Shoddy Intelligence at work Against Iranian Resistance

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Why so much ado about everything?

The Iranian resistance established 47 years ago with roots of pro-democracy struggle dating back to 100 years ago in Iran, has been a great concern to the Iranian mullahs. Most call it a thorn in the neck and some go even further calling the group the main organized resistance that is capable of toppling the current tyranny in Iran.

But the best definition would arise from contradictory gargles of the propaganda machine in Iran that most of the times depict the MEK as the main concern of “unrest” in Iran with so much wealth as to buy 27 governments into delisting it from the black terrorist list.

What is the Iranian regime’s case against the MEK, as seen on its supporters’ numerous websites ? Let us look.

To quote a report posted on 5 November by Iran Interlink, one of the main pro-regime websites, they define the MEK as “the weird terrorist cult with bottomless pools of money”, adding that the MEK has hardly any support, either inside or outside Iran. The so-called evidence they provide is both vague and contradictory.

They repeat the Shah’s claim that the MEK combine Islam with Marxism, although the first requirement of Islam is belief in a God called Allah and one of the fundamental principles of Marxism is that God doesn’t exist.

After working for the Soviet Union, they apparently fought for Saddam Hussein and are now “owned” by Israel (though it doesn’t trust them). Their American supporters are all “neocons” – Marxist Zionist neocons ?

The number of people the “terrorists” have killed varies so much it suggests total inability to count. I have seen it quoted as “hundreds”, “thousands”, 17,000, 19,500, 40,000 and “hundreds of thousands”; I once saw “thousands” and “hundreds of thousands” over the same signature on the same day, on two different websites.

I also saw the claim that the MEK had been at Ashraf for “almost a decade”: are 26 years less than ten ?

The MEK’s size seems uncertain. It is frequently described as a “grouplet” (often “insignificant” or even “dying”) but in August 2013 the Interlink reported that it had “hundreds of kadres” [sic] in Kosovo.

There have been so many reports of members defecting from it, including those high up in the organisation, that it’s surprising there is anyone left. (We are never told how they managed to escape from a camp surrounded by desert.) Reports of its impending death appear, at a conservative estimate, about once a week.

Just before Nouri al-Maliki’s visit to Washington a report headed “Meet the Weird, Super-Connected Group that’s Mucking Up U. S. Talks With Washington” quoted an “expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace” who said: “Once those deep pockets run out they’re basically going to be rendered irrelevant.”

We are never told how an insignificant grouplet finds all that money (though one recent suggestion, made by “many experts”, was that it came from Saddam Hussein; they often describe the MEK as “Saddam’s private army”), and, if it has the power to “muck up” talks between governments, is it so insignificant ?

Its alleged influence varies at least as much as its size. This is the fundamental inconsistency of the anti-MEK case: those responsible apparently can’t make up their minds whether they are talking about dangerous terrorists or pitiable has-beens. Coming down on either side of the fence poses dangers: calling them dangerous means treating them as a force to be reckoned with, calling them pitiable makes it hard to justify cracking down on them. The procedure the websites adopt is to do both, apparently hoping readers won’t notice the contradiction.

For example, on 17 November the Interlink quotes a statement from the Iranian regime’s Fars News that Iraqi NGOs “asked the Baghdad government to expedite expulsion of the members” because “its presence poses a grave danger to the crisis-hit country.”

It’s apparently frightening enough to make it worthwhile for a country undergoing an economic crisis to run a whole department of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), with the Orwellian name of Department of Disinformation, devoted to damning it, to hold 120 anti-MEK exhibitions in Iran, and at least one at Baghdad University.

On 12 November the Interlink showed a video (which has now disappeared from the site) by a “former British Intelligence Officer” and the site’s founder, Massoud Khodabandeh, describing the MEK’s delisting as an “atrocity”. He said: “They have killed 16,000 Iranians, 25,000 Iraqis. I am not going to compare, but September 11 we had only 3,000” (if that isn’t comparing, what is it ?), accused the British government of “aiding” terrorism and concluded that MEK members who have British citizenship should be stripped of it.

Six days earlier, it had described the MEK as “old men and women who suffer from various diseases and are nothing but pale memories of the murders that they have committed” and three days later, its Weekly Digest quoted an article by the Irandidban site: “The MEK have become a rent-a-crowd carnival service … mere cheerleaders for terrorism so far have they been demoted”.

All the MEK’s supporters, including those who make it “super-connected”, are said to be bought. Consider the amount that would be needed to buy them all, including the law courts of all the countries that have taken the MEK off their lists of terrorists. Another question: if these people are all for sale, why don’t they sell themselves to Iran, which could pay them far better ? We have all heard of people selling themselves to the highest bidder, but the MEK’s opponents would have us believe that scores of dignitaries and courts from all over the world are selling themselves to the lowest.

Everyone who attends MEK conferences has also, allegedly, been bought, which may explain why their numbers are consistently understated. The rally outside the State Department in Washington in August 2011 was estimated on the Interlink as “a few hundreds”, while the BBC (among others) stated it was 10,000 (I was there, and can vouch for it that there must have been thousands).

The June 2013 Grand Gathering was too big to be ignored even by the Interlink, which, however, claimed that all the audience had been enticed to come by having their expenses paid, and neither knew nor cared about the issues. It also claimed that hardly any of them were from Iran, proving that the MEK have no Iranian support. Again, I was there, and the gathering was fairly evenly divided between Iranians and others.

The picket outside the White House during Maliki’s visit was “ten or twenty paid people who nobody took any notice of” (Le Monde reported it).

Iranians, we are told, hate the MEK even more than the mullahs (a claim which cannot be contradicted, since admitting to supporting the MEK inside Iran incurs a mandatory death sentence).

The Ashrafis’ property was stolen from the Iraqis: according to the Mehr News Agency in Tehran, “Camp Ashraf and property and assets are part of the pubic [sic] resources, which were granted to MEK by Saddam Hussein when they entered Iraq.”

The MEK members who haven’t left have all been brainwashed by the leaders of the “cult”. Certainly nobody who wasn’t brainwashed would do what they are said to have done, such as deliberately making Camp Liberty uninhabitable (including breaking the sewage system) in order to discredit the Iraqis.

The leaders’ powers are surprising, since Maryam Rajavi is described as too stupid to make decisions herself and her husband, to whom they are attributed, as “retarded”. (She is sometimes called his “widow” but if he’s the decision-maker, he is presumably still alive). Since the presence of women in leading roles can’t be denied, the theory is that they are only put there in order to make them despise men and men despise themselves.

One report, which appeared and disappeared very quickly during the summer of 2013, compared Ashraf to Auschwitz. Much more frequent are descriptions such as that of one Jeremiah Goulka (5 November): “the MEK required its followers to attend regular sessions where they were forced to admit whether they had sexual thoughts. Those that admitted to them were publicly humiliated, while those that denied having them were derided as liars and criticized anyway.”

Massoud Rajavi, conveniently in hiding and therefore unable to defend himself, is frequently accused of forcing women to dance naked in front of him and even raping them.

The Weekly Digest reported on 8 November: “people are refusing to attend lectures and not obeying orders and … the imposed controls are cracking.” Again, this is stated so frequently that it’s surprising that they haven’t all cracked by now.

The Interlink’s coverage of 1 September provides the perfect example of their methods: at first, it was a gas or cooking oil explosion. When photographs of people with gunshot wounds made that untenable, it was an attack from outside, or if Iraqi forces were responsible (which Maliki himself denies), the Ashrafis attacked first (unarmed refugees provoking armed guards ? or did they have secret weapons which eluded the searches of the American army ?). The most recent explanation is that it was an “internal dispute” (again, where did they find the guns ?) and that the survivors (including the “alleged” hostages) were the perpetrators.

The Weekly Digest reported on 8 November: “A lot of people … notice that 52 were killed and then the remaining 42 then arrived in Camp Liberty. Maryam has replied that ‘keeping these people there and sacrificing top members was pre-planned. The plan has worked and the result is that the blood of these people has meant that we came off the US terrorism list'”. The delisting was on 28 September 2012: more bad arithmetic !

The digest also refers to the “so-called” hunger strike, quoting someone who “explained how the MEK fake the actual hunger strikes, but choose some people who are ill or have other problems to place at the front to show to journalists. This is not to say they won’t kill one just to prove the strike to the media”. Evidently the Interlink is hedging its bets, in case someone dies.

Similarly, when the British newspapers finally began covering the hunger strike, the Interlink stated that it “only made it to the local [Hendon] free paper” (it was also covered by the Metro and the Evening Standard).

The discovery of three women kept as slaves in London was a gift to the Interlink, especially as their abusers led a Maoist cult. Anne Singleton, Khodabandeh’s wife, wrote that it “has echoes of the situation in Camp Liberty. In each case … emotional and physical abuse was used to enslave the victims against their will … the escapees from Camp Liberty have described the systematic use of psychological, emotional and physical abuses behind closed doors to keep them under control of brutal, exploitative leaders.” They need to be “protected from their former ‘owners’ who will try their utmost to collect them back up and return them to conditions of slavery.”

She adds: “Several residents of Camp Liberty are already on enforced hunger strike over a spurious issue; their option to continue or not has been removed as they are being denied access to food. Other residents have … been placed in great danger of attack as in the 1st September incident.” If this is true, it’s no joke.

The only possible way to reconcile these accounts is to suggest that the hunger strike in Liberty is enforced and the ones in other countries are all faked. On 26 November Mazda Parsi, one of their contributors, claimed that “the alleged 84-day (!) hunger strike by the group supporters and members received no sympathy from anybody in the world.”

I can vouch for at least one other outright lie. The 15 November Digest claimed that “the MEK had not been invited by [the European] parliament, but only by a media representation which has no relation with the EP or EC and that what … MEK have been claiming about being invited by the EP was simply a lie.”

I was at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on 30 September and saw Maryam Rajavi there.

The reports I mention probably won’t be visible for long: one feature of the Interlink and similar sites is that content appears and disappears very fast, whereas anyone who reads the Resistance’s sites can see everything that has been posted there from their inception. There is nothing, however, to stop readers printing it out or taking handwritten notes.

If you doubt what I have said here just look at those sites for a day or two and see how long it is before you encounter two statements which are in flat contradiction.

You will also notice, if you examine them for any length of time, that the same pictures appear over and over again, and that many of them are obviously montages. You will see the same statements repeated too, often with no supporting evidence; for instance, the one that Maryam Rajavi “directly ordered” the massacre of Kurds (if she had, Kurds would hardly have expressed such outrage at the 1 September attack, just as Palestinians would hardly have done so if the MEK were really owned by Israel).

The only “proof” ever given is pictures of Mrs Rajavi with her mouth open, as if that proved anything. Similarly, I have seen a picture of a “torture chamber”, supposedly at Ashraf, which merely shows a rather dilapidated room (for all we know it may not be in Ashraf at all).

The “experts” quoted are nearly all anonymous, except for those from the Iranian regime’s own news agencies such as Fars News and Press TV. “Much of the international community” is said to list the MEK as terrorists, though in fact the only countries that still do so are Iran and Iraq. NGOs are also said to condemn them, but the only one named is Human Rights Watch, which is the only one that actually did so, and the only documents mentioned are their report (based on unconfirmed reports by 12 of the alleged ex-MEKs) and those by the Rand Corporation and US State Department, all several years old. The evidence against these is ignored; so is the evidence against the Iraqi forces, and any mention of human rights violations in Iran.

I must remind readers that the Iranian Intelligence has spent billions of dollars in a worldwide smear campaign typical of any tyranny against its existential threat and opposition to isolate the PMOI. It also has a special orgainsed branch working directly under the supervision of the so called Supreme leader to backlash any support by lawmakers and public figures for the group while having hired lobby groups and think tanks to work in alliance with known pro-regime groups such as the NIAC to discredit the PMOI. 1

At the end, there is a Persian idiom which best describes the unreserved anxiety the mullah’s display of the capability of the MEK in toppling the religious fascism in Iran:

The best truth comes out of your enemy’s praise of your faults, which in fact is your greatest strength.