MKO s Trick of Concentrating upon a Single Foe (aka; Mojahedin Khalq, MEK, Rajavi cult)
MKO’s Trick of Concentrating upon a Single Foe
(aka; Mojahedin Khalq, MEK, Rajavi cult)
It is natural to see defected members being demonized as the paid agents of Iranian regime
... Learning his lessons from the dictators and leaders of the personality cults rather than the great men of peace, Rajavi, as the leader of a terrorist cult, came to grasp that the first rule in any struggling movement is to have an enemy to challenge and overcome. Thus, a particularly important place in the struggle matrix of MKO was assigned to Iranian regime as the sole adversary along with those it accused them to be siding with it. In fact, MKO requires the existence of enemies, internal and external, all associated with the single adversary at all times because too many enemies arouse suspicions and questioning. That is exactly outlined by Hitler for MKO ...
Anne Singleton (Khodabandeh), Baghdad university Families want fast and peaceful resolution
Pretty remarkable in MKO-run propaganda machine is a strange paradox. It highlights anti-Iranian regime sentiments and demonizes whoever is attached to it and minimizes whatever might cause MKO fall into disrepute of being represented as an undemocratic terrorist cult. It fuels global rage against Iranian regime but praises the group and its leaders as pro-democratic unity devoted to peaceful campaign against all cruelties and violations of human rights! MKO is not the first in history clinging to such a paradox but following the footsteps of countless bullies who were determined to shift the focus of public attention and rage away from their own devious intention and plans to a hateful image of a “single adversary”.
For example, Stalin‘s collective label for his foe was the bourgeoisie or exploiter and Hitler aimed his propaganda at a similar enemy, mainly Jews. As Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf:
“The art of all truly great national leaders at all times consists…primarily in not dividing the attention of a people, but in concentrating it upon a single foe…. It belongs to the genius of a great leader to make even adversaries far removed from one another seem to belong to a single category.”
Learning his lessons from the dictators and leaders of the personality cults rather than the great men of peace, Rajavi, as the leader of a terrorist cult, came to grasp that the first rule in any struggling movement is to have an enemy to challenge and overcome. Thus, a particularly important place in the struggle matrix of MKO was assigned to Iranian regime as the sole adversary along with those it accused them to be siding with it. In fact, MKO requires the existence of enemies, internal and external, all associated with the single adversary at all times because too many enemies arouse suspicions and questioning. That is exactly outlined by Hitler for MKO to adhere to:
“Once the wavering mass sees itself in a struggle against too many enemies, objectivity will put in an appearance, throwing open the question whether all others are really wrong and only their own movement are in the right. And this brings about the first paralysis of their own power. Hence a multiplicity of different adversaries must always be combined so that in the eyes of one’s own supporters the struggle is directed against only one enemy.”
And all roads in MKO’ propaganda blitz end to demonizing an opponent and critic as a hand joined with and paid by Iranian regime. Inflicted as a harsh psychological punishment, the insiders stand on the verge of being suspected agents of the enemy in case of making protests, just as any detached and escaped member is accused to be. Indeed, the threatening omnipresence of the enemy acts like a Damocles Sword that protects MKO against the internal threats. As Eric Hoffer depicts in his The True Believer:
“Suspicion is given a sharp edge by associating all opposition within the ranks with the enemy threatening the movement from without. This enemy-the indispensable devil of every mass movement-is omnipresent. He plots both outside and inside the ranks of the faithful. It is his voice that speaks through the mouth of the dissenter, and the deviationists are his stooges. If anything goes wrong within the movement, it is his doing. It is the sacred duty of the true believer to be suspicious. He must be constantly on the lookout for saboteurs, spies and traitors”.
Asserted by majority of defected members, any suspected dissidence and defiance of leaders or taken decisions within the group would be harshly repressed. Unfortunately, there exist no tangible evidences to prove anti-human practices within MKO but the confessions made by the defected members themselves whose confessions MKO tries to misrepresent as untrustworthy voice of the enemy that speaks through the mouth of the dissident.
That is how suddenly three defected ranking members of the group, Massoud Khodabandeh, a high-ranking and highly trusted member working as a computer expert and deeply involved in intelligence activities as well as providing security for the group’s leadership, and his later wife Ann Singleton, an English born veteran who defected MKO, and Ibrahim Khodabandeh, Massoud’s brother, also a ranking member highly trusted by MKO for illegal acts and international smuggling programs, turn to be agents of Iranian regime after starting to talk and exposing against MKO. And there more to name whom MKO has so far refrained to mention.
For sure, the most reliable information one can have access to concerning cultic and atrocious practices inside MKO are those revealed by the active defected members like Khodabandeh brothers who were the closest to the group’s leading echelon. And of course it is natural to see them being demonized as the paid agents of Iranian regime while they are enjoying their free life and feeling a responsibility to do their best to help rescue more enslaved victims out of the cult.
Khodabandeh: Mojahedin Khalq a clear threat to the national interest of U.S.
(aka; MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult)
... Now, if Zucker and his ilk can insert this MEK-written propaganda into an apparently official document for the Pentagon -- an easy target, of course, as it is swarming with willing warmongers -- will it be long before such documents reach into higher circles of power -- that is, the people with America's nuclear arsenal at their fingertips. The decision-making clique in a national crisis cannot afford to be swayed by either ideologically biased or un-researched information. When MEK misinformation so blatantly reaches the Pentagon, is it too far-fetched to imagine it reaching The White House? Should a crisis arise, can Americans be confident that those at the top really ...
(Maryam Rajavi directly ordered the massacre of Kurdish people)
The MEK have been very keen to publicize a Library of Congress report called "Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile."
On the surface this is understandable, as the MEK is the sworn enemy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. However, a closer look at the content reveals a murkier truth.
The report is characterized by its mixture of allegation, assertion and allusion, much of which is not substantiated by evidence. The report blends fact and fiction in a manner intended to deceive and mislead. As such, this document is not an attack, it is a defensive act, it is a play on words intended to prevent informed discussion and stop important people being listened to. Indeed, the gratuitous mention of two specific individuals, Anne Singleton and me. We have consistently exposed the aspects of the Mojahedin Khalq which it most wants to hide -- its cult nature, human rights violations, and mercenary relation to foreign agents -- is the strongest possible indication of the provenance of this report.
The other indication is that the source of this specific misinformation is Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker. In a footnote, the article "Disinformation Campaign in Overdrive: Iran's VEVAK in High-Gear" is sourced at Global Politician, September 3, 2007, www.globalpolitician.com/23386-vevak-iran (accessed April 17, 2012). Interestingly, this website can no longer be accessed.
It is known that Zucker, along with his family, visited Maryam Rajavi in Paris and was sufficiently impressed by her glamorous outfits, free dinners and weasel words to become an active advocate of the MEK in America.
However, Zucker's article received a thorough retort back in 2007 from Professor Paul Sheldon Foote.
Reference to the same discredited article in this report can only be done out of ignorance, stupidity or desperation. Do Zucker and his ilk really believe that through defamation they can prevent the truth from emerging? Perhaps the MEK believe this will save their necks in Washington. Certainly Massoud Rajavi is deluded. He really believes that his cultic 'thought-terminating clichés" will work with everyone. In Zucker he has found a like-minded person, willing to place hope over experience. But surely there are people in Washington who are not so willing to be so easily duped.
So, what is it that Rajavi and his supporters are so desperate to hide?
Part of the answer to this question lies in the recent article "Do not Disturb -- Criminals at Work in Camp Liberty" by one of the people named in the report. As time passes and the UNHRC processes the individuals in Camp Liberty for refugee status and relocation, the danger of further exposure of human rights abuses inside the MEK is becoming ever more critical for the cult. More and more exhausted and disillusioned MEK members are scheduled to come to Europe. When they are freed from Rajavi's cultic constraints, what else will they reveal about the cult and its criminal activities?
While the UN is timidly tiptoeing around outside the closed door of Camp Liberty, afraid to intervene for fear of being labelled an 'agent of the Iranian regime,' only three thousand individuals are affected.
But in America the implications behind this report signal a potent threat to the national interest. Behind the self-interested motivations of the MEK and its sponsors there lies real danger for the American establishment. The problem for America is not the fact or fiction of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry's reach into western countries. Instead, it is the reach of the internal enemies of America into its corridors of power which is truly disturbing.
Let us not forget that a similar document, mingling actual fact and unsubstantiated allegations masquerading as fact, became a central piece of evidence which was used in the legal argument to remove the MEK from the proscribed terrorism lists of both the UK and the European Union. Is this not a disturbing precedent?
Now, if Zucker and his ilk can insert this MEK-written propaganda into an apparently official document for the Pentagon -- an easy target, of course, as it is swarming with willing warmongers -- will it be long before such documents reach into higher circles of power -- that is, the people with America's nuclear arsenal at their fingertips. The decision-making clique in a national crisis cannot afford to be swayed by either ideologically biased or un-researched information.
When MEK misinformation so blatantly reaches the Pentagon, is it too far-fetched to imagine it reaching The White House? Should a crisis arise, can Americans be confident that those at the top really have well researched and balanced information on which to base their decisions, or could America be heading for a catastrophic miscalculation?
The loopholes to such a possibility can and should be closed. The MEK may look like friends now, but do not think they won't turn around and bite you in the future.
Do not Disturb – Criminals at work in Camp Liberty
Massoud and Maryam Rajavi accused of sexual cruelty
... 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)
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'.
Post Delisting, What Are the Mojahedin-e Khalq Up to Now?
(aka; MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult)
... Rajavi's veteran translator Ghorban Ali Hossein Nejad escaped Camp Liberty two months ago. He is now in Baghdad and has exposed the relationship between Rajavi and the Saddam regime. He is also helping UN, EU, U.S. and Iraqi officials by exposing the lies which the MEK are telling them. He has two daughters, one in Iran and one still in Camp Liberty. Neither he nor anyone else has been able to contact his daughter in Liberty without the presence of MEK minders. (He reports that while he was inside the MEK, he had not seen his daughter anyway for twenty years due to the enforced separation of families and friends.) Instead, the MEK brought her ...
Freed from the pretended constraints of being listed as a terrorist entity in the USA, the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) has stepped up its financial and money laundering activities in Western countries. The MEK have launched a 'basij' (all-out campaign) in their financial section. Firstly, all members and supporters have been instructed to make supervised contact with their family inside or outside Iran to try to get money from them (a tactic exposed by Al Jazeera's Cult of the Chameleon documentary in 2007).
In the 'charity' street collections in Western countries (called mali-ejtemai), the theme is Camp Liberty. The public is approached and the camp in Iraq is described as a refugee camp whose inhabitants have no access to food or medicine. The public are told that around 1000 women, mostly mothers, must be urgently transferred with their children to Europe. The money donated will be used to rescue the women and children first before then rescuing the men. (Of course, since enforced celibacy was imposed in 1989 there are no children in the MEK.) Sometimes the donor is told of cases in which refugees have been killed or maimed because of the lack of law and order in Iraq. Conveniently ignoring the fact that the MEK are confined to the camp by their own leaders.
It is no secret that the MEK have been funded for years via these bogus charities as large checks and even thousands in cash have been handed over to street collectors from mystery donors. An unusually high proportion of these donors are solicitors. MEK insiders have always known that this money is coming from other benefactors.
In addition to these activities, the MEK have also tasked as many of their supporters in the West who are able to do so to open a company or create spurious associations or societies claiming to support Iranian refugees or promote Iranian culture, etc. The aim of these groups is to target charities and local councils to get money under false pretenses. Again there is an element of money laundering as this is just one more way for MEK paymasters to dive under the radar to fund the terrorist group.
A more sinister activity is the expansion of information gathering and recruitment practices among the Iranian communities. Concerned Iranians in Europe who contacted me directly report that the MEK have opened two Persian language schools in London and Paris which they say is to target the children of Iranian refugees. Through such deceptive activities the MEK gathers lists of names and addresses to demonstrate support, and also to claim that these Iranians are making financial donations. The deeper purpose is to deceptively recruit new members and also -- now that the campaign to be delisted has ended -- to keep the supporters busy with new activities. It must not be forgotten that as a cult, the MEK thrives on the unpaid 'slave' labor of its followers.
Significantly, Massoud Rajavi, the beneficiary of all the MEK's wealth, has for three decades kept his financial dealings in the hands of only a few trusted individuals. In the atmosphere of defections and disturbing questioning which currently govern internal relations in the MEK, the unexpected death of one of Rajavi's key financial personnel in the West sparks deep suspicions among experts in the MEK. This is compounded when we discover that another accidental death has taken place in Paris of one of Maryam Rajavi's inner circle. (After some high ranking defectors exposed the cult nature of the MEK, Massoud Rajavi declared that such defections would never be allowed to happen again.)
In Iraq, the situation has scarcely changed for the members except they have changed location to a UN temporary transit camp Liberty -- a move which both the Government of Iraq and UNAMI had worked for to improve their conditions. Camp Ashraf itself is finished, closed, gone, although just under 100 MEK remain there, confined to Section 209 by the Iraqi army which is now in charge of the territory. Rajavi has declared they will not move until enough money is paid -- basically the last bit of ransom he can extract from the camp.
There continue on a weekly basis to be a small number of individuals who escape Liberty, either during the UNHCR interview process or by other means, and renounce any further involvement with the MEK. Last week two men escaped, each had spent over 20 years with the MEK (one being a former POW from the Iran-Iraq war). They describe a desperate situation inside Liberty as it is being recreated in the image of Ashraf. All the cult aspects are there -- isolation, indoctrination, manipulation, fear, punishments, etc -- in addition, barriers are built to separate the bungalows (ironically, the stretchers originally demanded for medical use are being used to move earth to build dykes). 'Visas' are issued to people if they need to move between separated locations. The Iraqis are not allowed inside the camp and again have no jurisdiction there. The MEK use every opportunity to try to provoke hostility in the Iraqis by throwing stones and swearing at them, and now the UN and other neutral bodies are suffering provocation as the MEK swear at them and insult them, too.
Although the MEK's advocates and lobbyists crassly claim that Liberty is no better than a "concentration camp" -- a description which seriously riles the German born UNAMI chief Martin Kobler -- the situation is not easy for the residents, but not for the reasons they state. There is no shortage of food or water or medicine -- let us remind ourselves this is a camp created by and supervised by the UN. In a country where a 24 hour electricity and water supply are not guaranteed to normal citizens, the MEK enjoy both these facilities. What is not being said is that Massoud Rajavi has decreed that the residents must work for these 'privileges.' Inside Camp Liberty anyone who needs medicine or has other requirements must work for it, that is, they must submit and do as they are told or else they will be punished by having medicine, etc refused or withheld. Again, the MEK don't let the Iraqis approach the people inside the camp to ascertain their welfare or needs.
Since the beginning of 2012 a disturbingly disproportionate number of residents have died because Rajavi has year on year denied them proper or timely medical treatment.
Rajavi's veteran translator Ghorban Ali Hossein Nejad escaped Camp Liberty two months ago. He is now in Baghdad and has exposed the relationship between Rajavi and the Saddam regime. He is also helping UN, EU, U.S. and Iraqi officials by exposing the lies which the MEK are telling them. He has two daughters, one in Iran and one still in Camp Liberty. Neither he nor anyone else has been able to contact his daughter in Liberty without the presence of MEK minders. (He reports that while he was inside the MEK, he had not seen his daughter anyway for twenty years due to the enforced separation of families and friends.) Instead, the MEK brought her on their television channel to swear at him and her sister, claiming they are agents of the Iranian regime. Given the sensitivity of the information being passed to the officials it is possible her life is in danger. (MEK experts have observed that 'accidents' happen to dissidents in Iraq and Europe on a fairly regular basis.)
In spite of rumors that Massoud Rajavi is dead, he is very much alive and keeping tight control over his cult on a daily basis. High ranking escapees say they have seen him in the leadership compound in Camp Ashraf until very recently. According to deserters, Rajavi frequently communicates his indoctrination and messages via audio -- no visuals. But it is clear he has not been stationed in Iraq since the U.S. army handed over responsibility for the MEK in 2009. Instead, based on unconfirmed reports, I belief he moves between safe houses in Jordan associated with Saddam's family and loyal Baathists, without the express permission of the Jordanian government. From his hideout, Rajavi issues his orders. He has told the people in Iraq they should only agree to talk to members of the UN or ICRC on condition that Camp Liberty is designated as a refugee camp (it is actually a UN temporary transit camp). Rajavi has said 'if we work on it we can be accepted to move to Europe collectively, but if not we will never leave Iraq.'
Rajavi has told everyone that 'the Americans will back us to the end because they need us'. However, Rajavi also said to every member that armed struggle is an unchangeable part of the MEK ideology and every Mojahed's belief system and that this, and the logo, will never change. (In other words, don't be worried or concerned by our external propaganda, inside we will never change).
As though to prove this point, the Iraqi authorities report that the MEK are desperate to have greater connections with al Qaeda and Saddamists in Iraq and beyond. The MEK especially want new connections, since their main backer was convicted of terrorism charges and escaped Iraq. The MEK leaders are demanding greater freedom of movement to come and go and to bring people into the camp. But then the Iraqis knew all about their former connections with these groups while they were protected by the U.S., and this was why they curtailed their activities after 2009. It remains to be seen whether the delisting of this known terrorist group in the USA will have the necessary reach to reverse for its backers what appears to be the rapid and inevitable demise of the group as its members are being rescued by humanitarian agencies.
Conference Speech at Baghdad University to introduce the book
‘The Life of Camp Ashraf – Mojahedin-e Khalq Victims of Many Masters’
by Anne Singleton and Massoud Khodabandeh
... Massoud Khodabandeh, from Middle East Strategy Consultants th book ‘The Life of Camp Ashraf – Mojahedin-e Khalq Victims of Many Masters’ to the Conference. The book places the MEK in the context of its foreign ownership and concludes that these owners have invested heavily in the MEK’s ability to commit acts of violence and terrorism, and that this is the reason for western resistance to closing the camp. The book particularly highlights the MEK’s refusal to allow residents of the camp to have contact with their immediate families as a fundamental human rights abuse of every person in the camp ...
Massoud Khodabandeh, from Middle East Strategy Consultants th book ‘The Life of Camp Ashraf – Mojahedin-e Khalq Victims of Many Masters’ to the Conference. The book places the MEK in the context of its foreign ownership and concludes that these owners have invested heavily in the MEK’s ability to commit acts of violence and terrorism, and that this is the reason for western resistance to closing the camp. The book particularly highlights the MEK’s refusal to allow residents of the camp to have contact with their immediate families as a fundamental human rights abuse of every person in the camp.
The book was written primarily to give a voice to the people trapped inside Camp Ashraf and to their families who are camped outside waiting to find them and help them.
Why these families are there at all is the big question and one which is fairly easy to answer.
What is harder to answer is how to help them.
The Mojahedin as a terrorist group is not a new problem for Iraq. The MEK collaborated with Saddam Hussein to kill thousands of Iranians and Iraqi citizens.
Unfortunately, after the invasion of 2003, the Americans failed to dismantle the camp and remove this terrorist entity from the country.
So, the nation of Iraq is entitled to ask how did we end up here, nearing the end of the US military presence, but the terrorist cult they protected is still here?
And the families of people trapped inside Camp Ashraf who are still outside the locked gates of the camp, desperate to find their loved ones, they are entitled to ask, why can we not meet with our relatives in peace and freedom after all these years?
After 2003 there were some half-hearted efforts to deal with the MEK in the international political arena. For example, in Germany, Canada and Australia where action was taken by various state agencies to curtail the group’s illegal activities. In France Maryam Rajavi was arrested in 2003 along with 150 others by counter-terrorism police.
But when Maryam ordered her people to set fire to themselves the French Government gave in to the pressure and Rajavi is now free to continue promoting the European Union’s anti-Iran and anti-Iraq agenda.
The covert Western political support for the terrorist MEK, which had been in place even before the fall of Saddam Hussein became overt after the 2003 invasion. In 2004 America deliberately protected Massoud Rajavi when then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld misapplied – against all logic - the UN Fourth Geneva Convention to the group. Designed to protect foreign civilians - the MEK were foreign but were certainly not civilians – the designation gave the MEK a free hand to continue its illegal and violent activities in Iraq on behalf of Rajavi’s Western masters, this time protected by American servicemen and women. America wanted and still wants to keep the MEK in spite of the facts. These facts were clearly described in both the 2005 Human Rights Watch report and the 2009 RAND Report.
In 2009 the Americans were obliged under the terms of the Status of Forces Agreement to hand over control of Camp Ashraf and the people inside it to the democratically elected government of Iraq. It should have been possible at this stage to begin to deal properly with the group from a legal and moral point of view. Certainly, the Iraqi constitution does not allow the group to stay. Nor will Iraq allow the MEK to enjoy refugee status in the country because of the crimes committed against Iraqi citizens. The Iraqi Judiciary has confirmed it has grounds to prosecute at least 150 MEK members for such crimes.
At the same time, the Government of Iraq has been clear that as well as being a terrorist organisation the MEK operates as a pernicious mind-control cult. Because of this, all the Iraqi agencies and NGOs involved have been vehement in declaring that the human rights of Camp Ashraf residents must be protected and that Iraq will not repatriate anyone who does not wish to return home to Iran.
But even after 2009, Rajavi was still refusing to obey Iraqi and international law.
Iraq has been extremely patient and reasonable in the face of extreme provocation; what must be described as pre-planned and coordinated sucidal and violent resistance.
Today the residents of Camp Ashraf find themselves with no protection and no refugee status and are also designated as terrorists in Iraq and America.
So, if the MEK is so unwanted, why is it so difficult to get rid of them?
There are two reasons. One is the nature of the MEK itself, and the other is the role of external agencies in preventing Iraq from expelling the group.
First let us look at the MEK itself.
On both occasions when Iraqi security forces attempted to impose law on the camp, Rajavi ordered his followers to kill themselves in his defence. Some victims were shot by the MEK, some threw themselves under Iraqi vehicles. The message from Rajavi was clear – come near the camp and I will kill everyone in it.
The book ‘The Life of Camp Ashraf’ explains with detailed evidence that this is no ordinary group. It is a dangerous, destructive mind control cult. Without getting too deep into explaining what this means, basically they brainwash and exploit the members to the point they have no will of their own and will obey the leader without question, even if this means killing themselves to order.
Rajavi has trapped the members inside the camp – physically and mentally.
The gates to the camp are locked from inside. The perimeter fence is reinforced from inside.
Residents are made to believe they will be killed by Iraqi soldiers if they try to escape or if they survive they will be sent to Iran to be tortured and executed.
Iraq’s government understands what it is dealing with. Iraq’s problem is that other external parties do not see the group in the same way.
The international community (US and EU) have clearly sided with the cult leader for their own political gains.
The biggest favour Iraq could do for America and Europe now is to become involved in the mass deaths of the MEK. That way the West would be rid of the problem and could still point the finger at Iraq and say ‘what savages, how inhuman you people are’.
But Iraq will not fall for that trick.
Clearly, it is the unwarranted western political support for the MEK leaders which prevents the rescue of the camp’s residents.
In a meeting of the Iraq Delegation on November 22, what did the European Parliament chose to talk about in relation to Iraq? While Iraq has all kinds of issues, trade links, reconstruction, security, health, social and religious issues which could be discussed, the only item on the agenda was the MEK and how to protect them.
The MEK killed 25,000 Iraqis. What is there to talk about?
Two major questions remain – how to get in and who should go in?
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has agreed to go into the camp to interview residents individually for refugee status.
So far they have not succeeded.
Unfortunately, if external agencies don’t understand the cult nature of the MEK they will fall into the trap of manipulative lies and deception.
Certainly, the biggest deception must be exposed.
Rajavi does not represent the hostages. He is the hostage taker – therefore neither he nor his minions are able to negotiate on behalf of the 3500 people trapped inside. Until it is possible to go into the camp and speak individually to the residents without MEK oversight it is not possible to say what should happen to them. At this moment, nobody knows how many of the residents remain loyal to Rajavi. From the testimonies of recent escapees – from all levels of the organisation – we can estimate that only five or ten percent of the residents in the camp are loyal to Rajavi. This means that everyone else is being kept there against their will. For this reason Iraq’s Human Rights Ministry has been insistent that it is necessary to get inside the camp to protect the residents against the abuses of those leaders.
Once this simple fact has been recognised it will become clear that the key to opening the gate of Camp Ashraf is to involve the families of the people inside.
Why? Because this is Rajavi’s greatest fear. How do we know this? Rajavi has deliberately separated the MEK from all relationships with mother, father, sister, brother, husband or wife or child.
Rajavi knows that once a member re-discovers the love and affection of their family and friends, they will abandon him forever.
A wonderful example of this is Mahmoud Rostami who escaped the camp two months ago.
Rostami was a Prisoner of War in Iraq and was deceived into joining the MEK.
He had not seen his family for twenty two years.
Rostami’s mother visited Camp Ashraf three times.
Hearing his mother’s voice over the loudspeakers finally brought Rostami back to reality.
When Rostami also heard the other family members crying out to their loved ones his humanity was re-awakened.
After months of planning Rostami escaped and met with his mother and father after two decades of forced separation.
There can be no legitimate or moral objections to opening the gate of Camp Ashraf to allow people to go inside; whether family members or humanitarian agencies. This has nothing to do with the Iraqi timetable to evacuate Camp Ashraf. It is a purely humanitarian gesture. The only barrier is the leader Massoud Rajavi and his second-in-command Maryam Rajavi who refuse to do the right thing.
Of course, there must be a proper framework if those inside are to be accorded effective help.
United Nations interviews should be supplemented by visits from cult experts and family members or representatives of the families of residents.
Each person interviewed must be given information about their rights and their possible future steps.
The families have no political agenda, they come in a spirit of love and concern to rescue their loved ones. They are there to help the residents.
Families are the key to opening the locked gates of Camp Ashraf and opening the locked hearts of the imprisoned residents. The families are the solution, not the problem.
... Mr Adnan Al-Shahmani, head of the Parliamentary Committee to oversee the expulsion of the MEK announced in the Conference that the deadline would not be extended and that the camp will be closed by the end of the year. He also explained that the Iraqi Judiciary had issued its final verdict that the camp should be closed... Mr Al- Shahmani also criticized the West for its silence toward the crimes committed by the group against civilians, and asked international communities not to remain silent in the case of the abuse of the rights of the families of the victims of the MEK ...
A Conference in Baghdad University on Friday 25 November was organised by Al-Edalat Al-Iraqi Society, headed by Dr Nafe Al-Isa, which represents the families of 25,000 Iraqi victims of the MEK.
The Conference was held in Al-Hakim Conference Centre in Baghdad University and hundreds of tribal leaders, University lecturers, Governmental representatives and officials, NGOs and media representatives filled the salon. Although Camp Ashraf and the MEK is an issue specific to the government and citizens of Iraq, the Conference organisers made sure to invite Western agencies, such as the UN, EU and diplomats who have claimed or expressed an interest in Camp Ashraf. Unfortunately, however, any such invitees were apparently unable to leave the Green Zone to attend the Conference and talk to the delegates.
Opening the Conference, Dr Nafe, speaking on behalf of the families of victims of MEK violence, asked that those MEK leaders who were responsible for this violence be brought to justice before their deportation.
Speakers from the government and NGOs all emphasized that the deadline for deportation must be strictly adhered to and that Iraqi and international law against terrorism and crime must be upheld. Other speakers, in particular the tribal leaders spoke about the MEK’s crimes which they have witnessed in recent years in Diyala province. They were highly critical of the failure of the American military to dismantle the camp after 2003, and were scathing of the continued American backing which allowed the camp to be used for training and inciting terrorism against Iraqis.
On this theme, Jasem Al- Ebadi, Member of Parliament and member of the parliamentary Human Rights Commission used his speech to criticise EU efforts to keep the terrorist group intact and their opposition to the deportation process. He commented that if they are so in love with this terrorist group, why don't they take them to their own countries?
(Mr. Al- Shahmani, MP)
Mr Adnan Al-Shahmani, head of the Parliamentary Committee to oversee the expulsion of the MEK announced in the Conference that the deadline would not be extended and that the camp will be closed by the end of the year. He also explained that the Iraqi Judiciary had issued its final verdict that the camp should be closed and the land handed back to the original owners.
Mr Al- Shahmani also criticized the West for its silence toward the crimes committed by the group against civilians, and asked international communities not to remain silent in the case of the abuse of the rights of the families of the victims of the MEK.
(Mr. Al- Shahmani, meeting families)
Mr Al-Shahmani also met with the representatives of the families of hostages inside Camp Ashraf and the delegation from European countries who are campaigning to ensure a peaceful outcome to the standoff at the camp.
Massoud Khodabandeh, from Middle East Strategy Consultants which is working with the Iraqi government to resolve the situation at Camp Ashraf, introduced his book ‘The Life of Camp Ashraf – Mojahedin-e Khalq Victims of Many Masters’ to the Conference. The book places the MEK in the context of its foreign ownership and concludes that these owners have invested heavily in the MEK’s ability to commit acts of violence and terrorism, and that this is the reason for western resistance to closing the camp. The book particularly highlights the MEK’s refusal to allow residents of the camp to have contact with their immediate families as a fundamental human rights abuse of every person in the camp.
Ms Abdollahi represented the families and asked for help to release the hostages (including her own son) from the camp. Ms Abdollahi reminded the Conference that the families’ struggle to find their relatives had been going on since 2003 and that a permanent picket had been established two years ago. She stressed that when searching for a solution the families of course have the security and safety of all the residents as their utmost priority. The families have the simplest and easily granted request – to visit their loved ones who are in the camp. This does not depend on the removal of the MEK from Iraq and would be simple to do. The only barrier to this request is the order of the MEK leaders Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. They can easily resolve this issue by ordering that the families of MEK members be allowed to have free and unfettered contact with their loved ones.
Ms Sanjabi is an ex-member of the MEK’s women only Leadership Council. She managed to escape from Camp Ashraf very recently, and explained the dire situation of the women inside the camp, detailing disturbing and shocking human rights abuses which are currently being carried out against the residents by the MEK leaders.
Ms Mahdian, whose husband is a hostage inside the camp, explained how Saddam’s Intelligence services gave her husband to the MEK as a slave, even though he had been and is still a registered POW, captured at the start of the Iran-Iraq war. Ms Mahdian explained that her son has not seen his father for the past 25 years and the MEK would not allow this visit even after two years of picketing.
Mr Sadeghi from Germany, who is one of the few members who managed to run away from the camp successfully during the time of Saddam Hussein, presented and explained evidence of recent MEK interference in the internal affairs of Iraq, their collaboration with Saddamists and other terrorist groups, and the MEK’s active role in intensifying the insurgency.
Mr Ghashghavi also from Germany, served eight years without trial in Saddam’s prisons including Abu Ghraib for refusing to carry out Massoud Rajavi’s orders to commit criminal acts. Mr Ghashghavi explained how Rajavi and Saddam would force people to either kill others or be sent to the torture chambers themselves and be killed.
(Mr. Ezati and Ms. Sanjabi)
Another ex-MEK member, Mr Ezati who now lives in the Netherlands, gave interviews to the media explaining the situation inside the camp and the constant abuse of human rights of the victims. Mr Ezati strongly criticized the unfortunate media silence over these human rights abuses which he ascribed to the pervasive influence of the MEK’s powerful backers who regard the MEK as “good terrorists”.
Tens of ex-MEK members who work with Nejat Association in Iran, also attended the Conference and were interviewed by the media. They explained that Nejat Association, which works closely with the families of the hostages, now has the capacity to help those survivors who wish to do so, to go back to their country under the amnesty which was granted by the Iranian authorities in 2003 (which is based on the understanding that the MEK members have been subjected to the coercion and control of cult leaders) and which to date has been upheld under the supervision of the ICRC.
Conference attendees were particularly interested in the testimony of three recently escaped camp residents who gave full and detailed explanations to the media about the harsh reality of being a captive inside Camp Ashraf. They spoke about the total information blackout and social and emotional isolation they experienced there. They emphasized that the leaders and the hostage takers lie constantly to the residents so that the captives have no idea about the outside world. They are made to believe that the MEK leaders are directly supported by the Americans and that if they tried to escape the camp they would be immediately shot, or now, after being tortured by the Iraqis they would be handed over to Iran to be executed without trial. They said that if they were given the true facts and information, there is not one person in the camp who would still want to stay in the desert of Iraq nearly nine years after disarmament. They urged international organizations, especially the US representatives and UNAMI, who are the only organizations with close relations with the hostage takers, to take advantage of their weekly meetings inside Camp Ashraf with the hostage takers, to persuade them to open up the flow of information and convince them to give people the right to family visits as well as normal means of communication such as writing and telephones, etc.
These recently escaped hostages also urged UNAMI not to present the hostage takers as the representatives of the hostages in the media outputs. Instead they should be clear that Rajavi is no one’s representative and as long as the negotiators have not met with the hostages without the presence of the MEK commanders - the hostage takers - outside the camp, they have no right to claim anything on their behalf. They said they believe that UNAMI and the American backers of the cult are in breach of international law for siding with the terrorists as these are people who have abused the human rights of over 3000 people for decades. The survivors of Camp Ashraf are now taking legal advice to claim compensation for their suffering and losses from the MEK leaders.
Diyala Governor: Human Rights, Deporting MEK, Imposing the Laws, non negotiable
... Massoud Khodabandeh heading the delegation thanked the Government of Iraq and asked the Governor of Diyala and the General to help inform the people trapped inside about their rights and to counter the lies given to them by the hostage takers and cult leaders. Ms Abdollahi on behalf of the families asked for help and for care to be taken when dismantling the camp to institute particular safeguards to protect the relatives of the picketing families. Ms Sanjabi, (formerly a member of the MEK Leadership Council), who managed to escape some months ago, explained ...
A meeting was held on Monday 21 November between officials of the Diyala province and family representatives of the people trapped in Camp Ashraf.
The Governor of Diyala, Dr Abdul–Nasser Al-Mahdwe stated clearly that:
1- There will be no compromise on the decision to deport the MEK.
2 - There will be no compromise on imposing national and international laws
3 - There will be no compromise on respect for human rights laws and agreements and therefore they will not be forcefully returned to Iran.
He said that the overall decisions will rest with central government but as far as Diyala is concerned there is no room for the MKO anywhere inside the province. This has been announced repeatedly by practically all the leaders of tribes and local officials. Dr Al-Mahdwe dismissed completely the MEK propaganda in which they claim they have some support and said that to claim, after what they have done, that the MEK have even a small percentage of support in the province is simply a lie and is purely fictitious.
General Abdol Amir Al-Zeidi, is the commander of the regional army and responsible for the protection of the camp. He said that he has met many escapees from the camp. The last one was a woman who had to drag herself out and crawl for about half a kilometer before reaching the Iraqis. He said the leaders are the problem not the trapped people and if given order we are prepared to transfer them out of the camp with the utmost dignity and care and respect for their wellbeing. He said this can be checked by reporters and human rights organisation who wish to observe the operation.
The General said that in the event they receive the order to evacuate the camp, they will try their utmost to stop the leaders killing the hostages and the disaffected members as they did before. According to the General most of the people who were killed in April 2011 were in opposition to the leadership and had been shot in the heart or in the head. But the leaders tried to cover up such facts even though the evidence is unequivocal. He said reports will be handed over to the authorities to deal with the cases of murder of these people at the hands of the hostage takers.
Massoud Khodabandeh heading the delegation thanked the Government of Iraq and asked the Governor of Diyala and the General to help inform the people trapped inside about their rights and to counter the lies given to them by the hostage takers and cult leaders.
Ms Abdollahi on behalf of the families asked for help and for care to be taken when dismantling the camp to institute particular safeguards to protect the relatives of the picketing families.
Ms Sanjabi, (formerly a member of the MEK Leadership Council), who managed to escape some months ago, explained the latest developments inside the camp and gave some ideas about how the leaders may try to plan and execute violent resistance.
Mr and Mrs Mohammady from Canada who have been trying since before 2003 to rescue their daughter from the camp, presented some documents including copies of the arrest warrants for some leading members of the MKO inside the camp which the General received and promised to follow up.
Other delegation members including Mr. Azizi a Human rights activist from Netherlands Mr Sadeghi, one of the few people who managed to escaped from the camp during the time of Saddam Hussein, Mr Ghashghavi who spent years in Abu Ghraib, where he was sent by Rajavi, Mr. Ferydouni who managed to escape a few weeks ago and Ms Mahdian whose husband, a registered POW, is trapped inside the camp also participated in the meeting.
Press and media were present and the Governor and the General gave a media briefing following the meeting which was broadcast live through official and national media.
UN must tread carefully in dealing with Camp Ashraf
... The Government of Iraq is very clear that it is dealing with the phenomenon of a dangerous, destructive mind control cult. Unfortunately, Western agencies do not appear to have got to grips with this fundamental aspect of the group and as such continue to fall under the spell of the MEK leaders and their unearthly and insatiable demands. It would be unfortunate in the extreme if the UNHCR did not understand during all its negotiations with the group’s front personnel that Massoud Rajavi does not represent anyone but himself and his own interests. Cult experts warn that the MEK are not seriously offering to allow the UNHCR ...
As the Mojahedin-e Khalq (aka; MEK, MKO) is painfully slowly being nudged toward compliance with both international and Iraqi law over its activities inside Camp Ashraf in Iraq, cult experts warn that external agencies must be wary of falling foul of cultic manipulation techniques as the group struggles to maintain its hold over the 3400 Iranians trapped inside.
Efforts over the summer by US Ambassador Lawrence Butler to convince the MEK leader Massoud Rajavi that he would have to act on the Government of Iraq’s deadline to leave Iraq by the end of 2011, yielded little progress. MEK front personnel still refused to allow any residents to be interviewed by UNHCR staff without MEK minders being present. Then by the end of September Vincent Cochetel, a Washington representative for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said that an agreement had been reached through the MKO’s legal counsel in London for individual screening for refugee status with the UNHCR offering an alternative location near Ashraf for those who have been processed.
Maryam Rajavi immediately qualified this news from her HQ in France with the Farsi language diktat: “… we will not allow the line of the mercenaries Maliki and Barezani and the strategy of their masters, the Iranian regime, to prevail under the pretext of interviewing people one by one and …” and she continued “… all the Mojahedin members should only be taken for interviews using helicopters …” – which meant that in order to interview the people trapped in the camp she expected the US to fly over seven thousand helicopter sorties.
Such statements are plainly silly and we should not imagine that either Massoud or Maryam Rajavi expect anyone to take them seriously. They are meant first and foremost for internal consumption and as a time wasting exercise. Such a stance is reminiscent of the time when the MEK’s London lawyers announced in English that the group had given up armed struggle in order to be removed from the UK and EU terrorism lists. At the same time Rajavi told her followers in Farsi that as soon as the MEK was de-listed the Americans would re-arm them and they could continue with their violent activities.
The latest salvo from the MEK’s armoury of lies and deception was introduced in the form of an MEK claim that over seventy Iraqi MPs have called for the UNHCR to open an office inside Camp Ashraf and take over control of the camp from the Iraqi government. This comes at the same time that Alsumeria News has reported that a British parliamentary group headed by Baroness Nicholson is discussing with a visiting Iraqi parliamentary delegation headed by Mr. Alnajifi to find way to actually get access to the inside of the camp.
On the surface the MEK offer to allow the UNHCR into the camp might look like cooperation and progress. But in the light of the MEK’s past behaviour the agencies involved in the issue of Camp Ashraf would be wise to view this latest stance with deep suspicion. In the book ‘The Life of Camp Ashraf – Mojahedin-e Khalq Victims of Many Masters’ published by Iran-Interlink in September, we warn that “the MEK loyalists will continue to resist and try to provoke violence to prevent any interference in the internal affairs of the camp… The MEK has an armoury of defensive tactics with which to prevent such interference. The obvious one is to meet all attempts to enter the camp with violent, suicidal resistance. But the MEK system is also supremely manipulative as the American army discovered in 2003. Certainly both MEK cult experts and recently escaped residents will be needed to identify loyal cult leaders and activists. These experts will also be able to identify and challenge the MEK’s manipulative techniques which would otherwise be effective in deceiving less experienced agencies – no matter how well meaning.”
The Government of Iraq is very clear that it is dealing with the phenomenon of a dangerous, destructive mind control cult. Unfortunately, Western agencies do not appear to have got to grips with this fundamental aspect of the group and as such continue to fall under the spell of the MEK leaders and their unearthly and insatiable demands. It would be unfortunate in the extreme if the UNHCR did not understand during all its negotiations with the group’s front personnel that Massoud Rajavi does not represent anyone but himself and his own interests.
Cult experts warn that the MEK are not seriously offering to allow the UNHCR to open an office inside Camp Ashraf in order to conduct individual screening and processing with a view to removing the residents. The most the MEK could hope for is that the UN will, for any reason, raise its flag over the camp beside or in place of the Iraqi flag which is currently there.
Raising the UNHCR flag over the camp over which the Iraqis themselves have no jurisdiction would of course be extremely provocative, a challenge to the rule of law and cause conflict between external agencies and the Iraqi security forces. Exactly the kind of scenario which the MEK would love to create so the MEK leader continues with impunity to occupy the camp and hold hostages there.
The MEK effort is to create conflict and prevent change to the status quo. If anyone is in any doubt of this they must be made aware that at the same time this so-called offer is on the table, Rajavi’s special forces have manufactured a specialised missile launcher with which they fire stones at the families on the periphery of the camp >>> Persian Translation
Warning and an appeal to the international community
... Massoud and Maryam Rajavi have ordered all the leaders of the MEK to arrange meetings for everybody and give the order to them that “We will go along with the American army to the point that there is no physical interaction but when it comes to the Iraqi government we will become physical and we will make them pay the highest price.”Considering what the Rajavis have said, although we believe that the imposition of Iraqi sovereignty over this illegally occupied territory at this time is an indisputable right of the government of Iraq, we urge the government ...
We are approaching the end of year 2011; the deadline announced by the Iraqi government to evacuate Camp Ashraf. Over the past few months the USG’s diplomatic representative in Iraq Mr. Lawrence Butler has met seven times with the leaders of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organisation in the garrison to talk about the future of the group. His efforts have failed due to the stubborn resistance and rejection on the part of the Mojahedin-e Khalq. Some European countries have also have attempted to start a dialogue with the leaders of the group to convince them to allow the people inside to be sent individually to other countries under the supervision of the United Nations. But their efforts have also faced absolute intransigence on the part of the leaders of the group.
In addition, we have witnessed UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appealing to the international community to help the Iraqi government in this case. But no meaningful action has been offered.
The Government of the United States of America also in a clear and transparent way has warned the leaders in the camp that if they do not respond positively to the suggestions put forward, then the USG will no longer be able to act as a negotiator and that the consequences of such action would be entirely attributable to the leaders of the Mojahedin-e Khalq
The people inside the camp are described as “non status” and they are not accepted as refugees or even asylum seekers. The Iraqi government is adamant it will carry out the decision to close the camp - which is one of the last remains of the Saddam regime - and on the other hand the leaders of the Mojahedin inside the camp insist on keeping the status quo without any logical, legitimate, legal or other reasons.
And in this situation, as advocates of human rights and as ex-members of this organisation, we are deeply concerned about how this camp will be dismantled and especially about the misuse of the people inside the camp by the leaders of the group.
According to witnesses inside camp Ashraf it is said that Massoud and Maryam Rajavi have ordered all the leaders of the MEK to arrange meetings for everybody and give the order to them that “We will go along with the American army to the point that there is no physical interaction but when it comes to the Iraqi government we will become physical and we will make them pay the highest price.”
Considering what the Rajavis have said, although we believe that the imposition of Iraqi sovereignty over this illegally occupied territory at this time is an indisputable right of the government of Iraq, we urge the government and the committee in charge of dismantlement of the camp to try, as they have done over the last past 8 years, to only use non-violent solutions to solve this problem.
Although we know that the existence of this camp in this country of Iraq has no logical or legal basis but we are concerned that the heads of the MEK cult will use the 3400+ people stranded there as human shields to pursue their illogical and illegal demands.
We are deeply concerned that, according to much evidence and many documents, not least the report by the RAND Institute, about 70% of the people inside the camp are kept there against their will, and if we add to this their loss of hope due to the grim and uncertain future they face, the lack of access to media and information and the resulting ignorance this brings, and the existence of never ending barriers and security provisions across the camp, if we add all these then the reasons behind the existence of such an isolated island can become clear.
We are deeply concerned that in a situation where the dismantlement of the camp has begun, the leader of the group would force the low level members and the ordinary people trapped inside to fight the security and law enforcement agencies of Iraq.
On top of our concern over the human rights as an indisputable right for every individual inside the camp we remind you that many of the signatories of this letter have a family member, father, mother, spouse, sibling or friend inside the camp as a hostage. Therefore the primary aim of the MEK in keeping the members trapped inside is nothing except using them as a tool and human shield to save the neck of the leader Massoud Rajavi who remains in Iraq.
We warn that considering that the leaders of the group have already rejected the intervention of the Americans and insist on the relocation of the whole organisation as a group to another country, while it is clear that according to international law, asylum can only be given to individuals, the leaders are placing this kind of suggestion on the table only to further reject any non-violent solution and therefore exploit the members and endanger their lives.
We must warn the international community and humanitarian organisations across the globe, time is running out. And we are witnessing that the US proposal is the only feasible and realistic solution during the remaining time. Therefore while we condemn the leaders of the group for their lack of cooperation with the American and Iraqi officials, we warn that the responsibility for any resistance to the decision of the Iraqi government and endangering the lives of the people is primarily on the shoulders of Massoud Rajavi and Maryam Rajavi and the other high ranking leaders of the group.
We also believe that dialogue can be the solution to dismantle camp Ashraf and there should be no need for violence. We ask the leaders of the group to stop their ridiculous behaviour and obduracy and return to the dialogue and negotiation table
The government of Iraq has repeatedly announced that, respecting international humanitarian laws, these people will not be deported to countries where they may face problems and it has shown its commitment to this day. Accommodating and facilitating the voluntary exit from the camp of nearly 100 individuals who have given themselves up to the Iraqi forces from 2009 to the present is clear evidence of this commitment.
Therefore we ask the international community and humanitarian organisations and all the people who are worried about the future of these people to use whatever communication and/or other tools at their disposal to convince the leaders of the group that after the fall of Saddam Hussein Iraq is no longer a place for them to stay and it is their responsibility to seek assistance from international bodies such as the ICRC and UNHCR to get themselves out of there.
We the signatories of this letter would like to bring this issue to the attention of the following:
- The office of the Prime Minister of Iraq (Committee in charge of dismantlement of Camp Ashraf, Baghdad) - Lady Catherine Ashton and relevant MEPs in European Parliament - US State Department - Human Rights Watch, New York - Amnesty International, London - United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Ms Navi Pilay, Geneva
Open Letter to Catherine Ashton on behalf of the families of Rajavi’s hostages in Camp Ashraf
... Families wish first and foremost to remind you that they are part of the solution, not the problem. You have demonstrated your particular interest in this issue by appointing Mr Jean De Ruyt, a former Belgian ambassador to the EU, as your advisor on Camp Ashraf. He will no doubt be investigating and examining whatever approaches are available to resolve the situation. By situation I refer to the standoff between the constitutional and legal demand of the elected government of the sovereign nation of Iraq, and the illegal and irrational demands of a cult leader as the hostage taker who represents nobody but his own interests and who is prepared to kill others to this end ...
It is interesting and entirely predictable that at the same time you replied to Iran that the six major powers - the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia - are willing to meet within weeks if Iran is prepared to "engage seriously in meaningful discussions" over concerns about its nuclear programme, we have seen a flurry of activity by the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) to skew perceptions of the issue with misinformation and self-aggrandising propaganda.
Paid MEK activists held yet another demonstration in front of the White House on Saturday with the irrelevant demand that the US government remove the MEK from its terrorism list. In Brussels Maryam Rajavi, wife of the MEK’s leader, was given a platform to promote terrorism in the European Parliament. Conflating the totally irrelevant issue of Camp Ashraf in Iraq with the problems posed by Iran’s nuclear programme and the MEK’s terrorist listing in the US, she was given a platform to verbally attack and insult Iraqis and their elected government from a parliamentary building.
The MEK is certainly highly proficient in advertising itself as a tool for anti-Iran elements to use and it is unfortunate that Europe’s corridors of power are being so casually exploited to promote Washington’s favourite terrorists. The intended signal is that Europe will brandish a stick to open negotiations with Iran over the nuclear issue. Does the European Commission represent European interests in this respect or do you represent the agenda of only the extreme right wings of USA and Israeli politics?
But as much as we believe this is against your interests, these are political issues and we do not wish to take any position in this respect. Our first and foremost concern is that you do not allow the issue of Camp Ashraf and its sick and aging population to be used as a political football for everyone to kick around for their own game.
It has been reported that Mrs Rajavi conveyed her thanks to you for taking the side of the MEK against the government of Iraq. If this is true it is highly unfortunate that your office has been manipulated to look as though you are taking a position of backing the head of a terrorist cult instead of the victims.
Mrs Rajavi like her fugitive husband Massoud Rajavi does not represent the individuals trapped inside Camp Ashraf. The Rajavis do not represent anybody’s interests but their own.
The Government of Iraq has frequently advised representatives of the European Union not to use the MEK to push their agendas in Iraq, to the point of issuing written and verbal complaints against interference in the internal affairs of their country, including their elections, and have warned against using elements of terrorism to push their agendas. However, these political issues must be addressed in another arena by other parties. We are specifically interested that you have now taken responsibility for dealing with Camp Ashraf.
As you are aware, around 3400 Iranian individuals remain trapped in a dangerous, destructive mind control cult, the Mojahedin-e Khalq, by its leader Massoud Rajavi inside Camp Ashraf in Diayla province of Iraq.
Since the MEK was confined to and protected in the camp by the US military in 2003, Rajavi has resisted all efforts to allow any external agencies to free these individuals in a peaceful and humane manner. Rajavi is holding the residents as hostages to guarantee his safe future, to avoid prosecution for war crimes and crimes against humanity brought against him by the government of Iraq and the international community.
You are also aware that since February 2009, many of the families of these hostages have taken turns to stay just outside the camp in an effort to find and meet their loved ones and to prevent the MEK from further harming them. Now, as a new contingent of families from Gilan province in Iran have arrived at the camp, we are writing to you on behalf of the families of the captives of the MEK and its Western backers in Washington, London and Brussels. (Such ordinary Iranians find themselves voiceless in Western political and media circles due to the virulently anti-Iranian attitude which prevails in these circles.) They wish first and foremost to remind you that they are part of the solution, not the problem.
You have demonstrated your particular interest in this issue by appointing Mr Jean De Ruyt, a former Belgian ambassador to the EU, as your advisor on Camp Ashraf. He will no doubt be investigating and examining whatever approaches are available to resolve the situation. By situation I refer to the standoff between the constitutional and legal demand of the elected government of the sovereign nation of Iraq, and the illegal and irrational demands of a cult leader as the hostage taker who represents nobody but his own interests and who is prepared to kill others to this end.
The government of Iraq demands that the MEK leave Iraq before the end of the year, certainly before American troops are withdrawn. For this reason, there is an urgent need to find an effective solution. On two occasions, August 2009 and April 2011, when Iraqi security forces have attempted to enter the camp to impose the rule of law on the camp, Massoud Rajavi ordered his special forces, his fedayeen, to force the brainwashed residents to confront these efforts with a suicidal resistance which led to the deaths and injuries of many rank and file members as well as injuries to Iraqi security forces. Iraq is working hard to avoid a similar confrontation in future and is expecting cooperation from the international community in this respect. Soon after the second of these incidents I visited the camp and interviewed the responsible authorities and gathered enough evidence which is available for any party who would like to know. Since 2008 three reports have described the situation of the camp and two books have been written on the subject.
Mr Jean De Ruyt, who will liaise with EU states and organizations including the United Nations, says that a peaceful and realistic solution and the security and safety of residents are his priority. For this reason the families are very optimistic now that you have taken over responsibility from the Americans. With the appointment of this advisor the families now believe your office has a mandate to help Iraq, the UN and ICRC to resolve the situation as soon as possible.
The families are asking that you coordinate with the Iraqi authorities to help them to protect their relatives when the leaders are finally forced to open the gate of the camp and allow external agencies in. This is the first step before the UNHCR can take the residents out of the garrison and interview them individually without MEK minders present. It is at this time of maximum confrontation that they fear Massoud Rajavi will order the deaths of the residents.
Once the gates of the camp are finally opened safely, the residents will of course be able to access the facts and information which have been denied them for decades about their true situation and the possibilities for their future. Whatever their choices, their families are on hand to offer them protection and support. Of course, not all the families can be in Iraq at the same time, but all are willing to travel there to help their loved ones when their individual circumstances demand.
The MEK is designated as a terrorist organisation by Iraq based on its activities in their country against their citizens – the MEK has killed 25,000 Iraqi civilians over two decades. In contrast, the EU does not regard the MEK as a terrorist entity. This should make it possible for residents of Camp Ashraf – in addition to those who already have citizen or residency rights – to be brought to Europe as refugees under the auspices of the UNHCR. (Due to the peculiarities of American law, delisting the MEK in the USA would play no part whatsoever in helping the people in Camp Ashraf.)
Considering that the US military has deliberately helped the MEK to keep the gates closed and the residents trapped inside, the opportunity now exists for you to act as a go-between for the US and MEK and thus ensure that the camp is opened up at the earliest opportunity so that work can start to relocate the hostages. Certainly the government of Iraq is happy to help facilitate this outcome on the understanding that if this process is not begun by the end of the year, the international community has obliged them to take unilateral decisions regarding the camp and its residents.
Above all else, the families outside have travelled from far and wide to rescue their loved ones and are more than happy to ensure a swift and peaceful outcome. There can be no possible objection or obstacles to helping them.
Anne Singleton (Author of Saddam’s Private Army, 2003 and co-author of The Life of Camp Ashraf, 2011) Iran-Interlink MESC Ltd U.K.