Survivors' Report - February 2006

Edition 21

Table of Contents:

Mojahedeen Khalq Accepts Defeat – Rejects Armed Struggle
Iran Press Service, January 25, 2006

Editorial, February 2006

Tell Congress that the Mujahedin does not represent Iranian Americans! - The National Iranian American Council, January 2006

News in Brief

When Making a Revolution, Allies Matter
By Kenneth R. Timmerman, FrontPageMagazine.com, January 19, 2006

Setting the Record Straight on Iraqi Terrorism
 By Larry C. Johnson, January 27, 2003

A question about Massoud Rajavi exposes MKO's sensitivities, Apadana TV, January 17, 2006

Four returned from Iraq, Nejat News, January 18, 2006

Personal Experiences
The life of Mohtaram Babai - related by her husband Karim Haghi

Open Secrets - Did you know... that Mojahedin has never agreed to accurately publish the names and details of its dead and missing members?

 

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Mojahedeen Khalq Accepts Defeat –
Rejects Armed Struggle

Iranian Mojahedin reportedly accepts defeat of its thirty year armed struggle.

 

Source close to NCR says officials in Europe told: "The Mojahedin Khalq Organisation rejects armed struggle and commits itself only to non-violent means of struggle and therefore asks the relevant authorities to remove it from the lists of terrorist organisations." 

LONDON, 25 Jan. (IPS) "The Mojahedeen Khalq Organisation (MKO) rejects armed struggle and commits itself only to non-violent means of struggle (against Iran), the Baghdad-based Organisation has reportedly decided, after more than two decades of futile armed struggle aimed at toppling the Islamic Republic.

“The Mojahedeen Khalq Organisation rejects armed struggle and commits itself only to non-violent means of struggle and therefore asks the relevant authorities to remove it from the lists of terrorist organisations", the Organisation has stated, according to “Survivors’ Report”, a London-based publication dedicated to help and to support “the victims of MKO”.


Because of its close collaboration with Saddam,
the MKO was “hated” as much by the ayatollahs
as all other Iranian opposition forces outside the
country, regarding the group as “traitor”.

Created in the sixties to fight the former Monarchy regime, the MKO, a Stalinist-Islamist group, sided with Grand Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini in the Islamic Revolution, but was soon declared outlaw by the leader of the revolution after it decided to overthrow the newly created Islamic Republic.

As a result, Mr. Khomeini ordered the execution of thousands of MKO members who had been arrested and jailed.

Mr. Mas’oud Rajavi, the leader of the Organisation, first fled to France from where he joined hands with Saddam Hussein after the Iraqi dictator attacked Iran, his Organisation becoming part of the Iraqi’s elite forces, launching operations inside Iran, assassinating a number of Iranian officials.

The group also assisted Saddam Hussein in his sanguine repression of the Iraqi Kurds and the Shi’ites. However, the MKO, which claims some 5.000 to 10.000 members, went under American protection after it attacked Iraq and toppled Saddam.

Because of this close collaboration with Iran’s sworn enemy, the MKO was “hated” as much by the ruling ayatollahs as all other Iranian opposition forces outside the country, regarding the group as “traitors”.

For a while, the Defence Department tried to use the MKO the same way the deposed Iraqi leader was using them and tried to take it off the terrorist organisations, but it was opposed by the State Department.

Since then, while many of the MKO members had defected, some of them returned to Iran under the auspices of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, but the bulk of them are hauled in the huge Ashraf camp near Baghdad, waiting for the decision of the Iraqi authorities.

Quoting “source close to the National Council of Resistance of Iran”, (the political wing of the MKO, led Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the Paris-based wife of Mr. Mas’oud, the leader of the MKO, Survivors' Report said the decision is aimed at allowing the Organisation, which is on the black list of the Americans and the Europeans, to come out of the list of Terrorist organisations.

"According to their own statements, they hired squadrons of lawyers and advisors and were very hopeful that the result would be in their favour, but they failed”, the source has told the Survivors’ Report on condition of anonymity, adding that "A court session is scheduled in early February 2006 in Luxemburg to hear this case”.

"The Mojahedeen have spent the past few years gathering petitions and letters of support from whoever they could get their hands on, but their lawyers and advisors have told them clearly that for their organisation to be removed from the lists of terrorist organisations, they will have to clearly and unequivocally denounce terrorism as a means to achieve their political aims, and that they have to announce that they clearly and totally reject armed struggle (freedom fighting) and do not believe in it any more, and from now on, their struggle against the Iranian regime will be only in the form of political, social and cultural activities.

Mojahedeen Khalq Accepts Defeat – Rejects Armed Struggle
The rejection of armed struggle is the
biggest ideological setback for
the leaders of the organisation.
 

"The Mojahedeen have now accepted this advice and have declared to the relevant officials that it rejects armed struggle and commits itself only to non-violent means of struggle”, commented the Survivors’ Report in an e-mail sent to Iran Press Service.

“This recent announcement by the MKO is in total contradiction to what has been portrayed to the members and supporters who have been led to believe that armed struggle is the only form of struggle possible, and that it is rooted in the history of the Mojahedeen as its most fundamental value”, the Survivor’s Report observed, adding, The Mojahedeen have always talked about armed struggle as the honour and legacy of the movement, and that it represents the basic red line between the Mojahedeen and the outside world”.

If true, this new rejection of armed struggle (which has been the core belief in the organisation for the last 25 years) can be seen as the biggest ideological setback for the leaders of the organisation since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. This reflects the last desperate attempts by the leaders to delay the total disintegration of the organisation by accepting big losses in their remaining loyal forces.

Find this page online at:
http://www.iran-press-service.com/ips/articles-2006/january-2006/mko_25106.shtml

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Editorial
February 2006

Last month Survivors' Report said it was hoping to be able to publish news of changes brought about by the members themselves and awaited the signs that the members could wrest control of their organisation from its dictatorial leaders Massoud and Maryam Rajavi.

On the surface of it, the statement by the MEK to the court of First Instance that it has renounced violence appears to be the start of a new phase in the MEK's history.

But on closer inspection, it seems this is only a tactic, not a change in strategy. Finding itself on the brink of an abyss, the MEK leaders have tried to strike a bargain behind closed doors by stating the MEK has given up violence so as to comply with conditions which will allow for its removal from the European Union's list of terrorist entities.

In legal cases in the US and UK, the MEK had claimed to be democratic, respect human rights and not kill civilians. Now that evidence to the contrary has flooded the public domain, the MEK is forced to try a new approach. After all, the organisation is listed as terrorist because it uses violence to achieve its political aims. (Of course it has been necessary for the MEK to use violence because its aim is – as the NIAC points out - to replace the unpopular,
undemocratic government in Tehran with the unpopular, undemocratic opposition led by the Rajavis.)

If the MEK really wishes to negate the evidence which led to its inclusion in the terrorist lists of every major western country, it must as a minimum: publicly and unequivocally renounce violence as a means to achieve political aims – including publicly agreeing to the dismantlement of Camp Ashraf in Iraq; free its members from conditions of slavery; allow for the removal and replacement of all its leadership cadre through secret ballot. (In other words, run the organization as a normal political group). It would also help the MEK's cause with Iranians if it provides answers and public apologies for the issues arising from MEK behavior over the past twenty five years. Our Open Secrets item indicates the scope of this problem.

I have included in this month's edition an interesting piece written in January 2003. Larry C. Johnson's article reminds us that sponsorship of international terrorism was one of the reasons for Saddam Hussein's ouster from Iraq. He identifies the MEK as "the most active and the most deadly" of the terrorist groups in Iraq. Naturally, there is now increasing pressure from Iraqis for the group to be expelled from their country. We hope to bring you an update of this process on this in next month's edition.

Meanwhile, thanks to the NIAC for taking the lead among Iranians outside Iran in placing the MEK. It is important that western legislators understand that the MEK is not democratic and does not represent Iranians anywhere. It only serves the interests of the Rajavis. If you haven't got it yet, we repeat: the MEK is a cult.

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TELL CONGRESS THAT THE MUJAHEDIN DOES NOT REPRESENT IRANIAN AMERICANS!

The National Iranian American Council
January 2006

"Iranian Americans refuse to choose between the undemocratic government in Tehran and the undemocratic opposition"
 

The MKO leader, Rajavi, with Saddam HusseinThe Mujahedin-e Khalq organization (MKO/MEK) is beefing up its campaign to get off the State Department’s terrorist list and receive US funding by presenting itself as representative of the Iranian-American community.

The MKO has since the early 1990s been on the State Department’s terrorist list. In 1997, their political wing, the National Council of Resistance of Iran was also added to the terrorist list, making it difficult for the organization to lobby in Washington in theory.

In practice, however, the Mujahedin has maintained a very strong lobbying arm in Washington DC, and continued to pursue their political objectives while arguing that they represent the Iranian-American community. On January 20th, the Los Angeles Times wrote that “Iranian Americans generally… oppose a nine-year State Department crackdown on an organization [the MKO] that it classifies as terrorist but that the Iranian community considers a resistance group.”

The Mujahedin has increased its political activities in Washington in the hope that a showdown between the US and Iran would lead Washington to de-list them from the terrorist list and support them as a legitimate and popular opposition group.

For instance, HR 282, introduced by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), a long time supporter of the Mujahedin on Capitol Hill, states that the White House must “designate at least one democratic opposition organization as eligible to receive assistance” from the US government within 90 days of the bills passing.

Analyst point out the similarities between the Iran Democracy Act (HR 282) and the Iraq Democracy Act (from 1998), which resulted in Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress receiving millions of dollars from the US government.

The Mujahedin is seeking to present themselves as representatives of the Iranian-American community in order to get off the terrorist list and receive financial support from the US government.

NIAC has prepared a letters to your House Representatives as well as to the Los Angeles Times, pointing out that the MKO does not represent the Iranian-American community, and that Iranian Americans refuse to choose between the undemocratic government in Tehran and the undemocratic opposition. It is extremely important that Iranian Americans participate in this debate, and that they lend their expertise and unique perspectives on this matter.

Please edit the letter and make it more personal. A personal perspective has a far greater impact than a letter with only abstract arguments. Do also strengthen or soften the arguments to make it better reflect your personal perspective.

Please note that due to the existing terrorist classification of the MKO, NIAC will not prepare a letter endorsing or favoring their position

http://capwiz.com/niacouncil/issues/alert/?alertid=8401731&type=ML

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News in Brief

MEK/MKO ex-member speaks up on group's 'mafia-like activities'
Reported by: http://www.iranian.ws/iran_news/publish/article_12132.shtml
January 9, 2006

The MEK/MKO/IranFocus.com/NCR-Iran.org terrorist group is involved in Mafia-like activities, among them financial fraud and human trafficking, said a former English member of the grouplet.
Talking to the daily Frankfurter Rundschau on Monday, Anne Singleton implicated the MKO grouplet in 'human trafficking and corruption'.
Singleton, who left the grouplet after being a MKO member for almost 20 years, also charged the terrorist organization with 'embezzling charitable financial contributions'.
According to her, the MEK/MKO/IranFocus.com/NCR-Iran.org terrorist group has also been taking part in instances of 'rape and bodily violence'.
Singleton pointed to the MKO's systematic brainwashing tactics of newly recruited members, including 'sleep deprivation, shielding them from the public and dieting'.

MEK/MKO/IranFocus.com/NCR-Iran.org terrorist group also known as "Cult of Rajavi" are the most 'hated' group among ordinary Iranians right next to mullahs in Iran.
Many Iranians believe the road to regime change pass through dismantling MEK/MKO/IranFocus.com/NCR-Iran.org terrorist group disgusting cult.

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'Rewards and Endless Gifts' for Killing Kurds http://members.lycos.nl/nebilkassab/in_articles.html

In part of his memoir on the Iraqi uprising in 1991 and the Mojahedin-e Khalq's crimes at that time, "Nabil Ghassab", Iraqi Turkmen journalist and photographer, wrote at his website:
"In 1991, Saddam's reign was close to an end. But he ordered his army, air force and republican guards to massacre the people. In addition, he used Mojahedin-e Khalq militants to help Iraqi forces in Baqubah in exchange for getting rewards and endless gifts.
"I want to elaborate on this issue and say that people's uprising in 1991 in southern and central Iraq was crushed by Mojahedin forces and the defeated army of Saddam Hussein. No Kurds, Turkmen or Assyrian took part in that (suppression of people). The issue was the same in the north.
"Can you remember hundreds of thousands of Kurds who escaped to neighboring countries, fearing suppression and a repetition of the Halabja massacre? Can you remember how their houses, shops and workshops were plundered and innocent people in Irbil, Dihok, Suleimanieh and Kirkuk were killed?"

 

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Iran again goes to the brink
World Peace Herald
By Claude Salhani, UPI International Editor
January 10, 2006

…The Iran Policy Committee claims the MeK is among the better equipped of the Iranian opposition groups both in terms of organization and intelligence. The MeK, which is frequently described as somewhat of a mixture of a cult encompassing Marxism and Islam is led by Mariam Rajavi, who is based near Paris.
A French diplomat who spoke to United Press International on condition of anonymity said Paris did not approve of the group's activities and eyed Mrs. Rajavi with suspicion. "This is why we had to put her in the hole (jail) for a while, let her know we are watching her," said the diplomat…

 

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MKO Admits Holding Suppression Meetings
[Information taken from the MKO's own website]
January 12, 2006

In an article, "Glorious Peak of Honor" by Bakhshali Alizadeh, on the Mojahedin's 'Iran Efshagar' website, the MEK commanders of Camp Ashraf openly admit holding suppression meetings in the group and introduce this as a normal occurrence.
The article says:
"Some of these traitors have claimed that they had been tried in a meeting with 1000 members… traitors like Javad Firoozmand, Jamal Amiri, Ardeshir Parhizkari, Edward …
"To clarify the issue for our dear readers, it is necessary to mention that I was myself one of thousands who took part in such meetings. These self-criticism meetings on large and small scales have always been held in the MKO, and we call them "Streaming Operations", in which we review and criticize our own mistakes. Of course, there are similar meetings in other places and it is not unusual in struggle movements. Today, even large governmental and financial organizations hold such meetings to review the quality of their work and improve it.
"These agents, mentioned above, have committed big crimes such as infiltration, conduction betrayal acts in favour of the enemy and …This is what they always hide. They don’t say about the crimes they have committed."

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Extradition of Massoud Rajavi
IRNA, January 12, 2006

Government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham, who briefed the media on Monday, was asked about the situation of the MKO in Iraq.
In response to a question whether the government has any plans to extradite the leader of the terrorist Mujahideen Khalq Organization (MKO), Massoud Rajavi, said to be kept at an Iraq-based US garrison, he said, "Once US troops withdraw from Iraq, we shall settle the issue with Iraq's government. We have no ties with the US, which is an occupant force in Iraq. After the establishment of the Iraqi government, we will take necessary steps."

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MKO Organizes Terrorist Acts Against Iraqis
Mehr News (Iran), January 25, 2006

A former member of the MKO revealed the "terrorist organization of Mojahedin-e khalq organizes Baathists and agents of former Estekhbarat to conduct terrorist operations against new Iraqi government"
The former MKO member disclosed that no other group interferes this much in the internal affairs of the new government in Iraq.
According to the correspondent of Mehr News in Mashhad, this former member, speaking at a meeting of Iraqi lawyers and tribal leaders, added:
"After the fall of Saddam Hussein, the MKO started to organize members of the Baath Party under the name of Iraqi tribesmen and parties".
Referring to the Mojahedin's main purpose (namely, creating divisions among people), he said: "This organization has already established more than 20 parties and groups inside Iraq, with the purpose of organizing the members of former Estekhbarat and Baath Party in order to conduct terrorist operations."
"Regarding the establishment of an Iraqi government which has good relations with Iran, the continuation of activities of this group in Iraq seems unnecessary because a democracy-seeking country does not need the presence of groups that resort to armed struggle."
He concluded: "The MKO achieved all its terrorist goals with the aid of Saddam Hussein and the former Iraqi intelligence system; for the time being, the MKO's presence in Camp Ashraf is a major factor behind chaos in Iraq.

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Govt Votes on Bulgaria's Non-Combat Mission in Iraq
www.thebulgariannews.com, 26 January 2006

Bulgaria's government is expected to approve Thursday the country's further involvement in Iraq with a non-combat unit to guard the Ashraf refugee camp.
The unit to guard the Ashraf camp, 60 kilometers north of Baghdad, will consist of 154 soldiers, to be joined in their work by the troops of other countries.
The Bulgarian non-combat mission at the Iraqi refugee camp may continue for about a year, according to Defense Minister Vesselin Bliznakov…

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Amidst mass pullout, last batch of Bulgarian troops leaves Iraq    
Kuwait Times, January 27, 2006
By Velina Nacheva

KUWAIT: Having completed their part in Operation Iraqi Freedom, the troops of the Bulgarian battalion stopped in Kuwait en route home. I met their commanding officers who re-confirmed Bulgaria's strong commitment to return to Iraq in the very near future. Then we sat down and I asked them about their eight-month mission in Iraq as part of the US-led coalition forces. "The mission in Qadisiya is accomplished. However, this does not mean that the Bulgarian army has ended its participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of the multi-national forces," said Chief of Staff Svetlin Shopov, who is in charge of all Bulgarian contingents deployed abroad -- in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo and in other Nato peace-keeping missions.
Following the news about the pullout of a dozen allies within the US-led forces, Capt Shopov explained that at the beginning of the year, a new Bulgarian contingent will be deployed 70 km from Baghdad in Al-Ashraf refugee camp. Their mission will be to guard a non-combatant United Nations humanitarian mission which he described as "a much more turbulent area, with a higher degree of risk than Qadisiya."

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MKO Betrays Iraqi People
Mo'taz Mohammed Jamal Al-Iraqi/Soutaliraq website, January 2006
(Sout al-Iraq is published in London)

…3. We all know that before the fall of Baghdad, the terrorist group of Mujahidin-e Khalq fought against Iraqis and killed innocent people in Abu Ghraib region only because the people passed over the MKO's land to reach their farms. After the fall of Saddam, all Iraqi farmers work on their lands without any problems, but this terrorist group is under the protection of American occupiers, giving intelligence on the resistance forces of Diali province to the US army. In this regard, they take advantage of some simple-minded tribesmen, athletes and students; the Mojahedin has established the so-called "Association of Iran's Friends" which is only an American plot to collect information on resistance forces in Diali, Mosul and Kirkuk. The MKO has also established contacts with the Iraqi Lawyers Syndicate and some supporters of Ayad Allawi's party…

 

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When Making a Revolution, Allies Matter

By Kenneth R. Timmerman, FrontPageMagazine.com, January 19, 2006

IPC chairman Ray Tanter, a former Reagan administration NSC official, regularly appears at pro-MEK press conferences and has likened a proposed U.S. alliance with the MEK against the mullahs in Tehran to FDR's alliance with Stalin to defeat Hitler.

An Iranian opposition group that figures prominently on the State Department's list of international terrorist organizations will openly flaunt U.S. law today, when supporters demonstrate in Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, just across the street from the White House.

Organizers of the January 19 demonstration openly refer to the People's Mujahedin Organization of Iran, banned from operating in the United States, as the "largest and most popular resistance group inside Iran."

The former Shah called them "Marxist-Islamists," because they had been trained by the Soviet Union in guerilla warfare and supported Khomeini.

The FBI has been tracking the activities of the Mujahedin, known in Persian as the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), since the mid-1970s, when MEK members assassinated U.S. military officers then working in Iran. MEK members actively took part in the 1979 seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, according to a U.S. government report.

Despite this track record, the FBI has refused to ban demonstrations by supporters of the banned group, who have formed a variety of organizations ostensibly headed by U.S. citizens.

An FBI spokesman in Washington, DC told FrontPage magazine on the eve of the White House protest that the demonstrators were "exercising their 1st Amendment Rights. Whether they have been acknowledged by the United States Government as a terrorist group is a separate matter. Any gathering of people to protest is Constitutionally-protected and we acknowledge that and will do nothing to quash it."

Why does any of this matter? Because the MEK has convinced many Members of Congress that they are the "democratic alternative" to the clerical regime in Tehran and deserve U.S. government support.

MEK supporters roam the halls of Congress asking unsuspecting twenty-something aides if their Member will sign a "Dear Colleague" letter calling for freedom and democracy in Iran. They have conducted similar influence operations in Britain, France, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Canada, and elsewhere.

Iranian-Americans openly refer to MEK leader Massoud Rajavi as the "Pol Pot" of Iran, because they believe he would conduct wholesale massacres of his political opponents should the current regime implode and the MEK seize power through organized street violence. In the group's "16 points" for a future "democratic" Iran, they promise political freedom to all; except their political enemies.

Rajavi has insisted that MEK members divorce their spouses, and live in communist-style collective houses. In 1983, he divorced his own wife - the daughter of former president Abolhassan Banisadr, with whom he had a political falling out - and married the wife of a political rival.

In 1986,the Rajavis and the top MEK leadership left France for Iraq, where Saddam Hussein extended a warm welcome to the group and gave them weapons and financial assistance.

Following the 1991 Gulf war, Saddam used MEK military forces as shock troops to attack dissident Iraqi Kurds in northern Iraq, an experience that Iraq's democratically-elected president, former Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani, has never forgotten.

According to the definitive 1993 Department of State report that led to the banning of the organization's activities in the United States, the MEK not only killed Americans, but provided hit teams during the 1979 revolution against the Shah that allegedly assassinated thousands of senior Iranian military officers.

Members of Congress worried by the Islamic Republic of Iran's terrorist record and its nuclear weapons programs in August 1993 (yes, 1993) petitioned then Secretary of State Warren Christopher to open an official U.S. dialogue with the main MEK front organization, the National Council of Resistance.

Christopher's September 20, 1993 reply was devastating.

"Concerning contacts with Iranian opposition groups, there are numerous such groups in the United States and abroad that do not espouse violence and whose political aims range from supporting a return of the monarchy to establishing a constitutional democracy. Many focus their efforts on Iranian human rights abuses, and work closely with the UN. Human Rights Committee and private human rights groups. We do meet with representatives of such groups at their request, and believe these contacts are useful as an informational exchange.

"However, the National Council of Resistance is closely linked to the People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI), also known as the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). Both groups are led by Masud Rajavi. The Administration maintains a policy of no contacts with the PMOI and, by extension, the NCR. This decision is based on our opposition to the PMOI's use of terrorism."

Operating under a number of fronts following the Christopher letter, Mujahedin supporters bundled more than $204,000 in campaign contributions to U.S. Representatives Robert Torricelli (D, NJ) Gary Ackerman (D, NY) and others in Congress, in a failed effort to lift the State Department designation of the group as an international terrorist organization.

Over the past year, a new pro-MEK group known as the "Iran Policy Committee" has sought endorsements from well-known former policy makers, including respected FoxNews commentators Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely and Lt. Gen. Tom McInerny.

IPC chairman Ray Tanter, a former Reagan administration NSC official, regularly appears at pro-MEK press conferences and has likened a proposed U.S. alliance with the MEK against the mullahs in Tehran to FDR's alliance with Stalin to defeat Hitler.

Allying with terrorists is not just wrong for strategic reasons. It is just plain wrong. The Rajavi cult has a known track record. They have murdered Americans. They have murdered their fellow Iranians. And their dedication to democratic principles is as thin as the ether of the Internet, created for public consumption.

Promoting the Mujahedin in Iran is no different from supporting former Baathists in Iraq in the vain hope they will do the heavy lifting the U.S. policy and intelligence community is unwilling or unable to do.

Pro-democracy groups are struggling to be heard and to organize inside Iran, and they deserve urgent and massive U.S. support. President Bush has repeatedly pledged his support for their cause, but until now the State Department has blocked funds appropriated by Congress from reaching groups inside Iran.

As we skate ever-closer to a nuclear showdown with Iran, we must not in our impatience make the mistake of helping a violent group to overthrow a dedicated and dangerous enemy, in the vain hope they will shed their violent ways once they have achieved victory.

When making a revolution, it is critical to choose one's allies well. The future depends on it.

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Setting the Record Straight on Iraqi Terrorism

By Larry C. Johnson
27 January 2003

[The following was written in January 2003 and was shared with Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, who told me it didn't matter what Saddam did or didn't do, we were going to war.]

The course of action the United States pursues against Iraq in the coming months holds profound implications for the war on terrorism. As the Bush Administration marshals U.S. military forces in the Persian Gulf region and prepares to invade Iraq, it has devoted little attention to Iraq’s role in the war on terrorism other than to make unsubstantiated claims that Saddam Hussein has backed Al Qaeda. With the end of the first Gulf War and the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 687, Iraq was obligated to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction and end all support for terrorism. Inexplicably the international community focused its attention on finding and destroying Iraq’s chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons but ignored Baghdad’s continuing support for terrorism.

An invasion of Iraq will topple Hussein and eliminate Baghdad’s ability to develop or use weapons of mass destruction for the foreseeable future, but it will do little to destroy the infrastructure of radical Islamic terrorism responsible for the 9-11 attacks. In fact there is a serious risk that a U.S. led war against Iraq may crystallize the diffused anger in the Arab and Muslim world—a heretofore unattained goal of bin Laden and his followers—and persuade more Muslim youths to take up the terrorist banner against America and her citizens.

Clarifying Iraq's terrorist record:

There is no doubt that Iraq is a state sponsor of terrorism—i.e., a country that provides financial support, safe haven, training, or weapons and explosives to groups or individuals that carry out terrorist attacks. From 1991 thru 2001 there were 4143 international terrorist attacks throughout the world. Saddam Hussein and his regime were implicated in at least 73 of these incidents, which accounted for fewer that two hundred fatalities. According to Central Intelligence Agency data, there is no credible evidence implicating Iraq in any mass casualty terrorist attacks since 1991. As reported in Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000, Saddam Hussein’s regime “has not attempted an anti-Western terrorist attack since its failed plot to assassinate former President Bush in 1993. However, Iraq continued to aggressively target and attack anti-regime opponents and UN personnel working in Iraq.”

During the Gulf War (1990-1991) Iraq made a concerted but futile effort to launch terrorist attacks against the U.S. led coalition…

Within months of signing off Security Council Resolution 687 Iraq launched attacks against Kurds, relief workers, and regime opponents operating in Northern Iraq. Starting with the 1992 PATTERNS OF GLOBAL TERRORISM and continuing thru 2001, the U.S. Government annually admitted that Iraq was violating the terrorism provisions of 687. But no punitive actions were taken or proposed. With the United States unwilling to hold the Hussein regime accountable for violating the prohibitions pertaining to international terrorism, there should be little surprise that the Iraqis as well as other Middle Eastern governments assumed that Iraq had tacit approval to punish anti-regime dissidents and help anti-Iranian terrorists.

Iraq has directed most of its support for terrorism to groups that have attacked Iran and Israel. The United States Government accuses Iraq of providing sanctuary and/or assistance to six groups:
• Arab Liberation Front
• Palestine Liberation Front (PLF & Abu Abbas)
• Abu Nidal (ANO)
• 15 May (Abu Ibrahim)
• The Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK)
• Mujahedin-e-Khalq

Not surprisingly, Iran, the longstanding enemy of Baghdad, remains a primary target of Iraqi-backed terrorism. The Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) aka The National Liberation Army of Iran has received significant support from Saddam Hussein since it was expelled from Iran in 1979. Of all the terrorist groups with sanctuary in Iraq, the MEK has been among the most active and the most deadly. According to the U.S. State Department, the MEK killed 70 high-ranking Iranian officials in a series of bombings in 1981. In April 1992 the MEK attacked Iranian Embassies in 13 different countries. Iraq provided direct support to MEK operatives in 1999 who assassinated several high-ranking Iranian Government officials, including Brigadier General Ali Sayyad Shirazi, Deputy Chief of Iran’s Joint Staff, who was killed in Tehran on 10 April.

Conclusion

If war is averted and weapons inspectors remain in Iraq the United Nations must still deal with the issue of Iraqi support for terrorism. Unlike the seemingly impossible task of searching for weapons of mass destruction, reining in Iraqi support for terrorism is feasible. Compliance with UN Resolution 687 should include the following steps:
• The arrest of terrorists Abu Abbas and Abu Ibrahim.
• The closure of all offices and support companies linked to the PLF, ALF, ANO, PKK, MEK, PFLP-GC, and 15 May.
• The expulsion from Iraq of all members of these terrorist groups.
• Confiscation of all financial resources connected with these groups (and other terrorist groups).
• Inspection of suspected terrorist training camps.

If we go to war we must prudently prepare for expanded terrorist activity, at least in the short term, from Islamic extremists and their sympathizers. While we can hope that a US invasion will unleash a pent up Jeffersonian democracy inside Iraq, odds are that the United States and its UN allies will be forced to occupy Iraq for the foreseeable future. No occupying force, no matter how benign or charitable, will avoid facing opposition at some point from the local population. Add to this mix a belligerent outsider, like Iran, and the potential for terrorist attacks against the “occupying” force increases dramatically.

Anger alone is not enough to create a force willing to pursue a terrorist campaign. Support from other countries is critical. Eliminating terrorist training camps in Iran and Lebanon must remain at the top of the agenda or else the infrastructure for attacking US forces in Iraq will remain intact. Remnants of Al Qaeda, as well as Hezbollah and Hamas, activists may find themselves receiving encouragement and materiel support from Islamic extremists in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to carry out attacks against “infidel” occupiers in Iraq.

International terrorism requires safehaven, money, and training if it is to be effective. Destroying Saddam’s ability to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction is a separate task from destroying the infrastructure that supports and sustains international terrorism. Doing both is not impossible but it requires we fully understand the task before us.

http://noquarter.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/01/setting_the_rec.html

Larry C. Johnson is CEO and co-founder of BERG Associates, LLC, an international business-consulting firm that helps corporations and governments manage threats posed by terrorism and money laundering.

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A question about Massoud Rajavi exposes MKO's sensitivities

Apadana TV, January 17, 2006

Apadana TV in Los Angeles hosted by Mr. Sattar Deldar, held a phone-in discussion about the terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq organization and both its public and internal stances.

The program became a forum for Iranians to express their hatred for the terrorist MKO. When someone called Parham (from the MKO) tried to advertise for the group's rally in the US scheduled for Thursday that week, many viewers called the program expressing their hatred for what they called 'this treacherous, traitorous, terrorist group'.

Most of the callers pointed to the MKO's "cooperation with Saddam Hussein as Iraq's fifth column" and "its role in betraying the country, particularly on the issue of nuclear programs, its support for foreign intervention and its efforts to pave the way for a war against Iran".

Amazingly, when facing an onslaught of revelations and criticisms by Iranian-Americans, Parham tried to hide his typical MKO-nature of insults and scorn, by making seemingly democratic gestures in his replies, until a question about Massoud Rajavi was posed by one caller.

Immediately after this question, Perham reverted to his terrorist-MKO characteristics, accusing the caller of being an agent of Iran's regime; which he believes is looking for Rajavi.

Then, another MKO roughneck came on the line to attack the caller and accuse him of being a spy.

Interestingly, the caller who had posed the question phoned the program again to say that he didn't care about Rajavi's whereabouts at all. "The Mojahedin claims to lead the opposition, so they should bring their leader to the scene to guide others. They can do that by videoconference and other technology which prevents disclosure of his location," he pointed out.

After that, Parham began to praise Rajavi - as is always done in the MKO - and said that without Rajavi, the cult (MKO) would not exist…

Sattar Deldar, hosting the program, stressing he does not have any contacts with the Iranian regime, asked if it was possible to make contact with Rajavi by phone. In response, Parham referred him to the MKO's websites and TV programs!

Rajavi's loyalists showed that the situation of Rajavi is serious and that it represents a dangerous red line for them. In regard to the fact that Rajavi has been arrested by US Special Forces in Iraq, the MKO's officials still refuse to give any information about him, or make a statement.

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Four returned from Iraq

Nejat News, January 18, 2006

A report by Nejat Association on January 14, said: "Four members of the Rajavi cult  (MKO) who had been under severe pressure in the organization, escaped recently from Camp Ashraf and are back home in Iran".
The Nejat Association correspondent was reporting from Mehrabad airport where the four had just arrived: "After they escaped the MKO camp, they spent some time in the US-run camp in Iraq (TIPF) before being transferred to Iran by the International Committee of the Red Cross".
"They all confirmed that desperation governs Rajavi's cult and that all its members are seeking opportunities to escape the group. They suggested that more people, who want to return home, will leave the organization in the near future," the correspondent added.
All of them said that the question which all MKO members have is: "why did the MKO leaders escape to Europe or go into hiding?"
As regards the fact that Massoud Rajavi is under arrest, they say they want him to be put on trial in an international court for his crimes against humanity.

Marriage

January 23, 2006

Although living conditions in the defectors' camp in Iraq (TIPF) don't meet basic social standards, hope for life is strongly alive among its residents. They're under control, but freedom and independence are the best gifts they have achieved.
Recently, Jamal Amiri and Marzieh Ghorbani married in this very camp with a brief ceremony.
Also, Azadeh Hajian and Mohsen Naghashan married and started a new life with each other.
They are to be congratulated on their new lives, which began with their freedom from the cult and which will continue with their hope and faith in life and independence.

Another former member welcomed home

January 25, 2006

With a ceremony held in Samen Al-A'emeh complex in Abadan on Wednesday, a former member of the Rajavi cult was returned to his family.
Jaber Majdmian, expressing his happiness, said conditions in the MKO are inhumane.
"I joined the MKO in Iraq in 1987, but from the beginning I realized the terrorist and inhuman nature of the group."
"I tried repeatedly to return to my family, but the MKO didn't allow me to do so. After the fall of Saddam Hussein and due to the hatred of Iraqis for the MKO, there appeared a chance for us to return and I have been enabled by the assistance of the Red Cross and Nejat Association in Khuzestan Province to return home to my family. I believe I was born again. I will now try to be useful for my society."
Majdmian said that he had been treated well by Iranian security officials; he hopes he can compensate for his past.
In the ceremony, Hamid Hassani, head of Nejat Association in Khuzestan province, said: "300 former members of the terrorist MKO have already returned to their families. The ouster of the former Iraqi regime and the detention of Saddam Hussein weakened the MKO so that it lost the support of foreign countries and its members realized their own group's terrorist nature."
He said the purposes of Nejat Association include: "helping the deceived members of MKO, revealing the truth and nature of hypocrisy in the MKO and exposing the ugly face of the group in domestic and international scenes to the members".
"Former members can encourage their friends in Iraq, still with the MKO, to leave the terrorist group; they can do this by radio messages, internet and phone."
We guarantee that MKO members won't be harmed if they return to their country. They will be protected by Iranian officials.
He asked MKO members' families to make contact with their loved ones and encourage them to return.
"ID cards and Military Service Cards (that indicate they have finished military service) would be issued for former members who return to the country. The association is ready to help them if they face any problems," he added.

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Personal Experiences

The life of Mohtaram Babai - related by her husband Karim Haghi

Mohtaram was born in 1968 into a working family. From childhood she had been immersed in the political atmosphere of her family. In 1977 an older brother was arrested by SAVAK and imprisoned. With the start of the 1979 revolution all her family began working full time for the Mojahedin. Her father's house in Andimeshk was the regional HQ of the MKO. In 1980, those in opposition to the MKO planted a sound bomb in her father's shop.

The start of the Mojahedin's armed struggle on 30 June 1981 brought with it a harsh new reality for the family. In September 1981, her brother Davood Babai, a student in Ahwaz University, was executed after torture. The next year her older sister Eftekhar Babai was arrested but exploded her grenade, killing five Pasdars along with herself. Eftekhar's husband was killed in the afternoon of the same day in a gun battle with the Pasdaran in Ahwaz.

The same day Mohtaram, who was 14 years old was arrested with her other sister and imprisoned for four years. After her release Mohtaram contacted the organisation again and after a few months was transferred to Iraq full of hope and ambition to free her people.

She was certainly no less than a lion in those days; honest, human, caring and compassionate, but a fighter in confronting the enemy…

Then, during Rajavi's plan to impose his hegemony over the whole Mojahedin organisation, characterised by the second phase of the Ideological Revolution, Mohtaram refused to accept to divorce. But her worst bad luck in that atmosphere was that she became pregnant. There could have been no greater sin at that time and the guilty party had to be punished accordingly.

Mohtaram was treated cruelly and savagely during her whole pregnancy. Even ten days before she was due to give birth they still forced her to attend the brainwashing sessions of the Ideological Revolution.

When the birth was near, they exiled us to the furthest part of the camp away from everyone. They did not allow her any medical attention and she gave birth without any help. She was told they had denied her every facility so that she would "give birth like a dog".

Seven days after the birth of our daughter they took me away from them with the excuse that they wanted to talk to me private and would return me soon. They never did.

Mohtaram would later recall that they told her: "we have sent him somewhere you will never see him again. Forget about him. He has been condemned to execution and there is no use talking about him…" She remembered that each morning she would wake up to the sound of gunfire from the nearby training ground and would think that her husband had been executed.

She survived her enemy's prisons but she broke in her so-called friends' prisons. She broke from inside but no-one heard the breaking noise.

After thirty four days they give us permission to meet. Mohtaram and my daughter were brought to the Bangalestan Prison to visit me. From there they took us together to H prison. The weather was cold and they stood us outside so long that Mohtaram who had kidney problems from the time of her imprisonment by the Iranian regime started having severe pain and for the next ten days could not move for pain. But there was no news of any doctor or medicine. After she got better, I wrote a letter to Rajavi, the ideological leader of the organisation, saying that in protest to the conditions of the prison and the uncertainty of our future, I was starting a hunger strike. This took twenty one days.

They told Mohtaram: "we don't care and don't even acknowledge his so-called hunger strike. Tell us when he is dead so we can come and collect the body." As I became weak and unstable, they found the situation a good opportunity to put more pressure on Mohtaram. She was by herself now.

Once, in the middle of the night, the prison head arrived and said the Leader had summoned me. I told him 'I have nothing to do with him'. But they said this was not in my hands. When I entered the room, among others surrounding Rajavi I noticed Abrishamchi as well as Jaberzadeh. Rajavi talked until morning. He showed me a paper from the Fedayeen organisation and said: "see what they have written. They claim we have prisons here and you are imprisoned". I answered: "am I not?" Suddenly all the others started attacking me. The leader had apparently forgotten that only a few hours before he had said he would issue the order to release me from prison.

In this eight hour meeting, Rajavi drew a straight line and said: "one side of this line is us and the other side is Khomeini. There is nothing in between. Whoever distances himself from us will be with Khomeini". I said: "do you mean whoever is not with us is against us?" He said: "this is the logic of revolution… the Fedayeen's paper is following Khomeini's line. You have to take a stance. If not then you are also on the side of Khomeini. And you know our stance in front of Khomeini." He continued: "the guys are impatient and if I don't stop them they could do anything. They are asking for the blood of whoever has betrayed us. Up to now I have been able to stop three things happening to you. One is that I have not let them execute you. Second is that I have not let them put you in the same cells as we keep the Pasdaran. The third is that I have not let them separate the family from each other. But if you don't take a stance then I will have to get out of their way and the guys will decide for themselves." This was another way of saying 'if you don't co-operate, the execution will be carried out'.

As a result they managed to extract a letter from us both which was later published in their books and propaganda outlets. It is clear from the letter itself that every sentence that we had to write has been dictated by the "Leader".  After some time, they transferred us to Baghdad, to a building called Jalalzadeh.

Mohtaram was broken from inside and severely mentally ill. After all these years and all her activities she had suddenly discovered, as she used to say: "all the time I thought I was serving my people against the Islamic Republic. Now I have found out that I have been helping the birth of a new Khomeini. This new creature has started eating people from his own surrounding."

Once released from prison, it was only the body of Mohtaram which came out. She left her spirit inside the prison. She couldn't take it any more. The mental and psychological storms started.

During our staying in Baghdad, Abrishamchi came once and we talked about Mahtaram and her desperate situation. I asked him to let her free with our child and keep me. He answered: "in her condition it is impossible to let her go." I replied that I would not sit and watch her suffering any more. After a few days he asked for me and said that if we write that we want to work in the army for another six months then perhaps he could do something. The letter was to show that we wanted to stay, but it was the Mojahedin which rejected us. They also got some more letters from us in a bid to make sure that if we talk against them they could publish these letters. These letters included a declaration that all that time we had been living in private apartments, had a personal car and were getting a thousand Iraqi Dinars (about $23) every month on top of our food etc…

In February 1992 1371 they let us leave Iraq. We thought this would be the end of our suffering, but we were mistaken. The leader pursued us even outside Iraq. The poison was now working on our souls outside Iraq. Mohtaram started talking gibberish. She could not sleep and used to shake uncontrollably because of nightmares about the Mojahedin. Many psychologists visited her and gave medicine but even they would say sadly that there is no medicine for the wound inflicted by a friend.

If we had only had a little money Mohtaram would have gone back to her family in Iran where she could find comfort. But we had only enough to live on with our baby daughter.

After a while Mohtaram became pregnant again. The horrific memories of her last birth so overwhelmed her that she killed herself in our home, leaving me to bring up our first child alone. My dear wife committed suicide on 31 March 1995. She was my best friend who shared with me all my joys and pains, but who sadly could not struggle on with her own.

Mohtaram's was not an isolated case. There were many others who lost their lives in this way. There have been many who had started by giving everything they had for good, but who found themselves in the hands of evil.

Mohtaram's wish in the end was to prevent any more people falling into this trap.

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Open Secrets

Did you know… that Mojahedin has never agreed to accurately publish the names and details of its dead and missing members?

After the transfer of the organisation to Iraq and the foundation of the National Liberation Army under the control, financial and military support of the intelligence services of Saddam Hussein, Rajavi was given the task of attacking Iranian border cities and villages according to the circumstances dictated by the Iraqis who were, of course, at war with Iran.

Rajavi and his army were also employed in intelligence gathering, military eavesdropping and even participating in debriefing Iranian prisoners of war. As if this was not enough, he also received orders to carry out assassinations and bombing inside Iranian cities which resulted in the deaths and injury of many innocent civilian men, women and children. Rajavi also used his small but highly equipped army of Mojahedin fighters to crush the Shiite and Kurdish Iraqis during their uprising against Saddam in 1991.

These missions of course could not be performed without casualties. It is estimated that during one single operation, the Eternal Light operation of 1988 (in Persian 'Forough Javidan' or 'Mersad'), the Mojahedin lost approximately 3000 people, most of whom were civilians recruited specifically for this operation and given one or two days' preparation for war. Many of them were Iranian students from western countries. The casualties included old men and women and even some children.

In addition, of course, there are the numerous casualties from terrorist operations inside Iran. Also, there are dozens of dead and missing during the 1991 massacre of the Iraqi Kurdish population.

As if these were not enough, there are many who have simply vanished in the Mojahedin's camps. After a while, some of these were announced as having being killed by the Iranians in terrorist operations. Some were announced as having perished in accidents and a very high number were announced as having committed suicide. Even so, the majority of these missing people have not even been acknowledged and their fate remains unknown.

There are examples of such disappeared persons whose fate has come to light only recently, such as Ghorban Torabi and Parviz Ahmadi. Witnesses who managed to escape from Mojahedin prisons after the fall of Saddam Hussein, testified that these men had been killed under torture by the Mojahedin.

 

Mrs Robab Shahrokhi, who currently resides in Sweden, was told by the MKO that her son – whom she knew to have disagreed with his commanders - had committed suicide. She later found out he had been buried using an Arab name not his own, but she was never told the exact location of his grave. Another case is that of a man who travelled from the UK to the training camps in Iraq and who died there during military training. Later, his wife - a devoted follower of the Mojahedin – found it expedient to claim that he had been killed by the Iranian regime under torture.

The most interesting example of denying the deaths of members came in April 2003 when around 50 members were killed during bombing by allied forces just before the fall of Saddam and the disarmament of the Mojahedin in Iraq. The organisation first denied that the attack had occurred. The organisation then announced that it was Iran which had attacked. Even then they refused even to acknowledge the bodies. The dead were not buried alongside other Mojahedin dead – in the so-called Martyrs graveyard in Camp Ashraf. In a bid to disguise the fact that the Mojahedin had been bombed by the US army, the bodies were taken outside the camp and buried in unmarked graves.

This hiding and denying of its dead and missing has had profound implications for the immediate families of these people. There are still many families in Iran whose children had gone to war in the 1980s, who were captured by the enemy (Iraq) then handed over to the Mojahedin to be used by them. Some of these POWs, who have recently been helped by the American Army and the Red Cross to return to their families in Iran, have talked about some POWs still in the Mojahedin's camps; whose families had long given up hope and believed that their sons had been killed in battle with Iraq.

There are children who have been taken to Iraq never to be seen again whose parents in western countries have given up hope of finding the fate of their children and presume them to be dead.

It is interesting that many who have been killed or missing have had families in western countries. They have left behind wives and children, homes, houses and assets which have been frozen and joint mortgages which have been left in a limbo. One western woman, whose Iranian husband died in 1988, repeatedly begged the MKO to issue a death certificate so that she could sell his business and settle their finances, including ownership of their house which had been held in joint names. As though the loss of a husband and the children's father was not enough to suffer, the Mojahedin's refusal to grant this simple request left her and her children facing financial ruin.

Although he has always been happy to count each one of these victims as martyrs to his cause, Rajavi has never agreed to issue factual information concerning these people. He has refused to give details of what has happened to these members so that their loved ones could mourn and grieve and find closure, and settle the necessary financial and legal matters. There are spouses who still don't know whether they should wait for their partner or whether they should accept their missing as dead and marry again. There are children who have grown up but still do not know if their fathers or mothers have been killed or not. Even when they have come to the conclusion that the parent will not be coming back, there is still emotional uncertainty in not knowing whether the parent has been killed in a terrorist operation, is in a prison in Iraq, or has been shot in the back in the camp itself, or has committed suicide or ….

Rajavi has even refused to acknowledge the situation of known people in the camps who have lost their mental health due to the severe psychological pressures inflicted on them. The most famous of these is Mehdi Eftekhari. Mojahedin commander Eftekhari was the mastermind behind Rajavi's escape from Iran in 1981 following his failed coup d’état. Eftekhari lost his mind under mental torture around fifteen years ago. Ever since, he has been kept out of sight and Rajavi refuses even to acknowledge his existence.

Rajavi, who for years has had the reputation of boasting about the number of martyrs who have died for his cause, has always hidden the actual number as well as the real fate of the tens of hundreds of dead and missing in the organisation. Perhaps this is due to the fear that if he talks about actual deaths then he will, one day, be held to account for at least some of them.

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