EU Reporter, Brussels, April 13 2018:… MEK has new sources of funding after Saddam Hussein and is active in the EUP. Several colleagues tried to prevent today’s meeting. The MEK seem to have free rein in parliament to lobby every day. I am trying to find out by asking the EUP president, which MEPs are providing them access.Before introducing the speakers, MS Gomes told delegates that when she hosted Nobel Peace …
MEPs discuss Mojahedine-E Khalq (MEK) Threat in #Albania
Experts and political representatives from Albania were in the European Parliament on Tuesday 10thApril, asking Europe for help in preventing the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) from toxifying their country’s internal and foreign relations. MEPs Ana Gomes and Patricia Lalonde hosted a round-table meeting titled ‘Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) threat in Albania’ to discuss the problem.
Participants included a UNHCR representative, Albanian opposition politicians, representatives from the Albanian embassy, the Albanian Delegation in parliament, from EU security, and reporters from various media.
Ms Gomes told delegates that she organised the debate because EU relations with Iran are very important, especially with the JCPOA agreement, and for human rights. This is a very different approach from the MEK which advocates regime change from outside the country.
Gomes explained that she first got to know the MEK from its recent time in Iraq where the group had interfered detrimentally in Iraq’s internal affairs. Based on her experience as a former diplomat in the UN Security Council and the UN Commission on Human Rights she was asked to write a report on Iraq in 2007-8. She found the MEK held hostage Iraq’s political relations. Even a visiting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for George W Bush agreed that MEK was a dangerous organisation.
Gomes mentioned that as head of UNAMI, Martin Kobler tried to work out a solution in Iraq, but was “miserably” attacked by MEK. He found he could not get access to the members to find out what they wanted as individuals. MEK would not allow the normal interviews that the UNHCR conduct.
MEK has new sources of funding after Saddam Hussein and is active in the EUP. Several colleagues tried to prevent today’s meeting. The MEK seem to have free rein in parliament to lobby every day. I am trying to find out by asking the EUP president, which MEPs are providing them access.
Before introducing the speakers, MS Gomes told delegates that when she hosted Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, she asked her if the MEK are a genuine opposition group. Ebadi was very clear that this group has no credibility among Iranians.
Nicola Pedde, Rome based Institute for Global Studies, provided background context to Albania’s dilemma by describing how he had successfully intervened in Italy to put a stop to the MEK’s deceptive campaigns to corrupt politicians and toxify Italy’s political debate on Iran with their fake information and unwanted regime change agenda.
When the MEK and Maryam Rajavi had free access to the Italian parliament, invited by various government agencies, they gathered signatures from around 70% of MPs. But after interviewing these members it was found that most MPs did not remember signing or what they signed for. Only five members deliberately supported the MEK. There was misuse of members’ ignorance on Iran issues. Such letters were used to increase the MEK’s infiltration inside institutions where they could toxify the bilateral relations and debate between the Italian Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Now Italy has strong relations with Iran, not only economic but political level too.
This toxification was to make businesses and politicians believe that any dealings with Iran will be risky or even bring up conflict. This affected parliament and the media. Since the MEK arrived in Albania it is clear they are trying to exactly replicate the methods there. They are approaching MPs, media and opinion makers, everyone who has a role in influencing the political and social debate in Albania. It is a very small country with economic and security problems. Risking involvement in something against the national interest. Two years ago, few Albanians even knew the name of the group. Now there is the capacity of influencing parliament with information which is produced in a way to derail the interests of the country toward the Iranian government.
We have a camp and a huge amount of people who can be active in the country. They can affect the capacity of the government to stand by its own decisions.
In our experience. One of the questions about this group is ‘What is its final aim’? There is no future for them in Iran, they have no capacity to reach the Iranian population. No capacity to play a role bigger than the one they play today. It is merely about maintaining the status quo. In order to keep power, money and relevance but without escalating it to the point of it actually changing the debate on Iran. That would be too risky for them and expose the fact there is no place for them in the future of Iran. Their influence is unprecedented in Europe, with their cultish approach. Their ability to toxify the debate is increasing in the current atmosphere. The Albanian experience is another aspect of the ability of Europe in dealing with the group.
Olsi Jazexhi, Director of the Free Media Institute in Tirana
MEK arrived in Albania under a secret agreement with US and Albanian government. They began to recruit politicians, musicians, students, members of civil society, activists, even Leftists and Communists and paid them come to their events. The MEK rented accommodation from one of the mafia gangs.
When some MEK began to desert the group because they do not believe in the MEK’s jihad any more, I and my wife, who is a lawyer, tried to help them. Albanian people are afraid of jihadi violence and they don’t want them in their country. The irony is that the Albanian government prosecutes those who want to join the jihad in Syria but does nothing to curtail the MEK, which is something the media have queried. Another issue is that refugees from other countries have shown that they want to integrate into Albanian society. The MEK do not want to integrate. They have come as a terrorist organisation and will commit acts of terrorism in the future. They live in a paramilitary camp and their leader Maryam Rajavi every day breaks the law of Albania by calling for jihad against a foreign country. This has resulted in Sunni leaders asking, if MEK can pursue jihad, why can’t we?
Another problem is the blackmailing of Albanian media. When Anne Khodabandeh had media interviews about who the MEK are, the MEK approached the media and told them, we are the MEK and you must not broadcast these interviews. This is outrageous because we have full freedom of speech in Albania. When Top Channel broadcast interviews with former MEK who said they wanted help from the UNHCR and Albanian government to deradicalize, the MEK accused Albania’s biggest TV station of being bought by Iran. But the MEK never accept to debate with anyone.
The MEK create fake news and information and distribute it to Albanian media. They created a campaign to say that because we are talking in the EUP today this has created the risk of a terrorist attack against the MEK in Albania.
The MEK are also attacking intellectuals. Albania is a country of religious tolerance. The MEK sent anti-terrorist police to break up a New Year celebration and arrest two veteran Iranian journalists and accuse them of terrorism. This shameful incident ended only after intervention by the president.
EU parliament, which has a lot of influence in Albania, should ask the Albanian government to demand the MEK abandon their violent jihad, to integrate into our society and to accept the values of democracy. The MEK must end the intimidation, calls for terrorism, lies and misinformation and fake news in Albania. They must dismantle their paramilitary organisation. And if Maryam Rajavi and those like Struan Stevenson disagree with us, they should deal with us in a democratic way. They must come and debate with us. I ask you as Europeans to put the utmost pressure on the Albanian government to save us from this very strange terrorist organisation.
Migena Balla, Lawyer B&B Stutio Legale in Tirana
Describes how she has tried to help those MEK who have left the organisation to establish a new life for themselves. We contacted the UNHCR and other agencies who could help but it was very difficult. We asked Geneva for help for these people who have no legal status or economic support in Albania. We finally got an interview with the director of the UNHCR in Albania. He first said we cannot do anything, only offer them food and shelter for six months. He could not say what should happen to them after six months. He confirmed that the Albanian government does not give legal status to these people. The UNHCR is still reluctant to deal with these people.
Instead, the former members’ families are helping them. Those who have families with money are supported, but those without this support are even sleeping in the streets. The MEK are paying some of them but they have no bank accounts, so they get this in cash. It is not clear how this money is arriving in Albania for the MEK.
The MEK have full control over their own members. If they try to contact their families, they will be ejected from the group. Anyone who speaks about them is accused of being agents of the Iranians. Why is nobody objecting? You are not Albanian, but you come to my country and accuse me of being an agent of Iran. I don’t care about Iran, but I do care what happens in my country of Albania. This MEK activity of threatening jihad against Iran, including Americans like Rudi Giuliani who come and clearly threaten Iran. The MEK is performing illegal activity in Albania which wants to be an EU member.
How can the MEK bring democracy to Iran when they do not have any democracy inside themselves? The MEK are not free to move around, get a job or have a family. My government cannot provide them with a civil life because they have no legal status or work permit. They were brought to Albania only with a piece of paper. They are being forced to stay with the group against their will. Their movements and activities are strictly controlled by the MEK. This is like a prison happening right in front of our eyes. Every day they are training, they go running. How can I believe this is not a military group in training?
One of the relatives who came to Albania to make contact with one of his family in MEK was arrested by the police. This is helping the MEK because it makes people afraid.
Anne Khodabandeh, Open Minds, De-Radicalisation Consultant
Starting with an explanation of the state of MEK graves, both in Albania and Iraq, the presentation highlighted the unaccountability of the MEK. In Iraq, many of the hundreds of graves were found to be fake, the contents did not correspond with the stones, some had no bodies, others had two or three. The official numbers of MEK who have arrived in Albania are also vague and imprecise. The US detained 3800 in 2003. After ten years of attrition due to dissociation, conflict, deaths by natural causes, suicides and murder, the UNHCR brought a total of 2901 individuals to Albania in September 2016. By the end of the year this number reduced to 2745.
A police report which quoted this figure also tried to account for the membership. But the numbers do not add up. These discrepancies demonstrate that we don’t know how many there are. By this account there are certainly fewer than 2500 loyal MEK members. Most of these have now been taken to the closed camp Ashraf Three to which we have no access. These numbers matter because we don’t actually know who they are. So, Senator Robert Torricelli, a MEK supporter, claims there are 4,000 MEK in Camp Ashraf Three. Where did they come from?
The police evaluated the MEK as deeply indoctrinated and having taken part in war and trained for terrorism. They know the group is dangerous but cannot keep track of them. Due to the work of investigative journalist Gjergji Thanasi we know the MEK’s activities in Albania are illegal. They do not have permits or pay taxes. He also discovered that America plans to bring more jihadis to Albania, this time the widows and orphans of killed Daesh members.
Journalists who filmed the new camp were not allowed near. Even Albanian authorities, including the police and security services are not allowed inside the camp without MEK permission and escorts. The UNHCR cannot go in and check on the state of the people there. Thanasi also discovered through planning permission permits issued by the Land Registry that Camp Ashraf Three is to have three-and-a-half-meter perimeter walls with guard turrets, a small-arms shooting range and reinforced concrete armoury, as well as a helipad. Things consistent with a military training camp.
It is also not possible for MEK members to leave the camp without permission or escort. They are essentially trapped in there. The people in the camp are living in conditions of modern slavery, like MEK everywhere. This means that the people who come to the European Parliament are actual slaves. We are familiar with the idea of sex slaves or cannabis farm slaves, but these are a genre of political slaves. They don’t get paid, they don’t have rights, like holidays, pensions, healthcare. No family relations are allowed. In fact, you can say that every single right in the UN Declaration of Human Rights is denied to them.
We know that most MEK members would like to leave and would do so if they had somewhere to go. The Albanian government doesn’t support them. UNHCR support is very limited. The UN International Organization for Migration says it is not responsible for them, even though they are foreign nationals brought from a second country to a third country.
The MEK leaders keep them in the camp through imprisonment, coercion and psychological manipulation. Why keep these people if they are so much trouble? The reason must be that two thousand people provide cover for around fifty highly radicalized members who are trained and willing to die and kill to order. The trouble is that, as has been shown, we don’t know exactly who they are because none of the residents have any recorded identity or legal status in the country.
The MEK’s raison d’être is terrorism, violent regime change. That’s what they are there for.
Maryam Rajavi can do as she likes, have people killed, send them here there and everywhere. But in the bigger world, in Albania and in Europe, who is responsible for them? Whatever they do, who must answer for them?
MEP Patricia Lalonde made the closing remarks.
The MEK presence in the EU parliament is very disturbing because of its history of interference in the internal affairs of Iraq. This is also happening in Europe. In France the failure to curtail the MEK in politics has resulted in problems in French and Iranian relations. The MEK must not be allowed to interfere in politics or economic relations.
She told delegates that in 1998 as an MP in the French parliament she had found some sympathy for the MEK cause as a feminist. When she attended an MEK rally she was told how to walk and where to stand and it felt like being in a cult, like in ‘1984’. She cut all contact with the MEK. However, when she was elected as an MEP a year ago, Lalonde was shocked that the first thing to greet her, stuffed under her door, was paper to sign for the MEK. ‘I said, “Oh my God! Are they still alive”.’ It is not acceptable that they are interfering in parliament.
EUReporter Exclusive Interview With Ana Gomes MEP And Patricia Lalonde MEP
Mojahedin Khalq, MEK, Threat in Albania – Parliamentary Round Table
EUReporter exclusive interview with Ana Gomes MEP and Patricia Lalonde MEP (Mojahedin Khalq, MEK, Threat in Albania – Parliamentary Round Table)
Mojahedine-E Khalq (MEK) Threat in Albania – Ana Gomes MEP
Mojahedine-E Khalq (MEK) Threat in Albania – Patricia Lalonde MEP
EUReporter Exclusive Interview With Olsi Jaxezhi And Anne Khodabandeh
MEK, Threat in Albania – Parliamentary Round Table
Mojahedine-E Khalq (MEK) Threat in Albania – Olsi Jaxezhi
Mojahedine-E Khalq (MEK) Threat in Albania – Anne Khodabandeh – Open Minds
Trump’s MEK version of events won’t secure victory against Iran, lets ISIS off the hook
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, February 07 2017:… He also signals that his war is not with ISIS but with the country Iran. Donald Trump rose to victory in part on the promise to take on ISIS and defeat the group. Yet ISIS cannot be defeated except by a coalition of forces that includes Iran. The facts on the ground in Syria and Iraq demonstrate unequivocally that ISIS forces in Aleppo and Mosul have been defeated largely due to the involvement of Iran. Trump clearly has no intention of defeating terrorism.
Trump’s MEK version of events won’t secure victory against Iran, lets ISIS off the hook
They say actions speak louder than words. Looking behind the Twitter storm which creates a smoke and mirrors effect to disguise the Trump administration’s true intents, one fact is blindingly clear; for this government, Iranians are first in the firing line.
This, of itself, is not unexpected. On the campaign trail Trump threatened to tear up the nuclear deal with Iran. So it was already clear he’s no fan of Iranians.
His first act as president has been to issue a direct and belligerent challenge to Iran – he included Iran in the Muslim ban and then declared that Iran is “on notice” after Iran test-fired a ballistic missile which it says is defensive. Iran is clearly in the crosshairs for Trump and his team.
And the evidence stacks up. As a barometer for any individual or even government’s aggressive approach to Iran, support for the Mojahedin Khalq (MEK aka Rajavi cult) is as accurate an indicator as any. The group has advocated violent regime change against Iran for three decades. Its supporters are in doubt that this is a rallying cry for a US-led war.
Even before taking office, revelations about potential Trump administration advisers and officials giving support to the terrorist MEK cult caused concern among foreign policy experts. After all, anti-Iran pundits can choose from literally thousands of civil groups and personalities to act as advisors and partners in challenging Iran. The MEK’s dirty past includes the anti-Imperialistinspired murder of six Americans in pre-revolution Iran which it later celebrated in songs and publications. (The family of U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jack Turner – “We were the first victims of terror before there was ever a war on terror” – is currently seeking redress for his death.) The new president has apparently brushed aside such concerns and has chosen to surround himself with people who have advocated for the MEK.
By not denouncing the MEK Trump has done several things. One is to signal that he is at war not with Iran but with Iranians. The MEK is hated more profoundly than any of Iran’s current political leaders by Iranians inside and outside the country.
He also signals that his war is not with ISIS but with the country Iran. Donald Trump rose to victory in part on the promise to take on ISIS and defeat the group. Yet ISIS cannot be defeated except by a coalition of forces that includes Iran. The facts on the ground in Syria and Iraq demonstrate unequivocally that ISIS forces in Aleppo and Mosul have been defeated largely due to the involvement of Iran. Trump clearly has no intention of defeating terrorism.
But most importantly, this tolerance, even warmth, shown toward the MEK in American foreign policy circles is a message that can be read from afar and by everyone else in the world: the American war box is virtually empty. Aside from a handful of puny sanctions, bringing the MEK into the equation means that not only does the America not have a stick to wave at Iran, it appears foolish enough, befuddled by ideological zeal perhaps, to tie its fate to the most unlucky and doom-laden group there ever was.
Laughably, parasitically, the MEK has consistently tied its fate to whichever it assumed was the winning side. However, the choice of MEK sponsors no longer looks so astute. Ayatollah Khomeini quickly saw through the MEK’s smarmy overtures to share power and promptly exiled them from Iran. The next step was to ally with Saddam Hussein against Iran during the Iran-Iraq war – a feat of spectacular treachery for which no Iranian will ever forgive them. After Saddam’s fall the MEK believed that the chaos in Iraq which gave rise to the insurrection of Al Qaida in Iraq would somehow carry them forward. The MEK even flirted with support for ISIS and the Syrian Free Army hoping they would find a home in the new Caliphate. Instead, the MEK were evicted from their base and sent into deeper exile in Albania, a country with no axe to grind against Iran. Long term sponsors have included Israel – which tasked MEK operatives with the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists – and the anti-Shia Saudi Arabia. Both countries are bogged down with interminable troubles of their own. And now the MEK are hoping to cosy up with the Trump administration.
The Obama administration kept the MEK at arms’ length and never entertained direct support for the group. When the government of Iraq held the US, along with the UN, responsible for removing the MEK from Iraq to a third country, the then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was forced to agree to remove the MEK from the US terrorism list before any third country would legally be able to accept them on their territory.
Since 2001 Trump’s predecessors have built up strong homeland defences and led counter-terrorism efforts particularly against the threat of ISIS to the US and Europe. It is now likely that this legacy will be squandered by an administration with an overriding hatred of Iran. Instead of understanding the benefit of developing strategic partnerships with countries like Iran and Iraq in the global fight against terrorism, the Trump administration would rather rain down terror on the Iranian people.
But the biggest delusion would be to believe that the MEK could be a reliable or effective partner in any sense. If Donald Trump has any insight into his own modus operandi – the erratic demands and refusal to take criticism – he will have a direct view of how the MEK operates. Aligning America’s foreign policy with the whims of a mind control cult will not secure victory over Iran. Instead, it will diminish America’s standing in the world, and it will certainly not make the world a better or safer place.
Some related documents:
Lets create another Vietnam for America(pdf).
(Mojahedin English language paper April 1980)
Letter to Imam (Khomeini) (pdf).
(Mojahedin English Language paper April 1980)
Some questions unanswered regarding the US military invasion of Iran (pdf).
(Mojahedin English Language paper June 1980)
link to one of the Mojahedin Khalq songs
advocating terror and killing Americans
(In Persian written and distributed after the Iranian Revolution)
Mojahedin Khalq (MEK, Rajavi cult)’s Fake Intelligence On Aleppo Only Hinders Fact-finding Bodies Finding The Truth
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, December 24 2016:… That can only happen if journalists and investigatory bodies (human rights, nuclear experts, war crimes, etc) are able to base their work on facts and not the fake and fictionalised fantasies of stooges like the MEK, which are clearly designed to misinform on these issues. The information laundry cycle is not difficult to follow – the Washington Times takes its report …
Mojahedin Khalq (MEK, Rajavi cult)’s Fake Intelligence On Aleppo Only Hinders Fact-finding Bodies Finding The Truth
An article published in the Washington Times Security section claims that (yet again) the Mojahedin Khalq (aka MKO, MEK, NCRI, Rajavi cult, Saddam’s Private Army) has provided intelligence to the West on Iranian crimes and atrocities. However, in terms of actual intelligence revelations, the article should more properly have sat in the Opinion section.
In this post-truth era, it almost goes without saying that facts and fiction rub shoulders in most of the articles reporting on Syria and Aleppo from all sides. But if Western journalists had no presence in Aleppo and uncritically reported hearsay and opinion to support their own agendas, think then what the MEK’s reporting is based on.
The MEK pretends it has some kind of insider knowledge which it can apparently tap into whenever it needs to make a point. Iran, however, has made no secret of its involvement in the Syrian conflict. Newspapers and state run media probably tell us in much greater detail than the Washington Times report about the deployment of fighters and how they are funded. The dead from this conflict are mourned very publicly inside Iran. It is disingenuous of the MEK to merely recycle this information as a ‘revelation’
NCRI spokesman deceives gullible U.S. officials and journalists with misinformation
But the MEK is notorious for its role as a misinformation and propaganda outlet. Variously over the years, the MEK has been exposed for false reporting and intelligence in issues such as the P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran. After passing one piece of genuine intelligence in 2002 which it was given by Mossad, the MEK continued to pass fake information to the IAEA so as to disrupt the negotiation process, and to enable the US to impose severe sanctions against Iran. In 2015 the MEK ‘shock revelation’ of a secret nuclear facility in Iran – intended to derail ongoing nuclear negotiations – when subjected to just a little bit of investigatory journalism was soon revealed as sheer fabrication. The MEK similarly muddied the waters of truth during investigations into the bombing of a Jewish centre in Argentina in 1994 for which MEK supplied intelligence implicated Iran.
NCRI ‘shock revelation’ turned out to be taken from an advertising brochure
Iran and Russia’s behaviour and agendas have their own place in these issues which should be rigorously investigated and reported. But that can only happen if journalists and investigatory bodies (human rights, nuclear experts, war crimes, etc) are able to base their work on facts and not the fake and fictionalised fantasies of stooges like the MEK, which are clearly designed to misinform on these issues.
The information laundry cycle is not difficult to follow – the Washington Times takes its report from the NCRI site of Maryam Rajavi. The NCRI site then reposts its own report as though it originated in the Washington Times and both, without further verification, get taken up by Fox News.
National Security: Could Maryam Rajavi (Mojahedin Khalq) blackmail her friends in high places – Rudi Giuliani, John Bolton and Newt Gingrich
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, November 12 2016:… In particular, Rudi Giuliani, John Bolton and Newt Gingrich. Putting aside their weak personalities as well as their individual neoconservative agendas, the common thread which links these names together is their decade long support for the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist organisation (also known as Saddam’s Private Army or Rajavi cult). It is certain that …
National Security: Could Maryam Rajavi (Mojahedin Khalq) blackmail her friends in high places – Rudi Giuliani, John Bolton and Newt Gingrich
As the reverberations of the American election echo and ripple across America and around the world, some of its repercussions are already being felt – demonstrations, racist attacks, global market and currency fluctuations, the Russian reaction and more. But as President-elect Trump considers who to appoint to the most influential positions in his Administration, the hopeful candidates may want to consider repercussions which may arise from their own backgrounds.
In particular, Rudi Giuliani, John Bolton and Newt Gingrich. Putting aside their weak personalities as well as their individual neoconservative agendas, the common thread which links these names together is their decade long support for the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist organisation(also known as Saddam’s Private Army or Rajavi cult).
Newt Gingrich bows to Maryam Rajavi
It is certain that neither these three hopefuls nor the MEK believed they would make a comeback. Rudi Giuliani, John Bolton and Newt Gingrich are not Republican favourites. But apparently, with the election of Donald Trump, their time has come. The MEK also didn’t think Trump could win and therefore advertised for Hillary Clinton in their websites.
Rudi Giuliani with Maryam Rajavi
In American politics, such things can be quickly glossed over, dismissed as political strategies. But Donald Trump does need to take this past into consideration. What Rudi Giuliani, John Bolton and Newt Gingrich do not know is that the MEK have a full record of all their meetings, dialogue and discussions. After being tutored by Saddam’s Intelligence service the MEK learned to film and record every conversation with an external person, particularly people like Rudi Giuliani, on every occasion whether in the US, Paris or Europe, even during dinner gatherings. This means that every time they hosted speakers and supporters in Paris or America these meetings were recorded. The MEK is now in possession of hundreds of hours of audio/video recordings as well as emails and phone calls of individuals like these three who have been mingling openly over the past decade with people they took to be ordinary oppositionists, but were in fact trained agents of the MEK and Saddam. The recordings can be edited and published by the MEK to suit the time, need and place.
John Bolton with Mojahedin Khalq operatives
The MEK’s hope was, of course, that by recording these private conversations they could be used in future to pressurise or even blackmail individuals if needed. They perhaps didn’t have any hope then that these individuals would reach such high office. As such this is a national security concern for the US. No one knows what is in the tapes and no one knows how these three, who have done everything for a fee in the past, would be able to stop the MEK from exposing them.
These three entered into paid lobbying for a group such as Mojahedin Khalq knowingly (perhaps not envisaging a day which they could be back in the game) accepting the end of their careers as officials. If they are now brought back and appointed to key positions, US policy could simply be taken hostage by a notorious terrorist organisation such as the Mojahedin Khalq.
Even if these three gave assurances that the paid support they gave to Maryam Rajavi and her terrorist cult Mojahedin Khalq has been done purely on straightforward lobbying grounds, no one can be certain that a decade of recordings and document gathering by the MEK would not end up producing enough leverage to highjack the national security of the United States and or its allies across the globe.
President Trump (and security advisors) simply can’t afford to take such a risk with the future of the country.
Maryam Rajavi — MEK Propaganda Queen — Advertises Her Services For Iran’s Enemies
, Huffington Post, July 08 2016:… Clearly this message is not aimed at Iranians. The clamour for regime change in Iran does not emanate from inside the country in spite of its many social, civic and political problems. Who then is Maryam Rajavi’s constituency? From whom is she hoping to garner support?Many constituencies outside Iran wish fervently for its destruction. It is enlightening that Maryam Rajavi’s …
Maryam Rajavi — MEK Propaganda Queen — Advertises Her Services For Iran’s Enemies
Co-authored by Anne Khodabandeh
The Middle East is in turmoil. Deaths and destruction are a daily occurrence throughout the region. Families flee their homes in fear, forced into an uncertain future. No end is in sight. Yet into this calamitous scenario a slick, sophisticated terrorist recruiter’s advert has popped up which ISIS itself could learn from.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) website carries a glamorous advertising campaign for a Grand Gathering. Surrounded by glitzy pictures of flag-waving youth, the central focus of this gathering is ‘Our pledge: regime change’.
Well, we all know what that means. Don’t we? Apparently not. Because this advertising doesn’t reflect the destruction wrought in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen. Here is no promise of jihad and the caliphate. It looks very much like a carnival. Which is exactly what it is – a show. So, what is meant by the promise of regime change?
The first port of call is to understand that the NCRI is just another name for the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) which was also known as the National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA).
Back in 1994, MEK leader Massoud Rajavi tasked his wife Maryam to leave Iraq for America in order to regain political recognition of the Mojahedin Khalq as ‘the’ Iranian opposition which had been lost when he refused to abandon Saddam Hussein during the First Gulf war.
Refused entry to the USA as the leader of a terrorist entity Maryam instead took up residence in France as a refugee. But instead of meeting politicians to talk about how the MEK could overthrow the Iranian regime, she discovered she could simply create the illusion of support by paying both audience and speakers. She discovered a talent for dressing up, holding fancy dinner parties and talking about her cult ideology.
To create the appearance of a willing audience for her views, she recruited a rag-tag following of Iranian economic refugees who would happily turn up when paid for their services. She paid for feminists from North America, Europe and Scandinavia to visit Auvers-sur-Oise and attend dinner parties. She posed in her hijab to speak about her version of feminism to these western women; carefully spelling it out for them that they would never really understand what feminism is until they understood her husband Massoud Rajavi.
When Massoud recalled her to Iraq in 1997 she had spent a third of the total MEK budget and had no political support to show for it. She had lost around half the loyal MEK members who had defected whilst in Europe. With morale at an all-time low, Maryam was forced to retreat to Iraq with what remained of her personnel and leave the western bases in the hands of largely uneducated paid ‘supporters’.
When allied forces next invaded Iraq in 2003 Maryam Rajavi again fled to France. This time, as luck would have it, western politics was focused on curtailing Iran’s nuclear programme which it insisted was aimed at creating a nuclear weapon. The MEK’s services as propaganda experts were just what was needed, ensuring the MEK’s ostensible survival as an opposition group.
But in reality the MEK was already in terminal decline. Its fighting forces, disarmed in 2003, are currently being transferred from Iraq to Albania by the UNHCR to begin a process of de-radicalisation and reintegration back into normal society. Nobody expects veterans with an average age of sixty to wage the terrorism of thirty years ago. Disarmament also allowed American experts to investigate years of complaints about human rights and cultic abuses inside the MEK. As long as the MEK was being used to muddy the waters of the nuclear negotiations, such details could be glossed over. But since last year when agreement was reached, the MEK’s murky past can no longer be dismissed.
The main reason, of course, is that the new theme for challenging Iran in the international community is based on the country’s dismal human rights record. But Maryam Rajavi has her own well documented human rights abuse dossier to answer for. The MEK, under whatever name it is used, is simply the wrong tool to use to demonise Iran.
Beyond this, the MEK is not the popular opposition its own advertising claims it to be. The group is almost universally despised among Iranians both inside the country and in the diaspora. Not only did the MEK fight alongside Saddam Hussein’s army during the devastating eight-year Iran-Iraq war, but the MEK’s anti-Iran role in the nuclear negotiations hit a nerve with most ordinary Iranians who regarded support for their country’s right to nuclear technology as an issue ofnationalism rather than politics.
Maryam Rajavi cannot get support from Iranians unless it is paid for. Nor can Maryam Rajavi deign to share a platform with any other Iranian opposition personality. So this year Maryam Rajavi will again do what she does best; pay audience and speakers alike to give the illusion of support.
So, back to the recent advertising campaign. Any publicity campaign will be successful if it is newsworthy. Maryam, however, simply churns out the same scenario ad infinitum. Starting with describing a terrible situation in Iran – based on news items that can be gleaned from any serious reporting outlet – she then proposes a ten-point plan for Iran, approved this year by Italian parliamentarians. And then she promises regime change.
Clearly this message is not aimed at Iranians. The clamour for regime change in Iran does not emanate from inside the country in spite of its many social, civic and political problems. Who then is Maryam Rajavi’s constituency? From whom is she hoping to garner support?
Many constituencies outside Iran wish fervently for its destruction. It is enlightening that Maryam Rajavi’s websites are home to a bizarre mixture of anti-Shia, anti-Iran, anti-Syria, items which reflect very closely the views of neocons, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Maryam Rajavi is not promising regime change, she is advertising her services as a propaganda queen.
Maryam Rajavi’s lobbyist convicted for child sexual abuse
BBC, April 11 2016:… All the victims “struggled and are still struggling” with what Hastert did to them, prosecutors argue. Hastert made them feel “alone, ashamed, guilty and devoid of dignity”, they say. Hastert, who retired in 2007 after serving as House Speaker for eight years, will be sentenced later this month for concealing the large sums of money he paid to Individual A to buy his silence. Between 2010 and 2012 he withdrew $750,000 in lump sums of $50,000 …
Maryam Rajavi’s lobbyist convicted for child sexual abuse
Dennis Hastert ‘paid hush money to cover up sex abuse’
Hastert has pleaded guilty to lying and breaking financial laws
Prosecutors are seeking a six-month jail sentence for disgraced former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who is alleged to have paid hush money to cover up sex abuse.
Court documents say Hastert agreed to pay $3.5m (£2.5m) to a person he sexually abused when the victim was aged 14 and Hastert was working as a teacher and wrestling coach.
Prosecutors allege he abused five boys.
The 74-year-old has admitted lying and breaking financial laws.
The plea represents a dramatic fall for the former senior Republican politician, who has had his portrait removed from the House of Representatives in the US Congress.
The alleged abuse happened while Hastert was working in Yorkville, a suburb of Chicago, between 1965 and 1981. Three of the victims were wrestlers on a team he coached.
He cannot be charged with sexual abuse as the statute of limitations has expired in the cases.
One of the victims – referred to in court documents as Individual A – said Hastert had stayed with him in a motel room on the way back from a trip to a wrestling camp and touched him inappropriately.
Two of the others, aged 14 and 17, said Hastert had performed sex acts on them in the locker room at the high school in Yorkville.
All the victims “struggled and are still struggling” with what Hastert did to them, prosecutors argue. Hastert made them feel “alone, ashamed, guilty and devoid of dignity”, they say.
Dennis Hastert along side other American paid speakers in Mojahedin Khalq terrorists gathering in Paris
Hastert, who retired in 2007 after serving as House Speaker for eight years, will be sentenced later this month for concealing the large sums of money he paid to Individual A to buy his silence.
Between 2010 and 2012 he withdrew $750,000 in lump sums of $50,000 before learning of rules requiring banks to report large transactions.
After that he withdrew a further $952,000 in lump sums of less than $10,000 between 2012 and 2014.
He was able to pay Individual A $1.7m in payments of $100,000 before being questioned by the FBI in 2014 about his withdrawals.
One of the reasons he gave for the large withdrawals was that he was being blackmailed by someone making a false claim of sex abuse.
He agreed to let investigators record phone conversations he had with Individual A, but prosecutors said the “tone and comments” of Individual A in the conversations were “inconsistent with someone committing extortion”.
In a deal with prosecutors, he admitted the charge of “structuring and assisting in structuring currency transactions” by removing small sums of money to avoid the transactions being reported.
However, the charge of lying to FBI investigators is set to be dropped.
Defence lawyers want Hastert to be spared jail because they say he is suffering from ill health.
He is due to be sentenced on 27 April.
Dennis Hastert before the fall – Maryam Rajavi’s Villepinte speaker 2014
JOSH GERSTEIN, Poitico, June 12 2015:… Hastert, 73, was arraigned Tuesday on charges that he arranged nearly $1 million bank withdrawals to avoid filing disclosure reports, then lied to the FBI about it. The money was allegedly part of a $3.5 million payment Hastert agreed to make to an unidentified former male student over what was reportedly …
Dennis Hastert before the fall
Papers from the former House speaker’s congressional years suggest there was more than a touch of hypocrisy in his long record as a staunch social conservative.
Just before his election as House speaker in 1999, Dennis Hastert spearheaded legislation to prevent use of the Internet to encourage sexual acts with children. As he often did, Hastert invoked his personal history “as a father and a person who has dealt with public schools for a long time” to urge passage.
“We must continue to be proactive warding off pedophiles and other creeps who want to take advantage of our children,” Hastert said, according to an account of an Internet forum he held in his congressional district.
Known among his colleagues as “the Coach,” Hastert cultivated a nice-guy image and man-of-the-people persona during his years on Capitol Hill. But papers from Hastert’s congressional years suggest that there was more than a touch of hypocrisy in Hastert’s long record as a staunch social conservative.
Long after he’d become a powerful figure on Capitol Hill, Hastert reflected often about the values and strategy he learned in 16 years teaching at Yorkville High School in Illinois. He never gave a hint that there was a darker side to his early career as a teacher, coach and Explorer Scout leader, a picture that has begun to emerge since his May 28 indictment on federal charges.
“I’m sure you can understand how important wrestling is for the development of adolescents in their crucial high school years,” he wrote in a 2005 letter to a retiring Maryland wrestling coach. “And in my role as Speaker of the House, I still employ many of my old coaching techniques while trying to achieve our goals here on Capitol Hill.”
Hastert, 73, was arraigned Tuesday on charges that he arranged nearly $1 million bank withdrawals to avoid filing disclosure reports, then lied to the FBI about it. The money was allegedly part of a $3.5 million payment Hastert agreed to make to an unidentified former male student over what was reportedly past sexual misconduct. The sister of another former Hastert student, who died two decades ago — Steve Reinboldt — has accused Hastert of victimizing her brother but said the family never sought money.
Hastert’s extensive collection of personal papers and memorabilia, housed at Wheaton’s Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, offers few clues about his relationships with former students or insights into any of the ethical scandals that rocked the House during his tenure as the chamber’s longest-serving Republican speaker. A Wheaton archivist gave POLITICO permission to review the files but asked that extensive document use be approved by Hastert’s former chief of staff, Scott Palmer. Palmer did not return phone calls or emails.
The records show that Hastert’s office kept a legislative file titled “Homosexuals,” filled with policy statements from social conservative groups like the Traditional Values Coalition and the Family Research Council that criticized same-sex marriage and Clinton administration efforts to prevent discrimination against gays and lesbians. The file also includes a 1996 Weekly Standard article, “Pedophilia Chic” that warned that “revisionist suggestions about pedophilia” were being embraced by the left.
Hastert co-sponsored a successful effort to impose stiff federal criminal penalties for Web-based pedophiles, a cause that he said was inspired by a mother’s visit to his Batavia district office. The woman told Hastert that her 9-year-old daughter had been targeted on the Internet by a sexual predator, creating such fear that the family moved to a city in Hastert’s district. Hastert issued a concerned letter to constituents to flag the dangers.
“This bill sends a strong message to the most heinous of criminals who prey upon our children — you will be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Hastert said at the time.
Hastert billed himself as a social conservative from his earliest days in the Illinois Legislature, when he sided with the Moral Majority to fight a bill barring discrimination against gays.
The Hastert congressional files show that his influence escalated dramatically with his selection as speaker. Republican members wrote him to try to schedule floor debates and appealed to him for seats on their favorite committees. His mailbox was filled with requests from members like former former Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe who wanted re-appointment to the board that supervised the House page program, and Florida Rep. Mark Foley, who wanted to join a parliamentary exchange with NATO countries.
“The need to represent U.S. interests and work to strengthen our ties with NATO is more pressing now than ever before,” Foley, from West Palm Beach, wrote to Hastert in December 2004.
Two years later, Foley led Hastert into one of the biggest scandals of his career. Foley was accused in 2006 of sending sexually explicit text messages to male teenagers in the House page program and showing up inebriated at the page dormitory. Hastert’s office was criticized for failing to act promptly when Foley’s behavior was first reported. The House page program never recovered and was disbanded in 2011. There appear to be no hints of that scandal in Hastert’s papers.
Throughout his congressional years, Hastert traveled widely on taxpayer-funded congressional delegations with staff and other members, leading CODELS to Russia, Korea, Israel and Colombia. He collected gifts — a sterling silver clock from 10 Downing Street, an etching from Russia — and eventually donated them to the archives, along with boxes of awards from groups like the National Pork Producers Association and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
After resigning in 2007 to pursue a lobbying career, Hastert again ventured far from his Plano, Illinois, home with adventures in Singapore and Saudi Arabia. Some of the travel and push for greater income came in 2010, when federal prosecutors contend the former speaker struck a deal to pay an acquaintance $3.5 million to keep quiet about Hastert’s “past misconduct.”
Because of the federal charges, Hastert’s early dealings with legal and judicial figures are getting special scrutiny. The federal judge assigned to Hastert’s criminal case, Thomas Durkin, formally recused himself Tuesday because of perceptions about his ties to the former speaker and others involved in the case. However, the judge said he would not ultimately step aside if both the prosecution and defense agree he should continue.
At Hastert’s arraignment, Durkin detailed his work with Hastert’s son Ethan at a Chicago-based law firm and $1,500 in donations made to the former speaker’s reelection campaigns over a decade ago. Durkin also noted that his brother Jim is the Republican minority leader of the Illinois House.
Hastert’s archival files reveal yet another connection: Jim Durkin once lobbied Hastert to block proposed federal legislation that would have ended a program offering prosecutors a public-service forgiveness for student debt. “This is not a time in which government should be eliminating resources but rather investing resources in a system whose integrity has been challenged,” Jim Durkin wrote to Hastert in 2000.
If the current judge gives up Hastert’s case, the former speaker’s files show ties to other judges who might take it over.
In a 2005 thank-you note, then-Illinois Solicitor General Gary Feinerman said he was “deeply grateful” to Hastert for his support in a potential nomination for a federal judgeship in Chicago. Feinerman didn’t make it to the bench at that time but got the nod from President Barack Obama in 2009 and was confirmed to the lifetime post the next year. (Judge Durkin acknowledged in court Tuesday that he’d sought similar help from Hastert’s office to win his appointment.)
The Hastert records also show federal judges in Illinois reaching out to him for help funding courthouse renovations and increased security after the 2005 murders of the husband and mother of U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lefkow. One such plea came from the chief district court judge in Chicago at the time, Charles Kocoras, who asked Hastert to give more resources to the U.S. Marshals Service for security systems for judges’ homes and other security measures.
Hastert’s files don’t appear to contain a reply. Kocoras is now overseeing a federal civil lawsuit filed against the former speaker by an ex-business partner, David John, who claims Hastert used taxpayer funds to advance his lobbying career. Kocoras has dismissed the case twice but another attempt to refile the suit is pending.
Hastert’s files also show that in 2005, Hastert met with top leaders of the FBI in Chicago to urge them to combat money laundering in connection with drug trafficking. Hastert now stands charged with a type of money-laundering offense, known as structuring, for breaking nearly $1 million in cash withdrawals into increments of less than $10,000 in order to avoid federal reporting requirements.
In the main, though, the records illustrate the rise of an Illinois farm boy to a government leader who mingled with presidents and foreign potentates. The files also show how ordinary folk from Illinois— including some former students — streamed into Hastert’s Capitol Hill office and signed the guest register.
The archives include notes of thanks and friendship from nearly every former U.S. president alive during Hastert’s tenure as speaker. “I am so very proud of your leadership,” George H.W. Bush wrote on a Walker’s Point card in 2001, adding a “#41” to his signature.
“Thanks for coming to the ranch,” President-Elect George W. Bush wrote in December 2000. “Together we can make a real difference for our country.”
President Bill Clinton penned a handwritten thank-you note to Hastert for coming along on a trip to South America. “The day in Colombia was great,” Clinton wrote in 2000.
A 1999 note from former President Jimmy Carter said he and wife Rosalynn enjoyed Hastert’s appearance on a PBS show and “appreciate the difficulty of your job and also the way you are approaching your duties.”
There are personal notes from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. A letter from singer Bono declined an invite to a St. Patrick’s Day event but called a Hastert-hosted party at the 2004 GOP convention “hugely memorable.”
Hastert’s 2005 surgery to remove kidney stones brought well wishes from politicians of all stripes. “I don’t know what brings those on — raising hell with Democrats?” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) joked.
The papers also hint at Hastert’s religious devotion. One file includes a copy of music from a church hymnal and, on the opposite side, an extremely ornate cross hand-drawn in ink.
In the lower right hand corner, the sketch is signed: “Dennis Hastert.”
Tarini Parti contributed to this report.