Rajavi’s Cyber Army: The MEK’s Twitter Legions (+ Syria’s Opposition Must Not Embrace the MEK)

Rajavi’s Cyber Army: The MEK’s Twitter Legions (+ Syria’s Opposition Must Not Embrace the MEK)

Maryam Rajavi Saddam's private army NCRIBen Allinson-Davies, Unfettered Freedom For All!, December 03 2014:… To make matters worse, many of the MEK accounts are using the names, images, and personas of MEK members killed by the Iraqi and Iranian regimes. In other words, not only has the MEK thoroughly milked them for their ‘blood and breath’ (MEK members have to swear to give their …

Maryam Rajavi Saddam's private army NCRICouncil of Foreign Relations, 2014: Mujahadeen-e-Khalq (MEK). Backgrounders

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Rajavi’s Cyber Army: The MEK’s Twitter Legions

When confronting the Mujahedeen/Mojahedin Khalq, or MEK, MKO, etc, a crucial aspect of it which has been repeatedly overlooked, is its online activities. While there is an abundance of information and readily available studies revealing the cultic nature of the group (which the neocons consistently ignore) and the “limited exit options” (to put it mildly) it offers the members once entering the organisation, few have stopped to point out another aspect of this bizarre organisation – maybe because the knee-jerk reaction of many expat members is to brand them an “agent of the mullahs”.

The public face of the faux-dissident group is, of course, the charismatic, beaming face of Maryam Rajavi. She is an impressive orator, conversant not only in her native Persian, but also in fluent French and English, and supremely confidant, an impressive saleswoman for any group. Her ostensible support for democracy, coupled with these factors, makes supporting her and her organisation more than tempting for many western politicians, who simply see the enemy of their enemy as an immediate friend.

Online, Mrs Rajavi would appear to be just as vibrantly abuzz with followers and interest as she tries to portray herself to be offline. She has several Twitter accounts which ceaselessly promote her statements and messages, which are posted on several different websites (just in case you didn’t see the first few million posts emphasising them) on the MEK’s official website (which is of course, mojahedin.org), on the website for the unofficial MEK political wing (the ‘National Council of Resistance’), and on her own personal website. Translations are in English, French, Farsi and Arabic.

For someone who hasn’t exactly won Hassan Rouhani’s seat yet (although her and her husband have had a damn good try), her website gives the impression that, far from leading an organisation widely hated by Iranians, she’s halfway there – a multitude of tabs are devoted to her views, works and statements, photographs of crowds of supporters bearing the images of herself and her husband appear, she is shown in videos sitting and giving statements, you name it. Her branch of the “resistance”, in reality, has more presence among the diaspora than within Iran.

It’s when you start looking at her most basic of platforms, namely her English language Twitter profile, that something first strikes you as amiss. Some tweets are clearly posted by Maryam Herself, others possibly posted by her staff. Not that there’s anything wrong with that of course.

But take a look at those retweeting her, and those who very occasionally reply; those who can reply and challenge her views without being blocked after a period of time, that is. 90% of those retweeting  her are accounts with nearly identical features.

Of course, when on the internet, like-minded people, especially those who strongly support parties or causes, will naturally act in a like-minded way; changing their pictures to similar ones, using similar backgrounds and slogans, etc.

But these accounts are literally identical in almost every respect. Similar pictures, similar slogans, similar lack of any personal touch whatsoever, and all devoted to either retweeting or paraphrasing Mrs Rajavi’s every word.

Don’t believe me? Check this one, ‘royaraha’, for example. This account has no description, a bland background of flowers with the avatar of a horse, 86 followers and devotes all its time to retweeting; the vast majority of its retweets are retweeting… Other accounts, also automaton-like. Then there’s another, Nakba Nejati, with an avatar of a killed MEK member, exactly 86 followers, no description, and devotes all its time to retweeting Maryam and other like-minded accounts; many, again, also automated. Here’s another, with the bland stock image of a bird, which is exactly the same as the previous two. Here’s anotherand anotherand another. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of these accounts; some bearing pictures of Maryam Rajavi in abundance, some not. Some with descriptions praising the Rajavis and the MEK/NCRI, some without, yet with avatars depicting the two, and acting in exactly the same manner.

Long story short; Maryam isn’t retweeted by hundreds of adoring fans, but by hundreds (if not thousands) of seemingly automated accounts (“bots”, to internet-savvy types) save for the occasional account which may or may not be operated by the person they claim to be – like-minded activists, neocons and right-wing types who seem to genuinely want to believe in the group, etc. It was well known that the MEK has a very limited following within Iran, but I didn’t imagine that it was so irrelevant to the Iranian political climate that even the tweets of the leaders would need propping up with more falsehood and lies.

A shot of one of the automated accounts, frantically/automatically dedicated to retweeting Maryam. A shot of one of the automated accounts, frantically/automatically dedicated to retweeting Maryam.

To make matters worse, many of the MEK accounts are using the names, images, and personas of MEK members killed by the Iraqi and Iranian regimes. In other words, not only has the MEK thoroughly milked them for their ‘blood and breath’ (MEK members have to swear to give their breath to Massoud Rajavi, and blood to Maryam Rajavi) during their lives, but it continues to use them to further an agenda when they’re dead, too. Avatars of many of the accounts depict dead members, with one even seemingly using a screenshot from a ‘martyrdom’ video! One was also ostensibly ‘in memory’ of a fallen activist… Only to spend all its time retweeting Maryam & frantically retweeting ‘friends’ and fellow ‘martyrs’.

Here's yet another account... Here’s yet another account…

A possible source of these various cloned accounts becomes obvious when some wider reading is done. According to Iran Interlink, former MEK fighters resettled by the MEK in Albania and other nations continued to be harassed by the group into doing its bidding, and had to once again  attempt to escape them, even though they had long since left the prison camp of Ashraf (named after Rajavi’s deceased wife). They were asked to ceaselessly post online propaganda for the group, despite no longer being members:

According to Iran interlink,  Several Iranian residents in Europe who have contact with their friends in Tirana are now reporting that the MKO agents are exerting huge pressure on the disaffected members, who have been moved to another building block, to sign a petition against these fifty nine people and denounce them as “agents of the regime”. The MKO agents make efforts to buy the recently defected individuals in Albania back to the cult.  Except for a few who have money from their families the rest must rely either on $200 per month from the UNHCR or alternatively the MEK will give them $500 per month on condition they work on the internet (to promote the MEK) and not work against them in any way. They threaten the refugees to death if they do not cooperate with them.

Thus, it seems like yet another vile twist has been added – that the MEK forces its mistreated members, which have ostensibly been freed from its grasp, to blindly retweet and comment ceaselessly online, from countries where they should be at last living in freedom and dignity, in support of the group which held them captive for so long.

It may not surprise those familiar with the MEK at all. Its policy of renting/coercing supporters into staging public acts of fealty (to the point of instructing members to set themselves alight in the streets should their beloved leaders come to any harm) comes in a variety of forms. To ensure that Maryam Rajavi’s annual mass “all for freedom” gathering doesn’t turn out to be a sparsely-populated washout, the MEK offers to bus willing students, activists, and anyone it can cajole into coming along – by offering them a “free” holiday to Paris, with all expenses paid, on condition that they come to the gathering to make its size seem impressive. The testimony of Alina Alymkulova, a Kyrgyz student, contains an overview of their methods. Here’s an outtake:

I arrived at a bus station in Prague along with a friend, a fellow student from Kyrgyzstan. Just as the trip organizer said last night, there were eight buses waiting to take us to Paris.

Most of the “protesters” were young and obviously students like me. I met many Russians, Ukrainians, Czechs, and students from Asian countries who were all recruited via the Internet.

More than an hour later we were still at the bus station. People kept coming. It was cold and rainy, and some people began to drink alcohol to keep warm. Some others started to chant slogans: “Freedom to Iranian parrots!” and “Organizers should bring beer!”

I approached two Russian girls to see if they might have a better idea about the purpose of our trip. “To defend the rights of Iranian women,” said one of the girls. “To meet handsome Frenchmen,” said the other. “Who cares about Iranian women?

As we can see, the MEK offers “limited exit options” not only to its own imprisoned members in Camp Liberty, but also to anyone attending its large “gathering” (drawn more from foreigners than Iranians) in the free world too.

1:16 p.m.: The buses took us to some strange place not far from Charles de Gaulle Airport. We were given papers explaining where to go and what to do. Cameras were not allowed. As we exited the bus, I resigned myself to the idea that running away was not an option — people were guarding the area.

In another instances, for demonstrations around Europe and America, the MEK has paid an array of people – from miscellaneous citizens to beggars – to go to their demonstrations and don disconcerting t-shirts showing pictures of the would-be Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu, in order to beef up the size of their demonstrations.

 An African-American beggar, part of the MEK’s rented crowd at a demonstration in front of the UN headquarters in New York. When asked about why she was there, she claimed that she was offered “20 dollars and a meal”.

It isn’t just the demonstrators who are often hired to go to these events either. Speakers are paid tens of thousands of dollars to speak on behalf of the group for as little as a few minutes. The MEK’s speakers in the past have even included figures such as former New York Mayor Rudi Guliani, former house speaker Newt Gingrich, and  Vermont Governor Howard Dean. In other words, neocons who see the enemy of their enemy (the Iranian regime) as a firm friend. According to CSM, their methods of hiring speakers are as follows:

“‘Your speech agent calls, and says you get $20,000 to speak for 20 minutes. They will send a private jet, you get $25,000 more when you are done, and they will send a team to brief you on what to say.’ . . . The contracts can range up to $100,000 and include several appearances.”

Such big money seems to have been crucial in the de-listing of the group as a terrorist organisation (it was backlisted in 1997) in September 2012 by Hilary Clinton, then Secretary of State.

An Iranian flag, thrown in the bin by someone at Rajavi's "gathering". Presumably by one of the hired "demonstrators". An Iranian flag, thrown in the bin by someone at Rajavi’s “gathering”. Presumably by one of the hired “demonstrators”.

Former Pennsylvania governor Rendel, among others put under investigation for receiving money from the MEK prior to delisting, may have received up to $150,000 for around eight appearances. True to form, the bottomless pockets of the MEK were not only filled by the diaspora, but largely from of payments dished out by the then-genocidal war chest of Saddam Hussein. Israel too, has used the MEK as mercenaries, in exchange for MEK assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists. Funding has also come from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which previously used the MEK as auxiliaries with which they hoped to carve up Iran, should the MEK’S charge of the Rajavi brigade have been successful in 1998.

In short, as long as the MEK continues to have no traction within Iran, no amount of bots will save it from the murderous irrelevance that it increasingly finds itself plunged into.

Also read:

Revolt Without Rajavi: Syria’s Opposition Must Not Embrace the MEK

Former SNC leader Ahmed Jarba and MEK leader Maryam Rajavi.

Lately the Syrian opposition, and to an extent some of their foreign supporters, are clearly comfortable with cosying up to the MEK, an Iranian “opposition” group based in Iraq and Paris.

For some background information to those of you out there who are unaware of what the group is, or what it stands for, it is led by a charismatic couple, Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. Massoud Rajavi is a former Iranian dissident nearly sentenced to death by the Shah of Iran in 1979, who had led the group since 1975. Upon his release, he carried on his work with the Mujahideen E-Khalq organisation, an Iranian opposition movement based around Shiite Islamism and Marxism, with a longstanding history of opposition to the Shah. Despite supporting the revolution and being a member of the group since he was 20, as leader, he quickly fell out with Khomenei’s new regime. At one point, his group was the biggest base of opposition to the regime, and one of his rallies in opposition to the cleric’s regime apparently drew 200,000 people. It was said that the movement was capable of getting 500,000 people onto the streets at short notice, at one point.

His organisation was heavily repressed  and expelled from Iran. After being expelled from France for various attacks inside and outside Iran, it took up residence in Saddam’s Iraq with his blessing in 1986, fighting against its own people’s forces during the Iran-Iraq war, and has stayed in Iran ever since, despite also coming under attack from the air by the US in the 2003 invasion. Since then, it’s main political headquarters are in France, while the majority of the residents remain in Camp Liberty, Iraq.

The support given to the MEK (or rather, the approval that some anti-Assad activists show in its general direction) is down to the fact that since the start of Syrian revolution against the Assad regime in 2011, the group has spiced up its usual monotonous, anti-Iranian regime rhetoric which it has been pumping out for years, with strongly anti-Assad rhetoric too.

Since they have a large social media following (one of the few platforms in which they possess anything remotely resembling a tangible following), and since many of those who support what the MEK ostensibly stand for are those who genuinely believe that the organisation supports the freedom of Iran, their constant articles which trumpet the latest success of the freedom fighters in Syria, posts and tributes to the Syrian people in their struggle against the genocidal Assad regime, and claims that the Syrian and Iranian people are brothers in a struggle against the Khomeneist regime in Tehran (currently led by Ali Khamenei, since Khomenei’s  death in 1989) strongly resonate with many, given the abandonment of the Syrian people by the world, and the fact that Iran has been one of the strongest supporters of the Assad regime and its genocide waged against the Syrian people, sending millions of dollars of arms, tens of thousands of fighters, and much needed expertise to help keep the slaughter going. In February 2012, Maryam Rajavi (her enigmatic husband Massoud has been in hiding since the invasion of Iraq in 2003) gave this well-worded performance:

Let us rise for a moment and applaud the Syrian people for their perseverance and glorious struggle. The eleven-month-long struggle of our Syrian sisters and brothers has become an inspirational model for all the peoples of the region. The formation of units of the Syrian liberation army in various parts of the country speaks to their unwavering determination to achieve freedom.

This shining struggle has turned 2012 into a turning point in the contemporary history of the Middle East because it has targeted the coalition of dictators and religious fascists throughout the region.  It is a complete nightmare for Khamenei and his allies. That is why they are directly participating in the killing of the arisen people of Syria. The entire nation of Iran resents this despicable act.

The religious fascism ruling Iran officially welcomed the shameful decision by Russia and China to veto the UN Security Council resolution condemning the Bashar Assad regime. And, it is actively participating in the killing of the Syrian people through its Quds forces.

On behalf of the Iranian people and Resistance, we condemn Khamenei’s participation in crimes against humanity being committed in Syria, and underscore the need for urgent and practical measures by the international community to protect the defenseless people of Syria.

We must once again ask, what has become of the principle of Responsibility to Protect? What has happened to the international responsibility to protect? Where is the United Nations?

Fine words indeed, especially when they all happen to be true. Syria’s population is indeed suffering from a slaughter of disastrous proportions, and is in dire need of rescue. The fall of Aleppo to the Assad regime  and its ISIS allies looks imminent, Assad knows that he can use ISIS to frighten the world into backing him because he’s allegedly opposed to them (although by now most of us know that that’s like working with Hitler to fight against the fascists), and the world remains unable to focus on both Israel and Gaza at once. Syria is in dire straights.

The problem is not with the words. The problem is with who is speaking them. Rajavi is able to so fluently and so aptly describe the horrors that a sadistic dictatorship puts people through, because she runs one herself in Camp Ashraf, the current home of the mujahideen in Iraq.

The ways in which the mujahideen work are almost identical to the very regimes they ostensibly despise. Yes, they claim to be strongly opposed to Khamenei’s nightmareocracy in Iran. Yes, they have a history of fighting against it (bravely to the point of self sacrifice all too often), and yes, they claim to strongly support the Syrian revolution, and their website is saturated with pro-revolution material. Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the MEK, even met with former SNC leader Ahmed Jarba, and regularly condemns the Assad regime on her websites and social media.

Maryam and Massoud literally and metaphorically watch over the lives of their followers.

While it is true that the MEK did indeed start out as an idealistic (and it still is, at the ground level, where many genuinely believe in fighting for the Rajavis and by default, for Iran), revolutionary organisation which helped to unseat the repressive regime of the Shah, it degenerated into a dystopic cult, ruled by the two-headed tyranny of the Rajavi couple. Members have been forced into self-criticism sessions in which they are forced to humiliate themselves if they get any thoughts about the opposite sex, men and women have been forced to divorce if they are married (although this didn’t stop Maryam and Massoud from getting together of cause, which Masoud claiming to be emulating the Prophet Muhammad) and cannot mix (under threat of “severe punishment”), members are taught that they must give themselves over utterly to Maryam and Masoud, and dissenting members are imprisoned and killed… All manner of horror stories have emerged from their Jonestown-esque hovel of conformity, machines, and enslavement,  as journalist Elizabeth Rubin found out when she visited them in 2003:

But despite its rhetoric, the Mujahedeen operates like any other dictatorship. Mujahedeen members have no access to newspapers or radio or television, other than what is fed them. As the historian Abrahamian told me, ”No one can criticize Rajavi.” And everyone must go through routine self-criticism sessions. ”It’s all done on tape, so they have records of what you say. If there’s sign of resistance, you’re considered not revolutionary enough, and you need more ideological training. Either people break away or succumb.”

Salahaddin Mukhtadi, an Iranian historian in exile who still maintains communications with the Mujahedeen because it is the strongest armed opposition to the Iranian regime, told me that Mujahedeen members ”are locked up if they disagree with anything. And sometimes killed.”

Afshari, who fled the group 10 years ago, told me how friendship was forbidden. No two people could sit alone and talk together, especially about their former lives. Informants were planted everywhere. It was Maryam’s idea to kill emotional relationships. ”She called it ‘drying the base,”’ Afshari said. ”They kept telling us every one of your emotions should be channeled toward Massoud, and Massoud equals leadership, and leadership equals Iran.” The segregation of the sexes began almost from toddlerhood. ”Girls were not allowed to speak to boys. If they were caught mingling, they were severely punished.”
Though Maryam and Massoud finagled it so they could be together, they forced everyone else into celibacy. ”They told us, ‘We are at war, and soldiers cannot have wives and husbands,”’ Afshari said. ”You had to report every single day and confess your thoughts and dreams. They made men say they got erections when they smelled the perfume of a woman.” Men and women had to participate in ”weekly ideological cleansings,” in which they would publicly confess their sexual desires. It was not only a form of control but also a means to delete all remnants of individual thought.

Rajavi sheds crocodile tears for oppressed Syrians, whilst oppressing her own fellow Iranian MEK members. Rajavi sheds crocodile tears for oppressed Syrians, whilst oppressing her own fellow Iranian MEK members.

Towards the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988, Massoud Rajavi needed more mujahideen martyrs so he could revitalise his organisation. The once-popular Iranian opposition leader-turned-turncoat had got a taste for power, and developed a nasty habit of utilising it to the full, at the expense of his members. With the full backing of Saddam (crucially, his air force) the Rajavis got their members to launch a suicidal attack on Iranian territory codenamed “Operation Eternal Light”, involving 7000 MEK militants attacking their own territory under the facade of the “National Liberation Army of Iran”. The mujahideen ransacked and destroyed the Iranian towns of Sarpol-e Zahab, Islamabad-e-Gharb, and Qasr-e Shirin, supported by Saddam’s chemical weapons attacks… On fellow Iranians.

Due to either appalling tactical efficiency, or because Massoud deliberately wanted some form of massacre, they went beyond their air cover, and the Iranian counterattack may have resulted in as many as 4000 of their own members being wiped out, and incentivised the killings of thousands of jailed activists (many of them MEK members). All because Massoud Rajavi wanted to have an abundance of martyrs to boost the declining organisation. Maybe he somehow believed that Tehran was his, with only 7000 men needed to take it.

During the post-gulf war 1991 uprisings against Saddam’s tyranny, Saddam ordered the MEK to help him to crush Shiites and Kurds, which they willingly did by the thousands, as they had also killed so many of their own people and members. Maryam Rajavi infamously told her followers: “Take the Kurds under your tanks, and save your bullets for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards”. Most of the group’s members left (“escaped” is the correct term, nobody can voluntarily leave) in disillusion, and the organisation reached new lows in order to raise the numbers in their ranks once again.

1991: "Take the Kurds under your tanks..." 2013: "I'm totally concerned about Kurdish political prisoners. Honest!" 1991: “Take the Kurds under your tanks…”
2013: “I’m totally concerned about Kurdish political prisoners. Honest!”

It began to pray on vulnerable Iranian dissidents; both those who fled the Khomenei regime, and those who lived abroad. To get them to join, they prayed on their fears and hopes; Masoud Rajavi in particular is said to have an excellent understanding of human psychology, and knew how to play on the hopes and fears of so many destitute souls, many of whom had already lost relatives and friends as a result of Khomenei’s bloodletting. The MEK has also imprisoned and tortured many of their own dissidents, and may still continue to do so, for merely expressing any form of dissent.

Do the MEK have any support in the west, you ask? Yes, from an array of enemies of the Iranian regime in the west (mainly in the form of US politicians and lawmakers of the neoconservative inclination), who are willing to be friends with them on the basis that they are the enemy of their enemies, and so must surely be their friends. In the words of Jamal Abdi, this has helped them to “deflect attention away from the MEK’s shadowy practices and human rights abuses in Ashraf”. The Iraqi army, at the behest of Iran, has repeatedly attacked MEK members in Asharaf prior to their resettlement in Camp Hurriya in 2012, brutally murdering tens of MEK members. Yet instead of finding a genuine solution to help their members, Rajavi used their deaths as sob stories in order to gain more support and resources, while actually doing nothing to help her captives whatsoever.

In 1997 the administration of President Bill Clinton had designated the MEK (and rightfully so) as a terrorist organisation in an attempt to appease the Iranian government. Not out of humanity, but out of expediency. A whole array of notable US government figures and personalities from across the spectrum have endorsed the MEK, seemingly either turning a blind eye to their atrocious acts, or not even bothering to do their homework. As Elizabeth Rubin again reported in 2011, they have no shortage of notable individuals singing their undeserved praises:

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from an acquaintance with the subject line: Have you seen the video everyone is talking about?

I clicked play, and there was Howard Dean, on March 19 in Berlin, at his most impassioned, extolling the virtues of a woman named Maryam Rajavi and insisting that America should recognize her as the president of Iran.

Mr. Dean’s speech stunned me. But then came Rudolph W. Giuliani saying virtually the same thing. At a conference in Paris last December, an emotional Mr. Giuliani told Ms. Rajavi, “These are the most important yearnings of the human soul that you support, and for your organization to be described as a terrorist organization is just simply a disgrace.” I thought I was watching The Onion News Network. Did Mr. Giuliani know whom he was talking about?

Evidently not. In fact, an unlikely chorus of the group’s backers — some of whom have received speaking fees, others of whom are inspired by their conviction that the Iranian government must fall at any cost — have gathered around Mujahedeen Khalq at conferences in capitals across the globe.

This group of luminaries includes two former chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff, Gens. Hugh H. Shelton and Peter Pace; Wesley K. Clark, the former NATO commander; Gen. James L. Jones, who was President Obama’s national security adviser; Louis J. Freeh, the former F.B.I. director; the former intelligence officials Dennis C. Blair and Michael V. Hayden; the former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson; the former attorney general Michael B. Mukasey, and Lee H. Hamilton, a former congressman who was co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission.

Indeed, the Rajavis and Mujahedeen Khalq are spending millions in an attempt to persuade the Obama administration, and in particular Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to take them off the national list of terrorist groups, where the group was listed in 1997. Delisting the group would enable it to lobby Congress for support in the same way that the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 allowed the Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi to do.

Mrs. Clinton should ignore their P.R. campaign. Mujahedeen Khalq is not only irrelevant to the cause of Iran’s democratic activists, but a totalitarian cult that will come back to haunt us.

Mrs Clinton unfortunately did not ignore it, and the MEK was duly delisted in September 2012. Now more money can flood the coffers of this suffocating cult, and add to the gloom and misery of the members, some 500 of which promptly defected as soon as US troops showed up in Iraq, the fact that they now have greater chances of escape is at least something to be thankful for. Although such was the extent of the brainwashing of the Rajavis, that the defectors had to be protected from reprisals from the other nearby prisoners.

 “Inflated, unrepresentative bureaucrat I presume?” “Genocidally-inclined cult leader, I take it?”

I would personally very much like to know what Ahmed Jarba, then head of the Syrian National Coalition, was thinking when he met with Rajavi in May 2014. What was he hoping to achieve? Did he think that such a meeting would give his unpopular, disorganised, and so far ineffective coalition some sort of clout? Did he imagine that he would gain access to their bottomless pits of pecuniary resources? Was he naively trying to establish some perverse form of solidarity with the Iranian people through this organisation? In short, was he as heartless or thoughtless as the group’s western backers seemingly are?

If he was seeking any of these things, he will be disappointed. Far from bringing him any clout, meeting with the MEK can only earn derision and disdain from the majority of well-informed, sane, non-fraudulent pro-democracy activists, Iranian and otherwise. As one US state department official frankly admitted about the group: “They are the best financed and organized, but they are so despised inside Iran that they have no traction.” Such a meeting only lends ammunition to pro-Khamenei propagandists, which they can use to smear the Syrian opposition by mere association with the Rajavi death cult.

It isn’t like he could gain any form of useful resources or funding from such a meeting either. All the MEK’s money, when it isn’t being used to enable Maryam to live in luxury far from her suffering followers in the baked Iraqi desert, is used for endless lobbying in the west. Running a PR machine for a Middle Eastern 21st century Marxist cell cum Heaven’s Gate Sect takes up a lot of money, after all. He isn’t going to see a penny of it.

If he was seeking to establish solidarity with the Iranian people, then he’d come to the wrong place altogether. Iranians despise the MEK; not only did it fight against their young men in the Iran-Iraq war and kill so many of its fellow Iranians, but it deliberately fed Saddam Hussein’s regime intelligence on Iranian targets to bomb, costing the lives of thousands more. The MEK has also teamed up with Israel to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists. I’m as opposed to the Iranian regime as anyone with a sense of humanity, to say nothing of a potentially nuclear Iranian regime, but if you want to forge a  sense of solidarity with the oppressed in Tehran… Don’t do it by forging solidarity with the oppressor in Camp Hurriya.

In addition, if the neocons think that they’ll get anywhere in toppling the Iranian regime via this cult (especially since Obama is cosying up to it these days), they’re sadly mistaken. To ask the Iranian people to accept them as their rulers would be like telling Norwegians to forgive Vidkun Quisling and shut up already.

Syrian revolution activists, freedom advocates and opposition members should think carefully when it comes to the MEK. Yes it claims to support you in its finely crafted words and rhetoric, yes it does fill its websites with news of the resistance fighters’ military successes, and yet it has a history of fighting the regime in Tehran… By killing and fighting against its own people.

Asking the MEK help in attaining freedom is like asking Stormfront members to campaign for Jewish civil rights. The only thing the Assad clique does that the Rajavi duo doesn’t is genocide. In fact, GENUINE Iranian pro-democracy activists were already thinking that they would have been the Khmer Rouge of Iran as early as 1986, if Massoud Rajavi had been given the chance.

Exactly like Bashar’s regime, it has a history of advocating for freedom for everyone but those it rules over, it is a sworn enemy of free expression and thought in all but name, it murders all those who dare to dissent against it… In addition, just as portraits of the blood soaked eye doctor stare down on you from every street of Damascus, the piercing blue eyes of Maryam and Massoud greet the brow-beaten worker bees in the Iraqi desert every day. Evil should never be parried with evil.