Treacherous Mojahedeen (aka; Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult)

Treacherous Mojahedeen (aka; Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult)

 

Treacherous Mojahedeen

(aka; Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult)

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The issue with the MEK is not a philosophical one. It is simple. What these Islamist Marxian terrorists have done throughout their existence can be summed up in one word: treason. From licking the backside of Soviet Russia, to bending over for their “Imam” Khomeini, to doing “Brother Saddam’s” bidding, and now prostituting themselves to Israel and its Neocons–theirs has been a history of constant betrayal–betrayal the likes of which has no equivalent in modern Persian history.More than one million was raised by a group with a blood soaked past with the help of the Neocons, another group with hands drenched in blood …


(Rajavi from Saddam to AIPAC)


(Maryam Rajavi directly ordered the massacre of Kurdish people)

Kourosh Ighani, Iranian.com, February 28 2013
http://iranian.com/posts/view/post/9216

Last week Massoud Rajavi’s minions outdid themselves by raising over a million dollars at an event in Dallas with the help of John Bolton and other Neocons. This is the latest chapter in a lengthy history of partnership between the Mojahedeen (MEK) and Iran’s enemies.

John Bolton was invited as replacement for Rudy Giuliani who abruptly cancelled just before the event. The MEK organizers did not announce the venue for the event, likely in fear of potential backlash by the local Iranian community.

Articles and videos replete with statements by Bolton and Giuliani on the need to bomb Iran are easily available online, also expressed with equal zeal by Rajavi’s cult. While Bolton and Giuliani call for bombing Iran and “crippling sanctions”, the MEK do just the same, only replacing “Iran” with “Mullah’s regime.” But alas, the target in both cases remains the same–the people of Iran.

The issue with the MEK is not a philosophical one. It is simple. What these Islamist Marxian terrorists have done throughout their existence can be summed up in one word: treason.

From licking the backside of Soviet Russia, to bending over for their “Imam” Khomeini, to doing “Brother Saddam’s” bidding, and now prostituting themselves to Israel and its Neocons–theirs has been a history of constant betrayal–betrayal the likes of which has no equivalent in modern Persian history.

More than one million was raised by a group with a blood soaked past with the help of the Neocons, another group with hands drenched in blood. The target: Iran. And yet, America’s Iranians have yet to bat an eye. John Bolton and Rajavi’s minions may eventually sow the destruction they seek, and if they do, none other is to blame but our silence.


The Life of Camp Ashraf,
Mojahedin-e Khalq Victims of Many Masters


(Izzat Ebrahim and Massoud Rajavi still at large)


(Washington backed Maryam Rajavi in terrorist cult’s HQ in Paris)

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Also
https://iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=14610

Investigate the MEK and its critics – abuses at Camp Liberty cannot continue

(aka; Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, Rajavi cult)

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… The only person preventing the residents in Camp Liberty from leaving and taking refuge in a safe place is the leader of the MEK, Massoud Rajavi. He is therefore the only person who can answer this question. Only he can explain to all the suffering families why their loved ones are still in the path of danger. Why, after ten years, they are still unable to walk freely from the camp and continue their lives in freedom and safety. Why is he still holding them hostage and what did these seven individuals die for? While we wait for a reasoned, satisfactory answer – which will never be forthcoming – the focus must return to the living …


(Which of these women in Iraq will be Rajavi’s next victim?)

Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton), Middle East Strategy Consultants, February 17 2013
http://www.mesconsult.com

Author of “Saddam’s Private Army” and “The life of Camp Ashraf”
http://www.camp-ashraf.com

A missile attack on Camp Liberty on 9th February resulted in the tragic deaths of seven residents. Seven more families have been plunged into grief and dismay over losing their loved ones. Their grief compounded by the fact that, whatever their wishes, they will have had no contact with this loved one for several years. And compounded by the fact there appears to be no acceptable explanation why they had to die at all but especially in such a tragically avoidable way.

The problem with the MEK in Iraq is not so much where they are, but that they are still there at all. Even the MEK’s own supporters understand this logic. Speaking to an MEK rally in the US, long time MEK advocate Rudi Giuliani said, “These people can all be removed within hours… Planes can be sent immediately. They can be here within a day. We have done far more difficult things than that. It’s only about 3,000 people”.

Moves to relocate the MEK and send them to third countries started two years ago. Officials from the United Nations and the government of Iraq collaborated to undertake the calm and unhurried negotiation needed to achieve their peaceful relocation first out of Camp Ashraf to a temporary transit camp – Camp Liberty – and then on to third countries where they can rebuild their lives in safety and security. Their every effort has been met by obstruction and obfuscation by the MEK leadership. Two years on and the residents are still no closer to gaining their actual freedom. Even worse, many have died and will continue to die as long as they are unable to walk freely out of the camp and get the help that is available to them. (The Iraqi authorities have kept alternative accommodation available for two years for the individual residents.)

Describing the attack as “vicious and senseless”, US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said, “We call on [the Government of Iraq] to earnestly and fully carry out that investigation and to take all appropriate measures to enhance the security of the camp consistent with its commitment and obligation to the safety and security of the camp’s residents. The terrorists responsible for this attack must be brought to justice.”

It is essential that a thorough investigation be made into this latest attack and the perpetrators brought to justice. More than anything this is necessary for the families of the victims. They need the facts and they need justice. But above all else they need answers. Any family suffering the sudden and violent loss of a loved one will ask ‘Why?’ Why did they die in this way?

The only person preventing the residents in Camp Liberty from leaving and taking refuge in a safe place is the leader of the MEK, Massoud Rajavi. He is therefore the only person who can answer this question. Only he can explain to all the suffering families why their loved ones are still in the path of danger. Why, after ten years, they are still unable to walk freely from the camp and continue their lives in freedom and safety. Why is he still holding them hostage and what did these seven individuals die for?

While we wait for a reasoned, satisfactory answer – which will never be forthcoming – the focus must return to the living. While the Government of Iraq pursues its thorough, painstaking investigation into the deaths of these seven victims, international human rights investigators must likewise undertake a rigorous investigation into the never ending allegations of unbearable daily systematic abuses against all the residents of the camp, including the leadership cadre.

While the MEK persists in denying access to the relevant external agencies to freely enter Camp Liberty and talk to the residents without hindrance, this investigation can start with the recently escaped members. Many of them are now resident in Europe as well as in Iraq and Iran and are willing to give testimony to their experience of human rights abuse inside the MEK camps.

Human Rights Watch conducted a scrupulous and methodological investigation into allegations of human rights abuse resulting in the report ‘No Exit’ in 2005. Testimony from former members in Europe formed the basis of the report. HRW rigorously checked them, their background and their information. A similarly professional approach toward the more recent escapees will yield further evidence of abuse. One of the more controversial but easily verifiable allegations is that the MEK leader instigated a programme of spurious hysterectomy operations to ‘neutralise the gender’ of women members. Already the names of a hundred women victims have been compiled (out of around 800). Medical records and examination will verify the conditions surrounding these operations. Around thirty women who now live in Europe have declared themselves willing to participate in such an investigation. They want justice, for themselves and for the other women still trapped in Camp Liberty.

These women, the families and the former members challenge international human rights organisations to be fearless and determined. Every aspect of this sad debacle must be examined from every angle; the MEK itself and its critics. Such an investigation is long overdue and can only help to end the existing stalemate at Camp Liberty.

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Also
https://iran-interlink.org/index.php?mod=view&id=14194

Do not Disturb – Criminals at work in Camp Liberty

Massoud and Maryam Rajavi accused of sexual cruelty

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… The women (several of whom had been appointed to the highest level of the MEK hierarchy – the Leadership Council which directly serves Massoud Rajavi and his wife, Maryam), described a bizarre process of preparation for their sexual encounter with Rajavi which was facilitated by and presided over by Maryam Rajavi, who, they said, procured specific women from the membership for Massoud’s use. The women were made to believe that refusal to participate would result in demotion, humiliation and even worse punishments. Maryam Rajavi invented rituals such as being washed by other women members so as to ‘spiritually purify’ them …

(Women “rewarded” with pendants and robes after sexual ordeal)

Anne Singleton, Middle East Strategy Consultants, January 5, 2013
http://www.mesconsult.com

Author of “Saddam’s Private Army” and “The life of Camp Ashraf”
http://www.camp-ashraf.com

When the US army captured the MEK and confined them to Camp Ashraf in April 2003, they registered 3,800 individuals. Of these, 800 were women.

The figure has remained mostly constant, with some members being trafficked in and out of the camp, and some escaping the cult altogether. (The actual figures are unknown because the Pentagon allowed the MEK to shut the door of the camp and operate Camp Ashraf independently of both national and international law.)

Understandably it is the women who escaped from Rajavi and his cultic abuses who are proving the most problematic. They are very angry and they are proving very difficult to silence.

In the Autumn of 2012 a number of these women, having courageously overcome the stigma attached to such issues, joined together to speak publicly about the sexual abuses they suffered in the MEK. They allege that Massoud Rajavi, the de facto leader of the Mojahedin-e Khalq, not only deceived them into having sex with him but had also instigated a programme of coerced hysterectomies for all women members in order to ‘neutralise their sexuality’. Out of the 800 women registered in Camp Ashraf, they gave the names of 100 who have already become victims of Rajavi’s hysterectomy programme.

The women (several of whom had been appointed to the highest level of the MEK hierarchy – the Leadership Council which directly serves Massoud Rajavi and his wife, Maryam), described a bizarre process of preparation for their sexual encounter with Rajavi which was facilitated by and presided over by Maryam Rajavi, who, they said, procured specific women from the membership for Massoud’s use. The women were made to believe that refusal to participate would result in demotion, humiliation and even worse punishments.

Maryam Rajavi invented rituals such as being washed by other women members so as to ‘spiritually purify’ them, followed by the instruction to dance naked before both the Rajavis to prove they had ‘broken the physical and mental barriers’ to their total submission to Massoud. After these coercive practices, he would choose a bedmate for sex. The women have said that they did not agree to sex with Rajavi out of free will but because they had been coerced through deception into submitting to what they later came to recognise as rape.

The women who spoke out all now live in Europe. Other former MEK women members living in Iran and currently in Iraq are also said to be willing to give their testimony. The women described how they were deceived into undergoing spurious hysterectomies in order to fulfill Rajavi’s demand that they ‘divorce from their sexuality’.

In response, former Colonel, Leo McCloskey, Commander of Forward Operation Base in Ashraf until 2008, was featured on the MEK’s websites and media, attempting to denigrate the women and dismiss their claims by labeling them as ‘agents of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence’. Based on what knowledge and expertise did he manage to come up with such a nonsensical counter argument?

What is most disturbing about these revelations is the response from the establishment. I’m sure that everyone reading this article will be at least curious to know whether such outrageous accusations might be true or not. Perhaps those who are more familiar with the MEK’s past known behaviour will be willing at least to give some credence to these allegations. But for responsible bodies like the UN and even human rights organisations, which, over thirty years, have compiled reams and reams of documented evidence of gross abuses committed by the Rajavi cult (let us not forget the MEK victims found in Abu Ghraib prison), to ignore these easily verifiable witness statements because the MEK says they are a ‘plot by the Iranian regime to discredit the opposition’ really beggars belief.

The facts are easily verifiable. The physical evidence of hysterectomy can be found in the women’s bodies. It is a matter of fact, not opinion. And if those who managed to escape the cult have evidence consistent with their accusations, does it not behove those people actually responsible for their welfare to conduct an investigation into the condition of the other named women in the MEK who are trapped incommunicado in (the ironically named) Camp Liberty.

Let us look more closely then at the ‘one size fits all’ label used to denigrate the victims: ‘agent of the Iranian regime’. It is not the first time the label has been used by the MEK, nor will it be the last. After all, in the current reckless Western culture of ferocious Iran-bashing, it is an easy formula to trot out for a willing audience. And what a willing audience!

The phrase arises from the cultic nature of the MEK and of course the concept of ‘thought-terminating clichés’ is familiar among experts in cultic abuse. It describes the technique used by cult leaders to prevent their followers (victims) from using their critical faculties. Whenever the cliché is mentioned, the cult member stops thinking. In this case, the phrase is also linked to another technique ‘cultic phobias’ which is to introduce irrational fears which when triggered arouse a phobic reaction in the victim.

For members of the Rajavi cult, the phrase ‘agent of the Iranian regime’ fulfils both these purposes; they stop thinking and experience an amorphous, pervasive fear. In some cases they can easily resort to violence in response to this reaction. The really despicable aspect of this use of the label is that it is directed at those victims of the cult who have only recently escaped the abuses. For them the phrase stinks of menace and threat; exactly why the Rajavi’s choose to use it.

But for outsiders, clearly many are unable or unwilling to use their minds to think through the absurdity of this phrase. Or, maybe they don’t need to. Leo McCloskey surely wasn’t acting out of the goodness of his heart when he quoted the MEK phrase. In such crass cases, are we wrong to assume that pecuniary benefits most probably apply?

With the deployment of this thought-terminating cliché, Rajavi has effectively hung a ‘Do not Disturb’ sign on the closed door of Camp Liberty, while an apparently awestruck (by Rajavi’s genius no doubt) Western world tiptoes outside, afraid it too will be accused of being an ‘agent of the Iranian regime’.


(Anne Singleton visiting Camp Ashraf)

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Also
https://iran-interlink.org/index.php?mod=view&id=13954

Rajavi’s new army heralds a sinister new ‘mass suicide’ plot
(aka; Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, MEK)
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In an address to the MEK, Rajavi announced that the National Liberation Army (NLA) is now defunct and is to be replaced by the Iranian Free Army. Putting aside the embarrassing downgrading of the MEK’s armed personnel who for thirty years have promised to overthrow the Iranian regime in its entirety, and its replacement with a cheap copy of the western fabricated and opportunistSyrian Free Army, Rajavi’s motive for this announcement needs some explanation.Since the MEK was removed from the US terrorism list, critics have reminded decision makers that the leader of the MEK, Massoud Rajavi, has reiterated the cult’s commitment to the use of violence …

The Life of Camp Ashraf
Mojahedin-e Khalq – Victims of Many Masters
By Anne Singleton and Massoud Khodabandeh
First published September 2011 by IRAN-INTERLINK

By Anne Singleton, Middle East Strategy Consultants, December 06 2012
www.mesconsult.com
Both the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and UNAMI chief Martin Kobler have appealed to Europe to help relocate the 3000+ former combatants of the MEK terrorist cult who are currently living in the Temporary Transit Camp Liberty near Baghdad.
Last week, four more residents escaped the cult to take refuge with the Iraqi authorities as the internal control strictures worsen. It is impossible for MEK leader Massoud Rajavi to keep the residents isolated as at Ashraf. They will receive information about the outside world and the possibilities for them. They will seek freedom.
The danger for Rajavi is that the cult will disintegrate suddenly into disobedience and anarchy.
But for Rajavi the answer does not lie in relocation to Europe. The only bargain he will agree to is to either stay in Camp Liberty or recreate Camp Ashraf in another country and transfer the MEK en masse.
In Europe there are many, many former MEK members who are outspoken about the horrific human rights violations imposed on them through cultic mind control practices. In Cologne women talked about coerced hysterectomies they underwent to satisfy Rajavi’s bizarre demand. About forty women were subjected to spurious surgery to remove their wombs as part of Rajavi’s cynical manipulation of gender, relationships and sexuality in the cult. (www.iran-zanan.de Persian)
But where Rajavi’s recent assertion, via an audio address, that he is the sole and rightful leader of the Iranian opposition, and his consequent invitation for all other groups and personalities to join him, is a risible example of the hubris, narcissism and self-delusion which typify his character, his latest announcement exposes a very sinister and vicious side to the man.
In an address to the MEK, Rajavi announced that the National Liberation Army (NLA) is now defunct and is to be replaced by the Iranian Free Army. Putting aside the embarrassing downgrading of the MEK’s armed personnel who for thirty years have promised to overthrow the Iranian regime in its entirety, and their replacement with a cheap copy of the western fabricated and opportunist Syrian Free Army, Rajavi’s motive for this announcement needs some explanation.
Since the MEK was removed from the US terrorism list, critics have reminded decision makers that the leader of the MEK, Massoud Rajavi, has reiterated the cult’s commitment to the use of violence to pursue its aims. Rajavi has done all he could, short of ordering a mass suicide, to prevent the break up of his fighting force in Iraq. So far he has succeeded in keeping them together, albeit in a new location. As he faces the prospect of a UN driven disbandment of these forces he has settled on a more lucrative form of ‘mass suicide’ for the cult members.
The moment Rajavi announces to the world that the people in Iraq are an army with the intention of aggressing against Iran with a view to forced regime change, he makes them a legitimate target for defensive counter attack by the Iranian army. It is clear which side has the superior power to destroy.
By thus inviting the Iranians to kill his forces, Rajavi is positioning himself on the far right of the hardliners of the Iranian government, who would like nothing better than to annihilate the MEK organisation in its entirety.
But this is not the total sum of Rajavi’s cynical disposal plan. The re-branding of the MEK’s fighters as the Iranian Free Army allows Rajavi to sell the brand to those who can best use it, namely the Israelis. No need to blame Israel for assassinating Iranian scientists when such heinous acts can be blamed on Rajavi’s new army. Rajavi benefits not only financially, but from the credit which would by default attach to the MEK as a dangerous presence in Iran. Again, Rajavi is positioning himself to the far right of the hardliners viz-a-viz the Iranian people and his own forces.
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Now Focus Attention Back On Rajavi’s Hostages In Camp Liberty
(MEK, MKO, Rajavi Cult)

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.. In Iraq the estranged families of MEK members have maintained a vigil outside both Camp Ashraf – and now Camp Liberty – for nearly three years. These families have travelled to Iraq to try and get news of and contact with their loved ones who are being held hostage by the Rajavi cult. Massoud and Maryam Rajavi have imposed cruel conditions on their followers in which nobody is allowed to have contact with their families outside the cult without the permission of the leaders. The Americans in Iraq have done nothing to help these families reach their loved ones. Instead they have apparently done everything possible to prevent the dissolution of the MEK as a single entity, in spite of being informed of the cult nature of the group…


A Mother looking for her daughter in Iraq

Anne Singleton, Iran Interlink, October 1, 2012

Among humanitarian organisations and the estranged families of MEK members there is a sense of relief now that the US sideshow of speculation over MEK terrorist listing and who the MEK’s financial backers are has blown over. It means that attention can now properly be returned to the situation of the MEK in Iraq where the urgent problem is how to restore basic human rights to the former MEK fighters trapped in Camp Liberty. Because although UN inspectors and Diplomatic representatives have attested to the more than acceptable living conditions in the temporary transit camp, the residents continue to be denied their basic human rights by the MEK leadership. Since 2003 the Americans have been complicit in allowing the MEK to mistreat the membership. Unfortunately this situation has continued at Camp Liberty to where all but a handful of the former Camp Ashraf residents have been relocated.

Massoud and Maryam Rajavi run a personality cult which dictates to the members that only they should be worshipped and adored. There is no room for other relations, even friendships. In the MEK, members are not even permitted to maintain a relationship with other family members inside the group, such as siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins. Relations between individuals is severely restricted and constantly monitored for infringements. This state of affairs is maintained through a harsh, unremitting regime of daily confessions with infringements – or sins – punished by an escalating system of public humiliation, beatings and isolation. In Camp Liberty residents are billeted six to a bungalow even though enough space has been allocated to allow for two per housing unit. The cult leaders insist on more than two people sharing as a means to prevent dissenting views from being discussed behind closed doors.

In Iraq the estranged families of MEK members have maintained a vigil outside both Camp Ashraf – and now Camp Liberty – for nearly three years. These families have travelled to Iraq to try and get news of and contact with their loved ones who are being held hostage by the Rajavi cult. Massoud and Maryam Rajavi have imposed cruel conditions on their followers in which nobody is allowed to have contact with their families outside the cult without the permission of the leaders.

The Americans in Iraq have done nothing to help these families reach their loved ones. Instead they have apparently done everything possible to prevent the dissolution of the MEK as a single entity, in spite of being informed of the cult nature of the group.

However, because the US terrorism list has no relevance in Iraq, the Government of Iraq will not change its stance because of this action. Indeed, no government of any colour would be able or willing to keep any MEK in Iraq because of its history of violence against Iraqi citizens.

Since the US government no longer regards the MEK as terrorists the Americans should now make a real effort to remove them from Iraq for their own wellbeing. The State Department claims that the MEK has publicly renounced violence – even though there is no evidence that the MEK leader Massoud Rajavi has made any verbal or documented declaration to this effect. (Who do the State Department thinks actually runs the MEK? Lawyers?) As such the MEK should be expected to fully decommission its military personnel and reconfigure its internal structure to allow it to pursue exclusively peaceful and democratic opposition activities against the governments of Iran and Iraq, and possibly Syria.

The burning question then is what the MEK will do with its redundant former fighters in Camp Liberty in Iraq? As avowed enemies of the Iranian government they must presumably take refuge in the West. To qualify as refugees they must renounce their membership of the MEK as a political entity. Logically this should not present any difficulty as they are no longer needed as fighters. (Because the MEK is now a peaceful organisation with no need for any personnel trained in violence or military/terrorist style activity.)

The first step is to open up Camp Liberty to the outside world, to the families and humanitarian NGOs which are waiting to offer help to the residents. The residents must be given access to external information sources, internet, television, telephones, print media, etc. Conditions must prevail such that each resident is able to enjoy freedom of movement in the camp, freedom of association in the camp, including between the genders, and freedom to contact their families. This would represent a first, yet vital, step toward solving the problem of the MEK in Iraq.

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People’s Mujahedin (MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult). Who are they?

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The group was expelled from Iran in 1981 when it fell out of favor with Ayatollah Khomeini in a post-revolutionary power struggle.Since then, it has launched thousands of attacks against Iranians it has deemed “agents of the regime,” peaking at a rate of three assassinations per day in the 1980s, and staged high-profile raids on Iranian diplomatic offices all over the world—including an orchestrated set of attacks on 12 diplomatic facilities in 10 countries on a single day in 1992.In the mid-1980s, MEK settled in Iraq as a guest of Saddam Hussein, who offered the group use of Camp Ashraf, an encampment and army base north of Baghdad …


The Life of Camp Ashraf,
Mojahedin-e Khalq Victims of Many Masters


(Rajavi from Saddam to AIPAC

Institute for Policy Studies – www.ips-dc.org
Right Web, October 18 2012
http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/peoples_muhajedin_of_iran_mek/

The People’s Mujahedin of Iran (Mojahedin-e Khalq-e Iran, or MEK) is an Islamic- and Marxist-inspired militant organization that advocates the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The group was founded in 1963 as an armed guerrilla group after the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi violently suppressed opposition to his regime.

Over the years, the group developed a track record of violent opposition to the Iranian regime—both against the monarchy and the Islamic government that succeeded it—and countries deemed supportive of it, including at one time the United States. For years, the group was considered a proscribed terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. But on the heelsof an aggressive and well-funded lobbying campaign supported by a bipartisan cast of high-profile former public officials, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in September 2012 that she was removing the group from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations, where the MEK had been listed since 1997.[1]

The group’s origins are eccentric and its history tumultuous. According to the U.S. State Department, “The group participated in the 1979 Islamic Revolution that replaced the Shah with a Shiite Islamist regime led by Ayatollah Khomeini. However, the MEK’s ideology—a blend of Marxism, feminism, and Islamism—was at odds with the post-revolutionary government, and its original leadership was soon executed by the Khomeini regime. In 1981, the group was driven from its bases on the Iran-Iraq border and resettled in Paris, where it began supporting Iraq in its eight-year war against Khomeini’s Iran. In 1986, after France recognized the Iranian regime, the MEK moved its headquarters to Iraq, which facilitated its terrorist activities in Iran. Since 2003, roughly 3,400 MEK members have been encamped at Camp Ashraf in Iraq.”[2]

As of late 2012, most of the residents of Camp Ashraf had been relocated to another facility in Iraq to await resettlement in third countries. The MEK’s cooperation in the relocation—which had previously sparked concerns of a planned mass suicide by group members resistant to the move[3]—was reportedly a key factor in Clinton’s decision to delist the group.[4]

Because of the MEK’s cult-like organization under leader Maryam Rajavi, its support for Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War, and its participation in Saddam Hussein’s crackdowns on Iraqi Shiites and Kurds, the group has been described by the New York Times as “a repressive cult despised by most Iranians and Iraqis.”[5]

U.S. officials have recognized this reputation. “While they present themselves as a legitimate democratic group worthy of support, there is universal belief in the administration that they are a cult,” one official told CNN after the decision was made to delist the group. “A de-listing is a sign of support or amnesia on our part as to what they have done and it does not mean we have suddenly changed our mind about their current behavior. We don’t forget who they were and we don’t think they are now who they claim to be, which is alternative to the current regime.”[6]

Despite its murky reputation, MEK has presented itself to western backers as a popular and democratic Iranian opposition group that could lead the Islamic Republic to democracy—often even referring to Rajavi, who lives in exile in Paris and has never run for office in Iran, as the country’s “president-elect.”[7]

This led some analysts to express concern that the Iranian regime would use the U.S. decision to delist the group as a pretext for a renewed crackdown on democratic and reformist elements within Iran, tying them to the widely despised MEK. “For my money, the chances of war with Iran only get a boost insofar as Iranians didn’t already assume the worst of U.S. intentions,” wrote Ali Gharib at the Daily Beast. “As is, the paranoid leadership there believes America is in cahoots with the MEK, or at least they already say as much in their propaganda pleas. The more likely damage from the decision will be done in justifying the ongoing crackdown against the Islamic Republic’s internal opposition, including human rights and pro-democracy activists, which will be lent credibility among ordinary Iranians who disdain the MEK.”[8]

Indeed, there have been reports that the United States has directly aided the MEK in the past, providing assistance that would have been illegal given the group’s terrorist designation. In April 2012, for example, journalist Seymour Hersh reported that U.S. special forces had provided communications and weapons training to MEK members in the Nevada desert sometime from 2005 to 2007, considerably improving the group’s capabilities. “The MEK was a total joke,” a Pentagon consultant told Hersh, “and now it’s a real network inside Iran. How did the MEK get so much more efficient? Part of it is the training in Nevada. Part of it is logistical support in Kurdistan, and part of it is inside Iran. MEK now has a capacity for efficient operations that it never had before.”[9]

Some analysts warned that the U.S. decision to delist the MEK could cause U.S.-Iranian relations to deteriorate even further. “The decision will no doubt make the Iranian leadership even more distrustful of U.S. intentions regarding the future of Iran, particularly given the congressional support for the MEK to spearhead regime change,” wrote Iran expert Farideh Farhi. “Less trust will make compromise less likely, presumably a preferred outcome for the high profile supporters of the MEK in Congress and elsewhere.”[10]

Divisive Impact on U.S. Politics

The MEK has had a divisive impact in the United States. While it has garnered supporters from across the U.S. political landscape, it has also spurred negative reactions from representatives of nearly all political factions. Neoconservatives are a case in point. Several high-profile neocons outlets have praised the group, arguing that it could serve to spearhead regime change efforts in Iran.

After news agencies reported in early 2012 that the MEK—with support from Israel—was involved in the assassination of Iranian scientists, a number of neoconservative mouthpieces hailed the group. The Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post ran an editorial stating: “Were the MEK to play the critical role in derailing an Iranian bomb, it would be far more deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize than a certain president of the United States we could mention.”[11]

Similarly minded ideologues—like Raymond Tanter, a member of the Committee on the President Danger—have called the MEK “the best source for intelligence on Iran’s potential violations of the nonproliferation regime,” arguing that delisting the group “would allow regime change to be on the table in Tehran.”[12] At a rally for the group in Paris, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani proclaimed, “Appeasement of dictators leads to war, destruction and the loss of human lives. For your organization to be described as a terrorist organization is just really a disgrace.”[13]

On the other hand, many neoconservatives view the group with antipathy, largely because they think that an alliance with it is short-sighted with respect to the goal of achieving regime change in Iran. An example is Michael Rubin, who has been sharply critical of MEK supporters. Responding to the news about the MEK’s alleged role in assassinating Iranian scientists, Rubin wrote: “By utilizing the MEK—a group which Iranians view in the same way Americans see John Walker Lindh, the American convicted of aiding the Taliban—the Israelis risk winning some short-term gain at the tremendous expense of rallying Iranians around the regime’s flag. A far better strategy would be to facilitate regime change. Not only would the MEK be incapable of that mission, but involving them even cursorily would set the goal back years.”[14]

Lobbying Campaign

Organizations sympathetic to MEK garnered an impressive array of establishment supporters inside Washington to speak in favor of delisting the group. The effort, according to the New York Times, “won the support of two former C.I.A. directors, R. James Woolsey and Porter J. Goss; a former F.B.I. director, Louis J. Freeh; a former attorney general, Michael B. Mukasey; President George W. Bush’s first homeland security chief, Tom Ridge; President Obama’s first national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones; big-name Republicans like the former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Democrats like the former Vermont governor Howard Dean; and even the former top counterterrorism official of the State Department, Dell L. Dailey.”[15] Mitchell Reiss, a top foreign policy advisor to Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan presidential campaign, also spoke on behalf of the group.[16]

A potential explanation for this diverse list of supporters is the large speaking fees the MEK network has offered to big-name public figures. “Your speech agent calls, and says you get $20,000 to speak for 20 minutes,” said a State Department official quoted by the Christian Science Monitor. “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.”[17] Pro-MEK individuals and organizations also reportedly donated thousands of dollars to the campaigns of several sitting members of Congress, including Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Bob Filner, Ted Poe, Mike Rogers, and Dana Rohrabacher.[18]

Underlying MEK’s more mainstream backing has been a bedrock of support from foreign policy hawks. In addition to Woolsey and other former Bush administration officials, the group has enjoyed the avid backing of Iran hawks like former ambassador John Bolton and groups like the Iran Policy Committee (IPC), a right-wing U.S.-based outfit whose putative goal is “empowering Iranians for regime change.”

In a 2005 policy paper, IPC placed the delisting of MEK at the forefront of its proposals for U.S. policy toward Iran. The “continued designation since 1997 of the main Iranian opposition group, Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK), as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department assures Tehran that regime change is off the table,” wrote the report’s authors. “Removing the MEK’s terrorist designation would be a tangible signal to Tehran and to the Iranian people that a new option is implicitly on the table—regime change.”[19]

MEK’s critics have likened the organization’s advocacy campaign to that of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), an Iraqi exile group led by Ahmed Chalabi that worked to drum up U.S. support for an invasion of Iraq in the 1990s and early 2000s. By presenting itself to Western supporters as an Iraqi government-in-waiting, INC enabled Iraq hawks in the United States to claim that there was Iraqi support for the U.S. action. For Iran hawks, write Ali Fatemi and Karim Pakravan of the National Iranian American Council, “Maryam Rajavi, the MEK leader and self-proclaimed president of Iran, is their new Chalabi.”[20]

IPC in particular has embodied the link between pro-MEK groups and pro-INC groups. A 2010 investigation by the U.S. foreign policy blog LobeLog found that “through 2006, IPC shared an address, accountants, and some staff with multiple organizations that either fronted for or had direct ties to the INC, even sharing staff members with those groups. Some of those ties have continued through today.”[21]

History

Founded in 1963, MEK was one of the many Iranian factions that supported the overthrow of the shah in 1979.[22] However, according to a report by the Christian Science Monitor, it was the only one that used violence against Americans in the run-up to the revolution, launching a string of assassinations and attacks against American military and diplomatic officers in Iran in the 1970s.

The group was expelled from Iran in 1981 when it fell out of favor with Ayatollah Khomeini in a post-revolutionary power struggle.[23] Since then, it has launched thousands of attacks against Iranians it has deemed “agents of the regime,” peaking at a rate of three assassinations per day in the 1980s, and staged high-profile raids on Iranian diplomatic offices all over the world—including an orchestrated set of attacks on 12 diplomatic facilities in 10 countries on a single day in 1992.[24]

In the mid-1980s, MEK settled in Iraq as a guest of Saddam Hussein, who offered the group use of Camp Ashraf, an encampment and army base north of Baghdad. There, not only did MEK fight on the Iraqi side of the Iran-Iraq war, but it also helped Saddam crush the CIA-instigated Iraqi Kurdish and Shiite uprisings that came on the tail of the 1991 Gulf War, leading to the precipitous erosion of its support in Iran and Iraq alike.[25]

MEK’s fighters at Ashraf were disarmed by the United States following the fall of Saddam’s government in 2003. In the following years, the camp was subject to occasionally violent raids by the new Iraqi government, which sparked concerns about further violence or a humanitarian crisis when it ordered the camp closed by the end of 2011. Although the Ashraf issue is separate from the issue of MEK’s status as a terrorist organization, MEK’s backers in the West used the conditions at the camp to garner sympathy for the group’s broader agenda in Washington and to argue that its continued listing as a terrorist group is the cause of its mistreatment.[26]

MEK’s lobbying efforts were foreshadowed in a 1994 report by the U.S. State Department, which concluded that the group was unlikely to be serious about its democratic overtures. According to the Christian Science Monitor: “Noting the MEK’s ‘dedication to armed struggle’; the ‘fact that they deny or distort sections of their history, such as the use of violence’; the ‘dictatorial methods’ of their leadership; and the ‘cult-like behavior of its members,’ the State Dept. concluded that the MEK’s ‘29-year record of behavior does not substantiate its capability or intention to be democratic.’ “That report describes tactics that foreshadow the MEK’s lobbying campaign today, 16 years later. It notes a ‘formidable Mojahidin outreach program,’ which ‘solicits the support of prominent public figures,’ and the ‘common practice … to collect statements issued by prominent individuals.’”[27]

The group formally renounced the use of violence in 2001, but an FBI investigation found MEK members to be “actively involved in planning and executing acts of terrorism” as recently as 2004. In February 2012, NBC News reported that the Israeli government had coordinated with MEK to launch a series of assassinations against Iranian nuclear scientists.[28] The group’s delisting may open the door to future cooperation with the United States as well.


(Alejo Vidal-Quadras , Mojahedin Khalq logo, Struan stevenson )


(Izzat Ebrahim and Massoud Rajavi still at large)

 

[1] Elise Labott, “Clinton to remove Iranian exile group from terror list,” CNN.com, September 21, 2012,
http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/21/clinton-
to-de-list-iranian-exile-group-from-terror-list/
.

[2] U.S. State Department, “Country Reports on Terrorsm 2010: Chapter Six: Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” August 2011,
http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2010/index.htm.

[3] Barbara Slavin, “Mass Tragedy Feared as Closure of MEK Camp Looms,” Right Web, December 19, 2011,
http://rightweb.irc-online.org/articles/display/mass
_tragedy_feared_as_closure_of_mek_camp_looms
.

[4] Elise Labott, “Clinton to remove Iranian exile group from terror list,” CNN.com, September 21, 2012,
http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/21/clinton-
to-de-list-iranian-exile-group-from-terror-list/
.

[5] Scott Shane, “For Obscure Iranian Exile Group, Broad Support in U.S.,” New York Times, November 26, 2011,
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/us/politics/lobbying
-support-for-iranian-exile-group-crosses-party-lines.html?
pagewanted=all
.

[6] Elise Labott, “Clinton to remove Iranian exile group from terror list,” CNN.com, September 21, 2012,
http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/21/clinton
-to-de-list-iranian-exile-group-from-terror-list/
.

[7] See Matt Duss, “The MEK Are Not Iran’s ‘Democratic Opposition,” Middle East Progress, July 19, 2011,
http://middleeastprogress.org/2011/07/the-mek
-are-not-irans-democratic-opposition/
.

[8] Ali Gharib, “Enemy Of My Enemy: Delisting The MEK,” Daily Beast, September 25, 2012,
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/09/
25/enemy-of-my-enemy-delisting-the-mek.html
.

[9] Seymour Hersh, “Our Men in Iran,” New Yorker, April 6, 2012,
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/04/mek.html.

[10] Quoted in Jasmin Ramsey, “Analysts Respond To Expected US Decision To Delist MEK From FTO List,” LobeLog, September 22, 2012,
http://www.lobelog.com/analysts-respond-to-
expected-us-decision-to-delist-mek-from-fto-list/
.

[11] New York Post, “Loose Lips,” February 10, 2012,
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/editorials
/loose_lips_7xvSwHsWqSoIjyXIWl8nmI
.

[12] See Right Web, Raymond Tanter profile,
http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/
Tanter_Raymond
.

[13] Edward Cody, “GOP leaders criticize Obama’s Iran policy in rally for opposition group,” Washington Post, December 23, 2010,
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/
article/2010/12/22/AR2010122205180.html
.

[14] Michael Rubin, “Re: Israel’s Iranian Allies of Convenience,” Commentary Magazine, Contentions blog, February 13, 2012,
http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/02/13/israel-iran-allies/.

[15] Scott Shane, “For Obscure Iranian Exile Group, Broad Support in U.S.,” New York Times, November 26, 2011,
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/us/politics/lobbying-support
-for-iranian-exile-group-crosses-party-lines.html?pagewanted=all
.

[16] Eli Clifton, “Romney Adviser Advocating For Controversial Iranian Terrorist Group,” ThinkProgress, August 23, 2011,
http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/08/2
3/302480/romney-adviser-mek/
.

[17] Scott Peterson, “Iranian group’s big-money push to get off US terrorist list,” Christian Science Monitor, August 8, 2011, p. 3,
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0808/Iranian
-group-s-big-money-push-to-get-off-US-terrorist-list/%28page%29/3

[18] Chris McGreal, “MEK decision: multimillion-dollar campaign led to removal from terror list,” Guardian, September 21, 2012,
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/21
/iran-mek-group-removed-us-terrorism-list
.

[19] Iran Policy Committee, “U.S. Policy Options for Iran,” February 10, 2005,
http://www.iranpolicy.org/uploadedFiles/USPolicy
Options_for_Iran_Feb2005.pdf
.

[20] Fatemi and Karim Pakravan, “War With Iran? US Neocons Aim to Repeat Chalabi-Style Swindle Ali,” Truthout, July 15, 2011.

[21] Ali Gharib and Eli Clifton, “Neocon Iran Policy Committee tied to disgraced Iraqi National Congress,” LobeLog, September 10, 2010,
http://www.lobelog.com/neocon-iran-policy-committee
-tied-to-disgraced-iraqi-national-congress/
.

[22] U.S. State Department, “Country Reports on Terrorsm 2010: Chapter Six: Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” August 2011,
http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2010/index.htm.

[23] U.S. State Department, “Country Reports on Terrorsm 2010: Chapter Six: Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” August 2011,
http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2010/index.htm.

[24] Scott Peterson, “Iranian group’s big-money push to get off US terrorist list,” Christian Science Monitor, August 8, 2011, p. 7,
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0808/
Iranian-group-s-big-money-push-to-get-off-US-terrorist
-list/%28page%29/7
.

[25] Scott Peterson, “Iranian group’s big-money push to get off US terrorist list,” Christian Science Monitor, August 8, 2011, p. 8,
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0808/
Iranian-group-s-big-money-push-to-get-off-US-terrorist-
list/%28page%29/8

[26] See, for example, Eli Clifton, “Defending MEK, Mukasey, Ridge & Freeh Attack Obama For Hastily Exiting Iraq, While Admitting He’s Trying To Stay,” ThinkProgress, August 15, 2011, http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/08/15/296188/mukasey
-ridge-freeh-obama-iraq-mek/
.

[27] Scott Peterson, “Iranian group’s big-money push to get off US terrorist list,” Christian Science Monitor, August 8, 2011, p. 8,
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0808/Iranian-
group-s-big-money-push-to-get-off-US-terrorist-list/%28page%29/8

[28] Richard Engel and Robert Windrem, “Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran’s nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News,” NBCNews.com, February 9, 2012, http://rockcenter.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/02/08/10354553
-israel-teams-with-terror-group-to-kill-irans-nuclear-scientists-
us-officials-tell-nbc-news
.

————

Also
https://iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=12535

Terrorists? Us?

(Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult and the Washington Lobby)

.

… Rajavi had to come up with an explanation for the defeat. His unorthodox solution was to tell his fighters they had lost because they had been distracted by love and sex. He commanded members to divorce, become celibate and live in communal, single-sex accommodation, just like soldiers in a regular army. Filled with ideas of self-sacrifice and martyrdom, they did as they were told. (The celibacy rule is to this day so tightly enforced that there are separate times for men and women to use Camp Ashraf’s petrol station.) Members were urged to transfer their passions from their former spouses to their leaders …


The Life of Camp Ashraf,
Mojahedin-e Khalq Victims of Many Masters

Owen Bennett-Jones, London Review of Books, June 01 2012
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v34/n11/owen-bennett-jones/terrorists-us

Terror Tagging of an Iranian Dissident Organisation by Raymond Tanter
Iran Policy Committee, 217 pp, £10.00, December 2011, ISBN 978 0 9797051 2 0

The story of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, also known as the Mujahedin e Khalq (MEK), is all about the way image management can enable a diehard enemy to become a cherished ally. The MEK is currently campaigning to be officially delisted in the US as a terrorist organisation. Once off the list it will be free to make use of its support on Capitol Hill in order to become America’s most favoured, and no doubt best funded, Iranian opposition group.

The last outfit to achieve something similar was the Iraqi National Congress, the lobby group led by Ahmed Chalabi that talked of democracy and paved the way for the US invasion of Iraq by presenting Washington with highly questionable ‘evidence’ of weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein’s links with al-Qaida. Then, as George Bush took the US to war, all that remained for the INC and its leaders was to sit back and prepare for government. Many in Washington believe that, for better or worse, the US will go to war with Iran and that the MEK will have a role to play. But first they will have to persuade Hillary Clinton to take the group off the US’s official terrorist list. Some of Clinton’s officials are urging her to keep the MEK on it but some of the big beasts in Washington are angrily demanding that she delist. After an exhaustive inter-agency process the MEK file is now in her in-tray. Recent State Department statements indicate that she is likely to delist the group.

Formed in the 1960s as an anti-imperialist, Islamist organisation with socialist leanings, dedicated to the overthrow of the shah, the MEK originally stood not only for Islamic revolution but also for such causes as women’s rights – an appealing combination on Iran’s university campuses. It went on to build a genuine popular base and played a significant role in overthrowing the shah in 1979. It was popular enough for Ayatollah Khomeini to feel he had to destroy it; throughout the 1980s he instigated show trials and public executions of its members. The MEK retaliated with attacks on senior clerical leaders inside Iran.

Fearing for their lives, MEK members fled first to Paris and later to Iraq, where Saddam Hussein, desperate for allies in the war with Iran, provided them with millions of dollars of funding as well as tanks, artillery pieces and other weapons. He also made land available to them. Camp Ashraf became their home, a citadel in the desert, 80 kilometres north of Baghdad and an hour’s drive from the Iranian border. Since the 1970s, the MEK’s rhetoric has changed from Islamist to secular, from socialist to capitalist, from pro-revolution to anti-revolution. And since Saddam’s fall it has portrayed itself as pro-American, peaceful and dedicated to democracy and human rights. Continual reinvention can be dangerous, however, and the new, pro-Iranian Iraqi government is under pressure from Tehran to close down Camp Ashraf, which has grown over three decades to the size of a small town. And it’s not just Iran. Many Iraqis too bear grudges against the MEK, not only for having worked alongside Saddam Hussein but also for having taken part in his violent suppression of the Kurds and Shias.

Iraqi security personnel have twice attacked Camp Ashraf, in 2009 and 2011, killing more than forty people. Pictures of armoured vehicles running over unarmed Ashraf residents can be seen on YouTube. Iraq has now insisted that Camp Ashraf be closed, and its residents have very reluctantly started moving to Camp Liberty, a former US army base by Baghdad airport which is under UN supervision and guarded by Iraqi security personnel. The UNHCR is now processing the residents with a view to sending them to other countries as refugees, but few countries are willing to take in people the US officially designates as terrorists and who are described by many as members of a cult.

The MEK started to use cultlike methods – isolating members from friends and relatives and managing the flow of information that reached them – after 1989, the year its charismatic husband and wife leadership team, Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, launched Operation Eternal Light. After Saddam’s failure to topple the regime in Iran, this was intended to be the big push that would finally win control of the country. Success, Rajavi told his fighters, was inevitable because the Iranian people, both civilians and military, would switch sides and join them on the march to Tehran. It would, he said, be a walkover. In the event the Iranian counter attack was ferocious. More than a thousand MEK fighters were killed and many others wounded. It lost around a third of its personnel.

Rajavi had to come up with an explanation for the defeat. His unorthodox solution was to tell his fighters they had lost because they had been distracted by love and sex. He commanded members to divorce, become celibate and live in communal, single-sex accommodation, just like soldiers in a regular army. Filled with ideas of self-sacrifice and martyrdom, they did as they were told. (The celibacy rule is to this day so tightly enforced that there are separate times for men and women to use Camp Ashraf’s petrol station.) Members were urged to transfer their passions from their former spouses to their leaders, the Rajavis. Aware that people were becoming sexually frustrated, meetings were organised where members were obliged to confess their sexual fantasies in public. If you did confess to something, other members spat at you. Friendships were also discouraged at Camp Ashraf, and so were children. From the mid-1980s, citing safety concerns, the leadership ordered that several hundred children living in the camp be moved to pro-MEK foster families in Europe and Canada. Some parents have not seen their children for more than twenty years.

These practices, along with frequent indoctrination sessions and the banning of news of the outside world (members were not allowed phones), helped the leadership to assert control. But MEK members outside Iraq also displayed remarkable devotion to the cause. When in 2003 the French authorities detained Maryam Rajavi on terrorism charges (she was later released) ten MEK members around the world set themselves on fire in protest; two of them died. The MEK of course denies being a cult, though many outsiders – senior US military officers, FBI agents, journalists and analysts for the largely Pentagon-funded Rand Corporation – have been to Camp Ashraf and come away believing that it is. One senior State Department official (now retired), sent to Iraq to interview thousands of MEK members after the invasion, concluded that the organisation was a cult; that the weirdly child-free Camp Ashraf was ‘a human tragedy’; that members were ‘misused and misled’ by the leadership; and that many had been tricked into joining.

The MEK has used various recruitment methods. The organisation’s elite joined in Iran before the revolution. Others are former Iranian conscripts captured during the Iran-Iraq war. Saddam’s regime offered them a bargain: if they joined the MEK they could move from POW camps to the more comfortable confines of Camp Ashraf. Some members were recruited on US university campuses and promised jobs, money, new passports and the chance to fight the mullahs. Others were simply deceived. One Iran-based MEK activist was told on a visit to Camp Ashraf that his wife and child had died so he might as well stay. It was ten years before he got hold of a phone; the first thing he did was call home: his family were still alive. Some former MEK members say that on arrival in Iraq they were whisked past immigration control and their passports deliberately left unstamped. If later on they said they wanted to leave Camp Ashraf they were told they would be arrested for entering the country illegally. I have heard hours of such testimony from former members. The MEK insists that all the people who tell such stories are Iranian agents. It also denies misleading families. The tears of parents, spouses and children seemed real enough to me.

Despite all this, some US military officers who worked in Camp Ashraf after the invasion came away convinced that the group could be a useful ally. General David Phillips, a military policeman who spent time there in 2004, argues that the MEK is no more a cult than the US marines: in both organisations you have to wear a uniform, obey orders and follow rituals that seem bizarre to the uninitiated. Positive feelings towards the MEK in the US military are easily explained. In 2003 they had been briefed that it was a heavily armed terrorist outfit expected to fight loyally for Saddam against US forces. In the event the MEK leadership realised quite quickly that Saddam was doomed and executed a political pirouette. When US forces arrived at Camp Ashraf, they were welcomed by courteous English speakers who professed their support. Many American soldiers came to see the camp as a safe haven in a hostile country.

This doesn’t explain the MEK’s popularity among politicians in London, Brussels and Washington. Some of it is paid for. Three dozen former high-ranking American officials regularly speak at MEK-friendly events. They include Rudy Giuliani, Howard Dean, Obama’s former national security adviser General James Jones and the former congressman Lee Hamilton. The rate for a speech is between $20,000 and $40,000 for ten minutes. Subject matter is not a concern: some speakers deliver speeches that barely mention the MEK. In recent months the Obama administration has indicated it may put a halt to these events. The Treasury is investigating whether speakers have been receiving funds from a designated terrorist organisation. What they want to know, in other words, is whether the Iranian exiles who paid the speakers’ fees are an MEK front; those who campaign for the group without being paid will not be affected. Most of those who back the group do so because they will back anything that seeks to upset the regime in Tehran. They seem unaware that the organisation has been called a cult and have not heard the complaints of former members. A number of the most prominent MEK lobbyists say they agreed to speak because they were reassured by the respectability of those who were already doing so.

The MEK also hires Washington lobbyists, who issue lengthy ripostes to criticism. The Rand Corporation’s 105-page report on the MEK was written by a team of four who worked for 15 months in the US and Iraq to produce the most thorough analysis to date of the group’s cultish aspects. The response was a 131-page report from a body called Executive Action, which describes itself as ‘a private CIA and Defense Department available to address your most intractable problems and difficult challenges’. The Executive Action report was entitled ‘Courting Disaster: How a Biased, Inaccurate Rand Corporation Report Imperils Lives, Flouts International Law and Betrays Its Own Standards.’ Neil Livingstone, who is now a Republican candidate for the governorship of Montana, said he was retained by an ‘American citizen’ to assess the objectivity of the Rand report. He concluded that, among other shortcomings, its authors were too inexperienced to write about a subject as complex as the MEK. Its supporters still dismiss the Rand paper, published three years ago, as the work of ‘sophomore students’. Rand says these criticisms are references to the lead author’s assistants, who had relatively minor roles and were given a credit on the title page so they had something to put on their CVs. All this lobbying costs a lot of money. Some of it is collected by the organisation’s very determined door to door fundraisers in the UK and elsewhere. US officials also believe that the MEK has at its disposal the return on the large and well-invested stipend it received from Saddam Hussein.

Most pro-MEK campaigning doesn’t directly address the allegations of cultish behaviour: the lobbyists focus instead on delisting. In 1996, a UN General Assembly resolution established a committee to draft a convention on international terrorism. Officials have met annually ever since to discuss the issue. But they can’t agree on what terrorism is. There are two main sticking points. First, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference insists that movements resisting occupying forces and seeking national liberation – for example in Kashmir – should not be considered terrorists. Second, governments fear that they may themselves fall within any definition the committee reaches. So while some have come up with definitions that suit their own situation, at an international level no consensus has been achieved. Whether or not to label a group as terroristic is of course always a political act: the IRA never made it onto the US list; Nelson Mandela remained a terrorist in US eyes until 2008.

The MEK’s record of mounting attacks goes back to the 1970s, when it opposed the shah and railed against America for backing him. The State Department believes that in 1973 the MEK killed a US Army comptroller stationed in Tehran and that in 1975 it assassinated two members of the US Military Assistance Advisory Group. Three executives from Rockwell International and one from Texaco were also murdered. MEK hostility to the US continued after the revolution. On 4 November 1979 Iranian students occupied the US Embassy in Tehran and kidnapped 52 American diplomats, who were held captive for 444 days. One of the diplomats later said he would not have been in the embassy that day had he not been lured there by MEK contacts. Another said he had no doubt the MEK backed his kidnapping and in fact opposed a diplomatic resolution to the affair. Long after Khomeini decided it was time to settle the issue, the MEK was still pushing for the captive diplomats to be put on trial. The group used to claim that its support for the kidnappings was an elaborate pretence; now it denies it altogether. As for the killings, it says that at the time of the murders, its main leadership had been imprisoned by the shah, which allowed a Marxist faction to hijack the organisation. This faction, effectively a splinter group, carried out the killings, and the attacks ceased when the original leadership was freed and reasserted itself. But perhaps these disputes are moot. The 1970s were a long time ago. Organisations change.

The MEK may have stopped killing Americans, but it maintained its commitment to violent struggle in Iraq and Iran. Its efforts on behalf of Saddam Hussein against the Kurds and the Shias were a sideshow compared to the bombs, assassinations and broader offensives it mounted inside Iran throughout the late 1980s and 1990s. Its violent history is well documented but the organisation insists it’s a thing of the past. This view has received substantial support from the European courts. In 2007, the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission, a specialised UK legal body, declared that the MEK had renounced the use of force and upheld the group’s appeal against a Foreign Office decision to keep it on the official list of terrorist organisations. In 2009, the EU delisted the MEK on the more limited, procedural grounds that it should have been told why it was put on the list in the first place.

To keep the group on the US list Hillary Clinton will have to find that the MEK still has the capacity or intent to commit terrorist acts. Its supporters point out that, as well as convincing a British court they are now peaceful, in July 2004 every member at Camp Ashraf signed a document rejecting violence and terrorism. Critics have their doubts. Given what happens at Guantánamo and Bagram air base, they point out, it would have been surprising if members had not signed a renunciation of terrorism. In November 2004, the FBI reported on the group’s activities in Los Angeles, stating that it had recorded phone calls in which the MEK leadership in France discussed ‘specific acts of terrorism to include bombings’. The FBI claimed that French intelligence, as well as police in Cologne, had gathered similar information with wiretaps. The 2004 FBI report has been public for a year, but most of the material on which Clinton will base her decision is classified. In 2010, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled on an MEK lawsuit, and one of the three judges, Karen LeCraft Henderson, remarked that classified material provided ‘substantial support’ for the view that the MEK continues to engage in terrorism or at least retains the capability and intent to do so. A report in February on NBC News cited unnamed US officials as claiming that the MEK had been responsible for the recent assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists. While some of its US supporters hint that such actions would be to its credit, the organisation itself has denied involvement.

Raymond Tanter’s book is part of the MEK’s image management campaign, a briefing document for advocates of delisting. Tanter, a long-time supporter of the group, has produced a compact guide, complete with colour pictures and transcripts of speeches by paid MEK advocates. He doesn’t deal with the 1970s attacks or the help the organisation gave Saddam. He also glides over attacks in Iran in the 1990s. Tanter believes that under US law only recent years are relevant to the question of whether or not to delist, and he focuses on the period since 2001. He argues that the MEK offers the best hope of a so-called third option: a way for the US to achieve regime change without relying on sanctions or war. But this exposes a flaw in the argument of the pro-MEK lobbyists. On the one hand, they argue that the MEK has renounced force and should be delisted. But if it really has given up violence, would it not make more sense for the US to back the peaceful protesters who have a proven capability to mobilise huge numbers in contemporary Iran – the Green Movement? In reality the MEK’s US backers believe the organisation has potential precisely because of its history of using force. That’s what they think will shift the mullahs from power.

Since there are no reliable opinion polls in Iran, it’s unclear how much support the MEK has there. Supporters insist it has a strong network inside the country and has maintained its popular base. They argue that the regime would not heap so much abuse on it if it did not fear it. The group’s critics maintain that the regime merely despises it and uses it to advance conspiracy theories about foreign plots. The MEK’s decision to fight alongside Saddam in the Iran-Iraq war, they say, cost it considerable support.

Clinton will not be able to ignore political considerations. The MEK lobby is predicting that MEK activists in Iraq will be massacred. Should Iraq mount another attack on MEK members at Camp Ashraf or should the group provoke one, or stage one, the response from the MEK lobby will be fierce. The State Department’s current priority is to ensure that Camp Ashraf residents are safely moved to Liberty. In February, Clinton said a successful transfer ‘will be a key factor in any decision regarding the MEK’s Foreign Terrorist Organisation status’. Legally, this makes no sense. What does their agreement to leave Camp Ashraf say about the group’s desire or ability to carry out terrorist attacks? Nothing. But it reveals the State Department’s real fear: that out of malice or because of some MEK provocation the Iraqis will attack the MEK for a third time and the State Department will be denounced for ignoring all the warnings. In May, the State Department went so far as to say that it was looking favourably at delisting as long as MEK continues to evacuate its members from Ashraf.

What the statements suggest is that Clinton has all but made up her mind to delist the group – the MEK’s hard work has not been in vain. There’s something else to bear in mind. As one world-weary observer in Washington put it recently, ‘Hillary Clinton is a politico. Right now a lot of her colleagues and associates are making good money from the MEK. They won’t appreciate it if she removes the trough.’ Were the MEK to be delisted, the group could, like Chalabi’s INC before it, receive Congressional funding, and the Rajavis would be seen as likely candidates for office in any government formed after the mullahs’ fall.

A decade ago Donald Rumsfeld and the neocons were so in thrall to the INC’s Ahmed Chalabi that they provided helicopters to bring him and a band of diehard supporters to Nasiriya so he could be seen personally liberating Iraq. But when they landed, it was plain that none of the locals had ever heard of him. Chalabi was beaten to the top job by another former exile, Nouri al-Maliki, and had to satisfy himself with the Oil Ministry. Al-Maliki is now establishing himself as an authoritarian pro-Iranian leader: an outcome far removed from US objectives. But the never-say-die MEK lobbyists in Washington like to look on the bright side. Chalabi, they concede, was not what they thought. But this time it’s different. One retired US colonel who campaigns for the MEK likes to compare Maryam Rajavi with George Washington. The US may be about to demonstrate that once again it has failed to learn its lesson.


(Rajavi cult or MKO aslo known as Saddam’s Private Army)

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Also
https://iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=12137

Training Terrorists in Nevada: Seymour Hersh on U.S. Aid to Iranian Group Tied to Scientist Killings

(Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult)

.

… Journalist Seymour Hersh has revealed that the Bush administration secretly trained an Iranian opposition group on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorists. Hersh reports the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command trained operatives from Mujahideen-e-Khalq, or MEK, at a secret site in Nevada beginning in 2005. According to Hersh, MEK members were trained in intercepting communications, cryptography, weaponry and small unit tactics at the Nevada site up until President Obama took office. The MEK has been listed as a foreign terrorist groups since 1997 and is linked to a number of attacks, spanning from the murders of six U.S. citizens …

Democracy Now, April 16 2012
http://www.democracynow.org/2012/4/10
/training_terrorists_in_nevada_seymour_hersh

Video Link
http://www.democracynow.org/2012/4/10/
training_terrorists_in_nevada_seymour_hersh

Journalist Seymour Hersh has revealed that the Bush administration secretly trained an Iranian opposition group on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorists. Hersh reports the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command trained operatives from Mujahideen-e-Khalq, or MEK, at a secret site in Nevada beginning in 2005. According to Hersh, MEK members were trained in intercepting communications, cryptography, weaponry and small unit tactics at the Nevada site up until President Obama took office. The MEK has been listed as a foreign terrorist groups since 1997 and is linked to a number of attacks, spanning from the murders of six U.S. citizens in the 1970s to the recent wave of assassinations targeting Iranian nuclear scientists. Hersh also discusses the role of Israeli intelligence and notes the Obama administration knew about the training, “because they have access to what was going on in the previous administration in this area in terms of the MEK, in terms of operations inside Iran.” His new report for The New Yorker blog, “Our Men in Iran?,” comes as nuclear talks are set to resume this week between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency. [includes rush transcript]

Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporter for The New Yorker magazine. His latest piece for their website’s “News Desk” blog is titled “Our Men in Iran?”

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Also
https://iran-interlink.org/index.php?mod=view&id=12065

Our Men in Iran?

.

… Five Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated since 2007. M.E.K. spokesmen have denied any involvement in the killings, but early last month NBC News quoted two senior Obama Administration officials as confirming that the attacks were carried out by M.E.K. units that were financed and trained by Mossad, the Israeli secret service. NBC further quoted the Administration officials as denying any American involvement in the M.E.K. activities. The former senior intelligence official I spoke with seconded the NBC report that the Israelis were working with the M.E.K., adding …

Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, April 6 2012
http://www.newyorker.com/online/
blogs/newsdesk/2012/04/mek.html

hersh-iran.jpg

From the air, the terrain of the Department of Energy’s Nevada National Security Site, with its arid high plains and remote mountain peaks, has the look of northwest Iran. The site, some sixty-five miles northwest of Las Vegas, was once used for nuclear testing, and now includes a counterintelligence training facility and a private airport capable of handling Boeing 737 aircraft. It’s a restricted area, and inhospitable—in certain sections, the curious are warned that the site’s security personnel are authorized to use deadly force, if necessary, against intruders.

It was here that the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) conducted training, beginning in 2005, for members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, a dissident Iranian opposition group known in the West as the M.E.K. The M.E.K. had its beginnings as a Marxist-Islamist student-led group and, in the nineteen-seventies, it was linked to the assassination of six American citizens. It was initially part of the broad-based revolution that led to the 1979 overthrow of the Shah of Iran. But, within a few years, the group was waging a bloody internal war with the ruling clerics, and, in 1997, it was listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department. In 2002, the M.E.K. earned some international credibility by publicly revealing—accurately—that Iran had begun enriching uranium at a secret underground location. Mohamed ElBaradei, who at the time was the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear monitoring agency, told me later that he had been informed that the information was supplied by the Mossad. The M.E.K.’s ties with Western intelligence deepened after the fall of the Iraqi regime in 2003, and JSOC began operating inside Iran in an effort to substantiate the Bush Administration’s fears that Iran was building the bomb at one or more secret underground locations. Funds were covertly passed to a number of dissident organizations, for intelligence collection and, ultimately, for anti-regime terrorist activities. Directly, or indirectly, the M.E.K. ended up with resources like arms and intelligence. Some American-supported covert operations continue in Iran today, according to past and present intelligence officials and military consultants.

Despite the growing ties, and a much-intensified lobbying effort organized by its advocates, M.E.K. has remained on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations—which meant that secrecy was essential in the Nevada training. “We did train them here, and washed them through the Energy Department because the D.O.E. owns all this land in southern Nevada,” a former senior American intelligence official told me. “We were deploying them over long distances in the desert and mountains, and building their capacity in communications—coördinating commo is a big deal.” (A spokesman for J.S.O.C. said that “U.S. Special Operations Forces were neither aware of nor involved in the training of M.E.K. members.”)

The training ended sometime before President Obama took office, the former official said. In a separate interview, a retired four-star general, who has advised the Bush and Obama Administrations on national-security issues, said that he had been privately briefed in 2005 about the training of Iranians associated with the M.E.K. in Nevada by an American involved in the program. They got “the standard training,” he said, “in commo, crypto [cryptography], small-unit tactics, and weaponry—that went on for six months,” the retired general said. “They were kept in little pods.” He also was told, he said, that the men doing the training were from JSOC, which, by 2005, had become a major instrument in the Bush Administration’s global war on terror. “The JSOC trainers were not front-line guys who had been in the field, but second- and third-tier guys—trainers and the like—and they started going off the reservation. ‘If we’re going to teach you tactics, let me show you some really sexy stuff…’ ”

It was the ad-hoc training that provoked the worried telephone calls to him, the former general said. “I told one of the guys who called me that they were all in over their heads, and all of them could end up trouble unless they got something in writing. The Iranians are very, very good at counterintelligence, and stuff like this is just too hard to contain.” The site in Nevada was being utilized at the same time, he said, for advanced training of élite Iraqi combat units. (The retired general said he only knew of the one M.E.K.-affiliated group that went though the training course; the former senior intelligence official said that he was aware of training that went on through 2007.)

Allan Gerson, a Washington attorney for the M.E.K., notes that the M.E.K. has publicly and repeatedly renounced terror. Gerson said he would not comment on the alleged training in Nevada. But such training, if true, he said, would be “especially incongruent with the State Department’s decision to continue to maintain the M.E.K. on the terrorist list. How can the U.S. train those on State’s foreign terrorist list, when others face criminal penalties for providing a nickel to the same organization?”

Robert Baer, a retired C.I.A. agent who is fluent in Arabic and had worked under cover in Kurdistan and throughout the Middle East in his career, initially had told me in early 2004 of being recruited by a private American company—working, so he believed, on behalf of the Bush Administration—to return to Iraq. “They wanted me to help the M.E.K. collect intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program,” Baer recalled. “They thought I knew Farsi, which I did not. I said I’d get back to them, but never did.” Baer, now living in California, recalled that it was made clear to him at the time that the operation was “a long-term thing—not just a one-shot deal.”

Massoud Khodabandeh, an I.T. expert now living in England who consults for the Iraqi government, was an official with the M.E.K. before defecting in 1996. In a telephone interview, he acknowledged that he is an avowed enemy of the M.E.K., and has advocated against the group. Khodabandeh said that he had been with the group since before the fall of the Shah and, as a computer expert, was deeply involved in intelligence activities as well as providing security for the M.E.K. leadership. For the past decade, he and his English wife have run a support program for other defectors. Khodabandeh told me that he had heard from more recent defectors about the training in Nevada. He was told that the communications training in Nevada involved more than teaching how to keep in contact during attacks—it also involved communication intercepts. The United States, he said, at one point found a way to penetrate some major Iranian communications systems. At the time, he said, the U.S. provided M.E.K. operatives with the ability to intercept telephone calls and text messages inside Iran—which M.E.K. operatives translated and shared with American signals intelligence experts. He does not know whether this activity is ongoing.

Five Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated since 2007. M.E.K. spokesmen have denied any involvement in the killings, but early last month NBC News quoted two senior Obama Administration officials as confirming that the attacks were carried out by M.E.K. units that were financed and trained by Mossad, the Israeli secret service. NBC further quoted the Administration officials as denying any American involvement in the M.E.K. activities. The former senior intelligence official I spoke with seconded the NBC report that the Israelis were working with the M.E.K., adding that the operations benefitted from American intelligence. He said that the targets were not “Einsteins”; “The goal is to affect Iranian psychology and morale,” he said, and to “demoralize the whole system—nuclear delivery vehicles, nuclear enrichment facilities, power plants.” Attacks have also been carried out on pipelines. He added that the operations are “primarily being done by M.E.K. through liaison with the Israelis, but the United States is now providing the intelligence.” An adviser to the special-operations community told me that the links between the United States and M.E.K. activities inside Iran had been long-standing. “Everything being done inside Iran now is being done with surrogates,” he said.

The sources I spoke to were unable to say whether the people trained in Nevada were now involved in operations in Iran or elsewhere. But they pointed to the general benefit of American support. “The M.E.K. was a total joke,” the senior Pentagon consultant said, “and now it’s a real network inside Iran. How did the M.E.K. get so much more efficient?” he asked rhetorically. “Part of it is the training in Nevada. Part of it is logistical support in Kurdistan, and part of it is inside Iran. M.E.K. now has a capacity for efficient operations than it never had before.”

In mid-January, a few days after an assassination by car bomb of an Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, at a town-hall meeting of soldiers at Fort Bliss, Texas, acknowledged that the U.S. government has “some ideas as to who might be involved, but we don’t know exactly who was involved.” He added, “But I can tell you one thing: the United States was not involved in that kind of effort. That’s not what the United States does.”

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Also
https://iran-interlink.org/index.php?mod=view&id=12095

 

The Strange World of the People’s Mujahedin

(aka; MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult)

.

… Whether they leave voluntarily, or by force, leave they must. The PMOI has a history of killing Americans and mounting attacks within Iran. But it now says it has renounced violence and should be removed from America’s list of designated foreign terrorist organisations. Its high profile PR campaign involves paying senior retired US officials who then speak on its behalf. We report on the way in which a former pariah group accused of killing Americans has won over intelligence experts, generals, and congressmen from both sides of the political divide…

Owen Bennett Jones, BBC World Service, April 11 2012
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p00q88z2/Your_World
_The_Strange_World_of_the_Peoples_Mujahedin/

Link to the Audio file (BBC)

Link to download the file:

http://www.4shared.com/mp3/
vamWLrxf/MPSH0011212.html

The People’s Mujahedin of Iran – a group of dissident Iranians who have been fighting to topple the Mullahs since the 1980s – say they fear they are about to be massacred.

Over 3,000 PMOI members – designated terrorists by the US and a cult by some former members – live in Iraq at Camp Ashraf, 40 miles north of Baghdad and 70 miles from Iran itself.

The camp residents say they are vulnerable because with the US now having left Iraq, they are at the mercy of the pro-Iranian, Iraqi government, which is demanding the camp be closed down.

Whether they leave voluntarily, or by force, leave they must.

The PMOI has a history of killing Americans and mounting attacks within Iran.

But it now says it has renounced violence and should be removed from America’s list of designated foreign terrorist organisations.

Its high profile PR campaign involves paying senior retired US officials who then speak on its behalf.

We report on the way in which a former pariah group accused of killing Americans has won over intelligence experts, generals, and congressmen from both sides of the political divide.

As the deadline for the closing of Camp Ashraf draws near we ask just who are the People’s Mujahedin of Iran – terrorists or freedom fighters?

A cult or a deeply committed army who could be used by the US to fight for change in Iran?

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