Family Survival Trust, May 24 2015:…Anne Khodabandeh, representative of The Family Survival Trust, was in a unique position to brief M. Blisko and the audience about this issue. She explained that it is possible to construct a model for describing and analysing the use of cultic abuse by terrorist entities without mentioning religion. Anne then went on to describe …
REPORT – FECRIS Marseille 2015
The FECRIS Conference provides a forum for the world’s leading experts in cultic abuse to meet and talk and to share ideas, knowledge and experiences. The Conference is a safe place for researchers, practitioners, campaigners and support groups to mingle with former cult members and families of people who remain trapped in cultic relationships. The value of this unique forum was acknowledged by the board during the AGM.
After several years as Chairman of FECRIS, Tom Sackville retired and was replaced by Danièle Muller-Tulli. Good wishes to Danièle for success in this important role.
The theme of this year’s Conference which was hosted in Marseille by GEMPPI, was ‘Deliberately Planned and Encouraged Confusion Between Cults and Religion’. Serge Blisko, President of MIVILUDES, presented the opening speech which outlined this subject. He said that the widespread use of exploitative cultic abuse undermines democratic institutions and social functions. Those who employ these methods deflect criticism by claiming that their critics want to deprive them of ‘freedom of belief’ or that they are not accorded proper status as ‘religions’. Blisko also talked about the growing problem of ‘religious’ terrorism and its links to cultic behaviour.
Anne Khodabandeh, representative of The Family Survival Trust, was in a unique position to brief M. Blisko and the audience about this issue. She explained that it is possible to construct a model for describing and analysing the use of cultic abuse by terrorist entities without mentioning religion. Anne then went on to describe the deceptive recruitment and brainwashing methods used by terrorist groups and said that from her fifteen years as an activist in this field she was able to suggest solutions to tackle this phenomenon. This briefing was greeted enthusiastically by M. Blisko and the audience.
President of MIVILUDES Serge Blisko with Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton) of the FST
There were several informative and interesting talks and also first-hand testimonies. Some stood out as particularly interesting. Pierre Le Coz Director of the Department of Social Science at the Faculty of Medicine, University Aix-Marseilles, gave a fascinating presentation in which he described step by step how individuals can be brought under the influence of a manipulator using specific psychological techniques.
In contrast, Alexey Voat a researcher from Moscow, gave a very pertinent presentation on the Aum Shinriyo cult’s use of the internet for deceptive recruitment. Voat had undertaken to act as a recruit to delve deep inside the cult’s workings. His revelations were instructive for understanding any other cultic recruitment over the internet.
Olivier Faelens, President of SAS Seckten from Belgium, inspired the audience with his advice on how to avoid false arguments presented by groups such as The Church of Scientology, with its continual demands for debate on the subject of whether or not it is a true religion. The real issue, said Faelens, is the internal harmful practices. It is these we must insist on addressing when debating cultic abuse.
Anne Edelstam, journalist, talked about Fundamentalism. She described the history of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and how in spite of the people’s revolution, its creation of alternative social structures dedicated to the reintroduction of fundamentalist strictures on society still have the potential to undermine the country’s democratic processes.
Finally, leading cult expert Janja Lalich explored the struggle for justice in the American legal system. She described several case studies and talked about her own experience as an expert witness and how the cults deliberately exploit ignorance and misconceptions regarding cultic abuse. This talk linked the various issues raised in previous speeches with the subject of the Conference: ‘Deliberately Planned and Encouraged Confusion Between Cults and Religion’.
Alessandrini, Lalich, Khodabandeh (Singleton), Corvaglia
During the Conference the audience participated with lively and informative questions and discussions at various points in the day. A light lunch was served al Fresco in a convivial atmosphere. The host association GEMPPI is to be congratulated on the success of the Conference. The simultaneous translators are appreciated for their hard work in bringing the full content of the speeches and interjections to all the audience. The new Chair of FECRIS, Danièle Muller-Tulli closed the Conference and thanked the outgoing Chairman Tom Sackville in his absence for all his hard work.
Anne Khodabandeh representing TFST at the FECRIS Conference, Marseille 2015
[Note: FECRIS – European Federation of Centres of Research and Information on Cults and Sects – created in 1994, serves as an umbrella organisation for associations which defend cult victims in more than 30 countries, including 5 non-European organisations. FECRIS is active at an international level with representation at the UN (ECOSOC).]
Rajavi cult abuse – Albania must protect human rights of Iranian refugees from MEK
Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton) , Iran Interlink, January 24 2015:… Albania’s efforts to improve its human rights and bring them into line with European and international standards could be seriously undermined if it does not take action to curtail the activities of the terrorist Mojahedin Khalq cult organisation in that country. There is strong evidence that …
Rajavi cult abuse – Albania must protect human rights of Iranian refugees from MEK
Albania’s efforts to improve its human rights and bring them into line with European and international standards could be seriously undermined if it does not take action to curtail the activities of the terrorist Mojahedin Khalq cult organisation in that country. There is strong evidence that the MEK has bought land and property just outside Tirana in order to create a closed cult enclave similar to ones in Iraq, and that it is using coercion to keep refugees captive there where they are subject to systematic human rights abuses outside the supervision of the Albanian authorities.
The MEK is a terrorist organisation. It is being dismantled in Iraq because its presence and its activities there are illegal under Iraq’s constitutional law. UN officials have made high level efforts to persuade third countries to accept these individuals, in particular those with previous connections to those countries. Understandably, most Western countries have been extremely reluctant to allow trained terrorists into their countries even as refugees. Albania has, however, generously accepted to receive some of the Iranians as refugees. Since 2013, over four hundred of these former MEK combatants have been transferred from Camp Liberty in Iraq to Tirana by the UNHCR as refugees.
Unfortunately UN officials responsible for undertaking to transfer the residents of Camp Liberty have been hindered further in their task by the cult nature of the group. The MEK leaders have effectively imprisoned and isolated the residents of Camp Liberty just outside Baghdad, and refuse to allow them to leave independently or have contact with the outside world. This has meant that families wishing to help their loved ones have been unable to do so. MEK treatment of these people involves the violation of nearly all their internationally recognised human rights; including the right to form a family, to enjoy citizenship, freedom of belief and many more.
Once they arrive in Albania one of the first things all the new arrivals do is to contact their families and seek out other forms of support. The refugees are given time limited support by the UN refugee agency – accommodation and a small living allowance – which is deemed sufficient for them to settle in their new country and make new lives for themselves.
But the MEK does not easily relinquish its control over these former members and has made every effort to prevent them from living independently. One obvious reason is that the MEK want to maintain numbers so they can advertise to Western sponsors as an opposition group. But more importantly, these new arrivals are desperate to tell their stories. They want to speak out about the suffering they endured, some for many, many years. Their stories are of terrible internal human rights abuses committed by the MEK leaders over a period of thirty years (documented by HRW and RAND) and which are still ongoing. They are also witnesses to the MEK’s war crimes while the leaders Massoud and Maryam Rajavi collaborated with Saddam Hussein. The MEK is desperate to silence them.
As the first group arrived, the MEK dispatched senior members from Paris to intimidate them and re-create the cult hierarchy in Tirana. Although unable to physically contain these people, the MEK first offered money and then issued threats to coerce them into compliance. Even so, over half of them rejected the MEK.
The MEK has now created a physical space in which the cult can continue to impose the same strict controls that exist in all its bases. Albanian authorities overseeing the resettlement of these refugees may choose to believe the MEK’s deceptive arguments that this is a humanitarian act because this appears to fulfil the obligations the government has toward the refugees. But former MEK members and cult experts know that already this inaccessible enclave hides systematic human rights abuses.
A country’s commitment to improve human rights for its citizens must not be allowed to exclude the most vulnerable people, including refugees. If Albania is serious about ratifying international human rights conventions and harmonising existing legislation to comply with European standards this issue must be addressed as a matter of urgency before conditions for these vulnerable refugees become intractable.
Rajavi’s lobbyists demand Mojahedin Khalq terrorist cult in Iraq be re-armed rather than removed
Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton), Iran Interlink, January 14 2015:… Whether delusional or corrupt, this gang – listed below and now posing as the International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ) – says the residents of Camp Liberty should have their “personal protection weapons returned to them for self-defence following serious threats and attacks [sic] as the …
Rajavi’s lobbyists demand Mojahedin Khalq terrorist cult in Iraq be re-armed rather than removed
It is surely ironic that the same bunch of people who lobbied hard and at great expense to have the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist cult removed from European and American terrorist lists (the flimsy claim they had renounced terrorism was only possible because in 2003 the US army captured, disarmed and confined them to a single camp in Iraq), is now lobbying to have them re-armed.
Whether delusional or corrupt, this gang – listed below and now posing as the International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ) – says the residents of Camp Liberty should have their “personal protection weapons returned to them for self-defence following serious threats and attacks [sic] as the Iranian regime’s intervention in Iraq grows”. But has neglected to inform their English speaking audience that the MEK leader, Massoud Rajavi, has demanded the MEK be re-armed with heavy weapons as well as small arms.
In any case, anyone who knows anything about the situation of Camp Liberty knows that the residents are deliberately imprisoned incommunicado inside the camp by the MEK leaders, that the greatest danger these residents face is from these MEK leaders, and that small arms are wanted in order to impose greater control over these captives as they become more and more desperate to escape the tyranny of the cult.
The ISJ statement should certainly not be read without context: Since attaining sovereignty in 2009, each successive government of Iraq has designated the MEK as a terrorist entity which must, under the Constitution, be entirely removed from Iraqi territory. The demand for re-arming rather than removing this group is doubly insulting for a country still swarming with Western spawned terrorist groups.
Perhaps the most ironic ‘complaint’ of the Committee is that the government of Iraq is not investigating the September 1, 2013 attack on Camp Ashraf in which fifty three people died. How is this possible when forty two key eye witnesses – survivors of the attack – have been incarcerated by the MEK inside Camp Liberty so that no investigator in the world has access to them?
Instead of demanding the MEK be re-armed ready to utilize violence again – the raison d’etre of the terrorist cult – this gang should be demanding from Massoud and Maryam Rajavi that each resident of Camp Liberty be given the opportunity to make contact with their families in privacy and to freely leave the camp if they desire. Then we would see how quickly and efficiently these people can be resettled.
List of members of the ISJ according to the MEK:
Alejo Vidal-Quadras, former MEP; Patrick Kennedy, former Congressman; Günter Verheugen, former member of the EU Commission; Nicole Fontaine, former MEP; General Hugh Shelton former US military; David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State; Ingrid Betancourt; Raymond Tanter; Horst Teltschik; Colonel Wesley Martin, former US military; Senator Lucio Malan, Italian Senate; Alessandro Pagano MP; Antonio Razzi, Italian Senate; Gérard Deprez MEP; Ryszard Czarnecki, MEP; Tunne Kelam MEP; Lord Carlile, UK; Lord Clarke, UK; Lord Maginnis, UK; Lord Dholakia, UK
Paulo Casaca, Struan Stevenson and Alejo Vidal-Quadras lost their seats as MEPs over support for terrorism
European MEK Supporters Downplay ISIS Role in Iraq (aka Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult)
MEPs support for MEK terrorists undermines human rights pressure on Iran (letter to Federica Mogherini)
Massoud Khodabandeh, Middle East Strategy Consultants, London, December 09 2014:… By publishing an article directed by the MEK, a group of MEPs has played directly into the hands of Iran’s hardliners. The MEPs Gérard DEPREZ, Tunne KELAM, Ryszard CZARNECKI EP Vice-President, Eduard KUKAN, José BOVÉ, Julie WARD, and Rina Ronja KARI are …
MEPs support for MEK terrorists undermines human rights pressure on Iran
Open Letter to Federica Mogherini, the new EU foreign policy chief
As you are aware the Iranian Mojahedin Khalq terrorist group works through the “Friends of a Free Iran” in the European Parliament. This parliament is to give a platform today (December 10) to the second-in-command of this group Maryam Rajavi (a private room has been hired in the buildings by one of the MEK’s lobbyists purely for lobbying purposes). Not only that, a group of MEPs has boldly written to you demanding you change your policy to suit this woman. What possibly can be their motive? As a European citizen and an expert in the field of cults and terrorism, I cannot agree that you ignore such a presence in the parliament. It cannot be in the best interests of the European Parliament as a home to democracy to give a platform to for what is an undemocratic stance toward the people of Iran.
By publishing an article directed by the MEK, a group of MEPs has played directly into the hands of Iran’s hardliners. The MEPs Gérard DEPREZ (ALDE – Belgium), Tunne KELAM (EPP – Estonia), Ryszard CZARNECKI EP Vice-President (ECR – Poland), Eduard KUKAN (EPP – Slovakia), José BOVÉ (Greens – France) Julie WARD (S&D – UK) and Rina Ronja KARI (GUE/NGL – Denmark) are members of the MEK’s ‘Friends of a Free Iran’ in the European Parliament.
The article starts with the claim that Ban Ki Moon said people should hold their governments to account. He did not say that the EP should interfere in the internal affairs of another country. Certainly these MEPs have no mandate to hold another country’s government to account in this way. It is not their elected government, but that of a sovereign nation with its own electorate. It is certain Ban Ki Moon was referring to this electorate when he made this statement.
However, let us allow that Iran’s human rights record, like that of every other country of the world, should come under proper scrutiny. The proper bodies to conduct such research are those quoted by these MEPs – the UN – in particular the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran – Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International. The reports of these bodies are public knowledge and widely available.
(Interestingly, in addition to all these human rights bodies, there is hardly a group or organisation or government, and not a single Iranian opposition group inside or outside Iran which has not condemned the Mojahedin Khalq for its human rights abuses time and time again.)
Now, if the MEPs do indeed see fit to challenge Iran over this issue on International Human Rights Day, is it not proper to do so directly, through dialogue, communication and diplomacy, rather than a futile rant. A rant which, in addition, quotes the second-in-command of the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist group, Maryam Rajavi. This group of MEPs has been persuaded – somehow – to have her words put into their mouths as though they cannot make their own statements or figure out their own political arguments. (The MEK shoehorned one of their favourite words, ‘embolden’, into the piece but didn’t manage to get another favourite, ‘appeasement’ in.)
As a result they stupidly allow themselves to say such things as “Tehran has also been the center [sic] for the expansion of terrorism and fundamentalism throughout the region, endangering world peace and security.” The article cannot and does not present any evidence for this opinion. Indeed, most sensible people anywhere would point first to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States as the source of increased terrorism and fundamentalism in the region. But then, the MEK are known advocates of ISIS and other terrorist groups.
Relying on this argument, these MEPs are demanding less dialogue with Iran, not more. Again, back to the ‘let’s bomb Iran or at least disrupt dialogue’ narrative.
Such nonsense has delighted Iran. The semi-official Fars News Agency has immediately translated the article for distribution among Farsi speakers in Iran and worldwide. What better argument could the hardliners have that the issue of human rights is being politicised than to have the leader of a notorious terrorist group put their words into your mouth.
These MEPs really need to get to grips with the fact they are being manipulated into pursuing an agenda not of their own making, which ultimately serves to worsen human rights in Iran and to help crush any indigenous opposition movements and activities. Any Iranian not associated with the MEK terrorist group – on any side of the argument – will tell them this.
Holly Dagres, Huffington Post, December 12 2014:… Maryam Rajavi’s marriage to one of the original founders of the MEK symbolized the transformation from an organization to a “cult of personality.” With the money provided by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein–they formed an alliance due to a deep disdain for the Iranian regime–to “construct self-sufficient camps” …
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, Foreign Policy Journal, November 08 2014:…In addition to the “Iran experts”, Washington has found itself other sources of ‘intelligence’, foremost; the Mojahedeen Khalg (MEK) terrorist cult. This group feeds Washington information provided them by Israel. Previous to this assignment, the cult was busy fighting alongside Saddam …
Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton), Iran Interlink, November 01 2014: … When a supporter of ISIS sits in the French parliamentary building and attacks President Obama, the cracks are seriously beginning to show in the West’s approach to resolving the whole Middle East situation. Observers may not be sufficiently informed to tell Western governments what to do in …
Azar Hossein Nejad, Hossin Nejad weblog, January 01 2015:… I am contacting you to ask for your help regarding the situation of my sister, Zeinab Hossein Nejad, a 36 years old woman who is living in Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Iraq. I never saw my parents or sister during my childhood and youth as all of them had to run for their lives. They left Iran along …
Farideh Farhi, Lobelog, April 22 2014: … members (some of them with links to the exiled Iranian opposition group, the Mujahadeen-e-Khalq (MEK), such as Spanish EPP member Alejo Vidal-Quadras and British ECR member Struan Stevenson) proposed amendments deleting the call for an opening of the EU office in Tehran, fully in line with the position of their supposed enemies — Iranian hardliners …
Nejat Association reporting from , Ashraf news, April 21 2014: … Massoud Rajavi has ordered the officials of the Camp to intensify the limitations against women especially after the revelations by Batoul Soltani and other dispatched members who bravely exposed the internal affairs especially the sexual scandals of the cult leader such as ‘Salvation dancing’ …