to spread to the foreign press and in Iran. At Camp Ashraf, there were computers set up to do online information operations.”

The MEK is among the most controversial groups seeking to depose the Iranian government. Although today it is mainly involved in political activism and lobbying, the group also has a history of violence. From 1997 until 2012, the MEK was listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department, a status that was finally revoked as part of a diplomatic deal struck by the Obama administration. The group’s last claimed violent attack was in 2001.

The MEK initially sided with the Islamic Revolution but fell out of favor shortly after the establishment of the clerical-led Islamic Republic. The subsequent crackdown forced the group into exile, operating between France and Iraq — where, thanks to Saddam Hussein’s largesse, the group occupied Camp Ashraf, used as a staging ground for its participation on Iraq’s side of the brutal Iran-Iraq War.

The years following the U.S.’s invasion of Iraq were harrowing for the MEK, complicated by the terrorist listing. As the Americans withdrew their military forces, they handed over security at the MEK’s Iraqi base to the Iraqi government; another round of violent crackdowns ensued. The 2012 deal to remove the MEK from the U.S. terror list facilitated the movement of thousands of MEK members from Iraq to Albania, where the group would be housed in a new secretive compound. It is from this base in Albania where, according to the MEK defector Heyrani, some of the MEK members managing the Alavi persona were said to be working.

MEK cult operatives undermining American democracyAlavi’s author page for Forbes. Screenshot: The Intercept

ALAVI’S ARTICLES TEND to mix scathing denunciations of the Iranian government with not-so-subtle suggestions that it might be replaced by the MEK and its leader, Maryam Rajavi. The group seems to have had great success with Alavi, particularly at Forbes.

The Intercept reached out to editors at the outlets that Alavi has published articles with over the past several years. None of these outlets were able to confirm that they ever spoke with or met Alavi. He was not paid for his writing at Forbes, the Daily Caller, or the Diplomat, according to spokespeople for those publications.

Although Alavi has published articles about Iran in a number of predominantly right-leaning publications, by far the most frequent publisher of his articles is Forbes. In a span of a year, between April 2017 and April 2018, Alavi published a staggering 61 articles for the Forbes website.

A Twitter account created under Alavi’s name in 2014 boasts over 30,000 followers, including a number of journalists and D.C.-based conservative think tank employees. The account frequently shares articles and hashtags praising Rajavi and shares footage of protests and events held by the MEK.

Alavi seems to have gained some purchase in right-wing circles in Washington. In addition to his many articles published by Forbes and other sites, Alavi also appears to run a blog called “Iran Commentary,” which describes its mission as focusing on “issues related to Iran and the Middle East.” One of its reports was recently cited as a source in an article from the Washington Free Beacon, a neoconservative site that takes an ultra-hawkish view on Iran.

The body of work published under Alavi’s name takes a consistently hawkish line toward the Iranian government and President Hassan Rouhani. Alavi’s articles also mixed criticisms of Iran and U.S. policy with overt advocacy for the MEK. His pieces in the Daily Caller, The Hill, and other outlets — though less numerous than his contributions to Forbes — employed a similar mix of advocacy against the Iranian regime and praise for the MEK. Though the MEK is known to be widely loathed among Iranians, Alavi described the group as the “main Iranian opposition group” in a 2017 Daily Caller article.

The Diplomat, a foreign policy website that published a handful of Alavi’s pieces in 2017, said that Alavi sent drafts from a Gmail account. Alavi pitched the outlet dozens of articles, though only a small number were accepted. The Diplomat stopped accepting pitches from Alavi after determining that his articles were not meeting publication standards, said a source who asked for anonymity to discuss internal matters.

The Daily Caller also told The Intercept that the outlet stopped publishing Alavi’s articles over concerns about the quality of his submissions. The Hill, al-Arabiya English, and The Federalist did not respond to requests for comment.

“We terminated our relationship with Heshmat Alvi in early 2018,” a Forbes spokesperson said in a statement to The Intercept. “For your background, all contributors to Forbes.com sign a contract requiring them to disclose any potential conflicts of interest. If we discover a contributor has violated these terms, we investigate the case fully and end our relationship if appropriate.”

MEK cult operatives undermining American democracy 3Maryam Rajavi speaks at a conference outside of Paris, France, on Aug. 25. 2018. Photo: Siavosh Hosseini/SIPA via AP

THE MEK USES a number of means to gain influence in Washington. The group has paid prominent political figures to give speeches and press conferences, donated money to politicians, and disseminated its messages through these interlocutors’ appearances in media, as well as its own robust social media presence. In 2018, its social media operations were the subject of an Al Jazeera “Listening Post” documentary.

The group has used these public relations efforts to pursue its policy goals. Up until 2012, the MEK was mostly focused on getting itself off the U.S. terror list. In the years that followed, the group focused on attacking nuclear diplomacy between Iran and the U.S., and, after 2015, attacking the deal itself. Throughout, the MEK’s messaging has emphasized regime change — and attempted to present the MEK as a viable alternative to the Islamic Republic’s leadership, offering Rajavi, who has been the group’s public face for a decade and a half, as a potential figure to lead the country.

Alavi’s articles often track closely with these objectives. In his stories, Alavi has included positive references to Rajavi, as well as the MEK’s political wing, the National Council of Resistance of Iran. In an article in Forbes effectively calling for international support for regime change in Iran, Alavi wrote:

The time has come to set aside the “reformist” mirage in Iran. For decades, Maryam Rajavi, as President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, is providing the sole, realistic alternative for Iran with a ten-point plan that enjoys the support of thousands of elected officials across the globe.

Like his focus on the MEK’s goal of elevating Rajavi, Alavi’s messaging has also lined up with the group’s efforts to attack the Iran nuclear deal. During the period between 2017 and 2018, when Alavi’s articles appeared in Forbes, the Trump administration was taking steps to extricate the U.S. from the deal, despite objections from European allies and former Obama administration officials. Alavi’s articles egged the administration on, with items such as “Iran Feeling The Heat From Trump On Nuclear Deal” and “How Trump Can Correctly Approach Iran’s Nuclear Deal.” In May 2018, Trump announced that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the agreement — one month after Alavi’s last article was published in Forbes.

The MEK’s messaging emphasizes regime change — and Alavi’s articles often track closely with this objective.

The Alavi article that the White House offered to the Washington Post in 2018 to justify withdrawing from the nuclear deal cited semiofficial Iranian government sources to demonstrate increased military spending by Rouhani government. It concluded with a rhetorical flourish typical of Alavi’s articles, praising the Trump administration for ending “appeasement” policies toward Iran and chastising Europe for “standing alongside the murderous mullahs’ regime against the will of the Iranian people.”

ALAVI’S TACK — EXERTING pressure on political discourse in the United States, rather than in Iran itself — appears to be part of the MEK’s strategy.

“The group barely produces content in Farsi. They seem to have given up on having a domestic audience in Iran. Their point now is to influence people in the English-speaking world,” said Massoud Khodabandeh, a former member of the MEK’s intelligence department who left the group in 1996. “Their online strategy works in Washington; it doesn’t work in Tehran.”

Alongside its social media strategy and periodic articles, the MEK involves itself in higher-stakes information campaigns. In 2002, the MEK helped reveal the existence of a covert Iranian nuclear facility near the city of Natanz. But according to arms control experts, the MEK got crucial details wrong. A 2006 article in the New Yorker also suggested that the intelligence may have been handed to the group by Israeli intelligence, calling into question the MEK’s claims that it operates a potent espionage network inside Iran.

In other instances, the MEK’s information has been less than reliable, causing skepticism among many Western national security analysts. During a 2015 press conference, MEK officials claimed to have evidence of a secret nuclear facility under construction in Iran, complete with clandestine photographs of the site. This claim was partly debunked by a blogger from the liberal website Daily Kos. A reverse image search of a picture of the purported door to the nuclear site revealed that it had actually been taken from a commercial website in Iran that advertised safe boxes.

The MEK has had the most success influencing the debate over Iran policy online through its aggressive social media presence. Any remarks about the group or even Iranian politics in general can be expected to be met by scores of MEK-supporters commenting through replies on Twitter and other social media. Many of the pro-MEK accounts will repeat the same messages, often word for word, swarming the mentions of any commentator.

Geoff Golberg, an expert on social media manipulation and founder of SocialCartograph, a social media mapping firm, took particular note of Alavi’s Twitter account, which appears to act as a node in an online campaign to boost the MEK’s profile. The account is heavily promoted by other pro-MEK accounts, as well as supporters of the group’s policy of confrontation toward Iran. To casual observers, these swarms of online activity can make it seem as though a large number of Iranians are enthusiastic about whatever it is that the MEK is promoting.

“The Heshmat Alavi account is part of a group of accounts, which, for years, have engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior,” said Golberg. “The account is connected to thousands of inauthentic MEK-focused accounts, many of which regularly engage with the account’s tweets. The goal of these efforts is to create the illusion of a larger support base than exists in reality.”

MEK cult operatives undermining American democracy 4Alavi’s Twitter account. Screenshot: The Intercept

ALAVI HAS LEFT few traces online — aside from his social media, his articles, and his emails to editors. One single photo, a heavily filtered side profile, is used for all of Alavi’s author profiles, his LinkedIn page, and Twitter account. The photo’s origins are unclear.

At a minimum, there are strong indications that the Alavi persona is not what it claims to be. The use of fake identities to conduct political propaganda has become common in recent years. The 2016 U.S. presidential election saw the use of innumerable bots and fake accounts to spread misinformation and paranoia among the public.

A 2018 BBC News investigation looked into another prominent online persona alleged to be false: a Twitter account operating under the name “Sarah Abdallah” that was mixed up heavily in the online debate over the war in Syria. The Sarah Abdallah account was in some ways on the opposite side of the political spectrum as Alavi: Abdallah was a vocal supporter of the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, a close Iranian ally. An online research firm determined Abdallah’s account to be “one of the most influential social media accounts in the online conversation about Syria.”

Although the BBC investigation raised serious concerns about the influence of a shadowy online account that was being followed by hundreds of real journalists, it stopped short of concluding that Abdallah was fake or being operated by a front organization.

For all her influence, however, Sarah Abdallah was never able to achieve the success of Heshmat Alavi, whose articles were published in U.S. media outlets and read in the White House.

“The Mojahedin wants to show to the world that their narrative has support, even from people who are not directly members of the group.”

To those unfamiliar with the internal politics of Iran, Alavi could come across in his writings as what he simply claimed to be: “an Iranian activist with a passion for equal rights.” The former MEK member Heyrani says that this framing is exactly what the group was hoping to create with the persona. To the extent that publications like Forbes were indifferent or amenable to Alavi’s message, it seems to have worked.

“The Mojahedin” — the Iranian name for the MEK — “wants to show to the world that their narrative has support, even from people who are not directly members of the group,” Heyrani said. “They want to show that other independent people — writers and activists — support their approach and believe that freedom and democracy will come to Iran through the work of this group.”

(End)

MEK Cult Operatives Undermining American Democracy

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https://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/the-many-faces-of-the-mek-explained-by-its-former-top-spy-massoud-khodabandeh-2/

The Many Faces of the MEK, Explained By Its Former Top Spy Massoud Khodabandeh

Ty Joplin, Albawaba, November 18 2018:… Khodabandeh admits that he had a difficult time reintegrating into society, as he struggled to rid himself of the constraints the MEK forces upon its members. He forbade himself from watching television, and did not know the extent of Iraq’s crimes against Iranians during the Iran-Iraq War. But Khodabandeh considers himself lucky; he was able to leave the group while thousands are still trapped inside … 

The Many Faces Of The MEK, Explained By Its Former Top Spy Massoud Khodabandeh_2Albanian Goverment Turns Blind Eye to Human Rights Abuse in MEK Camp

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The Many Faces of the MEK, Explained By Its Former Top Spy Massoud Khodabandeh

By Ty Joplin

Before Massoud Khodabandeh settled into his life as a consultant living quietly in the middle of England, he was directing the intelligence operations of a group that’s been labelled as a terrorist cult.

The group is called the Mujahideen al-Khalq (MEK), and Khodabandeh had, for decades, witnessed its changing of faces: from radical student group opposed to the rule of the Shah in Iran, to anti-Ayatollah guerrilla group, to pro-Saddam militia, to what it is now, an inward-looking and reclusive group with no clear identity beyond its obedience to its leader, Maryam Rajavi.

Massoud KhodabandehMassoud Khodabandeh

Massoud Khodabandeh left the group and granted Al Bawaba an exclusive interview, where he documents his smuggling of radio equipment into Iran, his spying on Iranian leaders and MEK defectors and his eventual departure from the group.

Khodabandeh details to Al Bawaba his founding of an MEK cell in London and his imprisonment for participating in a sit-in of the Iranian embassy during the 1979 Iran revolution. After that, he began operating covertly in Europe, traversing the continent with secret funding and passports, looking over all of the MEK’s cells working in Europe at the time, slowing becoming one of its most senior and trusted members.

After the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war and the MEK’s falling out with the Iranian regime, Khodabandeh began smuggling radio equipment into Iran via Baghdad, taking powerful radio technology into a secluded station in the mountains of Iranian Kurdistan and surviving attacks by Iranian forces in the process.

As well as helping the MEK cement an international presence, Khodabandeh also remembers helping the MEK’s former leader, Massoud Rajavi, with a particular request. Rajavi asked Khodabandeh to send him dozens of books on cults and psychological manipulation; a request Khodabandeh did not hesitate to fulfill. Decades later, he learned that each book he was smuggling to Massoud was being translated into Farsi and used as a guide on how to transform the MEK into a personalist cult dedicated to serving the will of its leader, Massoud.

After leaving the group, Khodabandeh admits that he had a difficult time reintegrating into society, as he struggled to rid himself of the constraints the MEK forces upon its members.

He forbade himself from watching television, and did not know the extent of Iraq’s crimes against Iranians during the Iran-Iraq War. But Khodabandeh considers himself lucky; he was able to leave the group while thousands are still trapped inside its confines, doomed to be associated with an opposition group many consider a terrorist cult.

To listen to the full conversation, click here:

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Massoud Khodabandeh Anne Singleton EU ParliamentSecret MEK troll factory in Albania uses modern slaves (aka Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, NCRI ,Rajavi cult)

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https://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/?p=7471

Maryam Rajavi — MEK Propaganda Queen — Advertises Her Services For Iran’s Enemies 

Maryam RajaviMassoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, July 08 2016:… Clearly this message is not aimed at Iranians. The clamour for regime change in Iran does not emanate from inside the country in spite of its many social, civic and political problems. Who then is Maryam Rajavi’s constituency? From whom is she hoping to garner support?Many constituencies outside Iran wish fervently for its destruction. It is enlightening that Maryam Rajavi’s … 

What does it mean when we say ISIS operates as a mind control cult?

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Maryam Rajavi — MEK Propaganda Queen — Advertises Her Services For Iran’s Enemies

Co-authored by Anne Khodabandeh

Bolton Vs. Zarif On MEK

The Middle East is in turmoil. Deaths and destruction are a daily occurrence throughout the region. Families flee their homes in fear, forced into an uncertain future. No end is in sight. Yet into this calamitous scenario a slick, sophisticated terrorist recruiter’s advert has popped up which ISIS itself could learn from.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) website carries a glamorous advertising campaign for a Grand Gathering. Surrounded by glitzy pictures of flag-waving youth, the central focus of this gathering is ‘Our pledge: regime change’.

Well, we all know what that means. Don’t we? Apparently not. Because this advertising doesn’t reflect the destruction wrought in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen. Here is no promise of jihad and the caliphate. It looks very much like a carnival. Which is exactly what it is – a show. So, what is meant by the promise of regime change?

The first port of call is to understand that the NCRI is just another name for the Mojahedin-e Khalq ( MEK Cult ) which was also known as the National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA).

Back in 1994, MEK leader Massoud Rajavi tasked his wife Maryam to leave Iraq for America in order to regain political recognition of the Mojahedin Khalq as ‘the’ Iranian opposition which had been lost when he refused to abandon Saddam Hussein during the First Gulf war.

Refused entry to the USA as the leader of a terrorist entity Maryam instead took up residence in France as a refugee. But instead of meeting politicians to talk about how the MEK could overthrow the Iranian regime, she discovered she could simply create the illusion of support by paying both audience and speakers. She discovered a talent for dressing up, holding fancy dinner parties and talking about her cult ideology.

To create the appearance of a willing audience for her views, she recruited a rag-tag following of Iranian economic refugees who would happily turn up when paid for their services. She paid for feminists from North America, Europe and Scandinavia to visit Auvers-sur-Oise and attend dinner parties. She posed in her hijab to speak about her version of feminism to these western women; carefully spelling it out for them that they would never really understand what feminism is until they understood her husband Massoud Rajavi.

When Massoud recalled her to Iraq in 1997 she had spent a third of the total MEK budget and had no political support to show for it. She had lost around half the loyal MEK members who had defected whilst in Europe. With morale at an all-time low, Maryam was forced to retreat to Iraq with what remained of her personnel and leave the western bases in the hands of largely uneducated paid ‘supporters’.

Bolton Vs. Zarif On MEK

When allied forces next invaded Iraq in 2003 Maryam Rajavi again fled to France. This time, as luck would have it, western politics was focused on curtailing Iran’s nuclear programme which it insisted was aimed at creating a nuclear weapon. The MEK’s services as propaganda experts were just what was needed, ensuring the MEK’s ostensible survival as an opposition group.

But in reality the MEK was already in terminal decline. Its fighting forces, disarmed in 2003, are currently being transferred from Iraq to Albania by the UNHCR to begin a process of de-radicalisation and reintegration back into normal society. Nobody expects veterans with an average age of sixty to wage the terrorism of thirty years ago. Disarmament also allowed American experts to investigate years of complaints about human rights and cultic abuses inside the MEK. As long as the MEK was being used to muddy the waters of the nuclear negotiations, such details could be glossed over. But since last year when agreement was reached, the MEK’s murky past can no longer be dismissed.

The main reason, of course, is that the new theme for challenging Iran in the international community is based on the country’s dismal human rights record. But Maryam Rajavi has her own well documented human rights abuse dossier to answer for. The MEK, under whatever name it is used, is simply the wrong tool to use to demonise Iran.

Beyond this, the MEK is not the popular opposition its own advertising claims it to be. The group is almost universally despised among Iranians both inside the country and in the diaspora. Not only did the MEK fight alongside Saddam Hussein’s army during the devastating eight-year Iran-Iraq war, but the MEK’s anti-Iran role in the nuclear negotiations hit a nerve with most ordinary Iranians who regarded support for their country’s right to nuclear technology as an issue ofnationalism rather than politics.

Maryam Rajavi cannot get support from Iranians unless it is paid for. Nor can Maryam Rajavi deign to share a platform with any other Iranian opposition personality. So this year Maryam Rajavi will again do what she does best; pay audience and speakers alike to give the illusion of support.

So, back to the recent advertising campaign. Any publicity campaign will be successful if it is newsworthy. Maryam, however, simply churns out the same scenario ad infinitum. Starting with describing a terrible situation in Iran – based on news items that can be gleaned from any serious reporting outlet – she then proposes a ten-point plan for Iran, approved this year by Italian parliamentarians. And then she promises regime change.

Clearly this message is not aimed at Iranians. The clamour for regime change in Iran does not emanate from inside the country in spite of its many social, civic and political problems. Who then is Maryam Rajavi’s constituency? From whom is she hoping to garner support?

Many constituencies outside Iran wish fervently for its destruction. It is enlightening that Maryam Rajavi’s websites are home to a bizarre mixture of anti-Shia, anti-Iran, anti-Syria, items which reflect very closely the views of neocons, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Maryam Rajavi is not promising regime change, she is advertising her services as a propaganda queen.

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