Leeds, (UK) 9 May ---- In its 2007 review of terrorism list, The US State Department not only retains the Mojahedeen Khalq Organisation (MKO, MEK or PMOI) and its alias "National Council of Resistance" on the list, but this time upgrades its status from "terrorist entity" to a "terrorist cult".
The significance is not lost on the nominal head of the organization, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi who announced last week that she has no hope that the European Union will remove her organization as a result of its own upcoming review. This is in spite of millions of dollars spent by the MKO over the past seven years in courts, meetings, lobbying and demonstrations.
Maryam Rajavi claimed a couple of weeks ago that "most of the evidence relating MKO to terrorism belongs to the last century".
The fall of Saddam Hussein soon after Mrs. Rajavi’s hasty escape to Paris triggered perhaps the most intense period of propaganda activity in the group’s history. As a destructive cult, with its main terrorist forces disarmed and captive in Iraq, this burst of activity to keep its other members in western countries busy without time for questioning or reflection has in this sense been a boon to the cult.
In fact, the ambitious projects of the self-appointed, life-time leader Mas’oud Rajavi, and self-proclaimed, life-time “president of Iran”, Maryam Rajavi, designed to have the Mojaheedin removed from the lists of terrorist entities in the USA, EU, UK, Canada and other free countries across the globe, has taken them far beyond that aim.
The Rajavi’s have offered up the Mojaheedin to be used in a variety of ways by many different circles - from staging demonstrations against the Iranian regime in the World Cup headquarters and elsewhere, to being used as spokesmen for those who are against Iran’s nuclear program. Some who are happy to accept the use of the organization as a tool against the fundamentalist regime of Iran are now questioning what else Rajavi must do in order to be accepted and removed from the lists?
Unfortunately, for those who want to resurrect the group in spite of claiming it has “not carried out any terrorist operation after 2001", the Mojaheedin suffers from a very recent catalogue of violence and cult activities.
Maryam Rajavi, in her rejection of the ruling of the European Court of First instance, claimed only a couple of weeks ago that "most of the evidence relating them to terrorism belongs to the last century". Clearly she means that there are documents and evidence which link them to terrorism and that indeed some of these do stretch to the present time.
Mrs. Rajavi of course neglected to mention that her terrorist army is currently confined to Ashraf Camp waiting. (Some Iraqi government officials dispute that they are confined and claim that Mojaheedin forces are currently involved in the insurgency in Iraq.) Mrs. Rajavi also ignored the fact that the French Judiciary has just added fresh allegations to her case and is now alleging financial fraud in European and North American countries.
The Mojaheedin Khalq's publication “Iran Liberation” quotes some MEP's reason for using the organization.
"Now Mrs. Rajavi and the PMOI offer the alternative to either appeasement, which is leading us towards a disaster, or military intervention in Iran, which will be a catastrophe", one MEP is reported to have said.
It may read as a joke, but sadly he isn’t joking. The average age of the men and women left in Camp Ashraf is around 50 years, with many well over retirement age. The Mojaheedin's online media has of course clarified what it dubs as the Third Way in an article by Mr. Niabati. He interprets Mrs. Rajavi's suggested Third Way as "American jet fighters supporting the National Liberation Army from the air".
It is doubtful that some Member of Parliament, however distanced from reality, are short of access to documents and are unaware of basic facts. However the concept of proscription of the Mojaheedin Khalq Organization by USA from 1997, UK from 2000, EU from 2002 and Canada from 2005 perhaps needs some serious explanation, for the whole grievance between western countries and Iran from the 1979 Islamic revolution to the present has been based on and revolves around this organization.
If that is the case, then the MPs are parroting something which the Mojaheedin has itself always claimed, a claim which is as ludicrous as the claim that 5 million Iraqis have signed a petition in their support (in the situation of Iraq and while the Mojaheedin claim themselves that they are not allowed to come out of the camp), or hundreds of MEPs have asked for the removal of the Mojaheedin from the terrorist list or "the majority of UK parliament" support them, etc…
In reality, if we push aside the obvious analysis - that this propaganda activity is being deployed mainly to delay the disintegration of the cult from within – we are left with what has been clear from the start.
The whole purpose of proscription is the organization's "security threat" to Western countries
There are a few simple steps which are all that is necessary for Mrs. Rajavi to undertake in order to have the MKO de-proscribed. One would imagine that, contrary to what Mr. Binley claims, such a move would perhaps be popular with some politicians in the west as it would create another middle to low range tool against Iran.
Mrs. Rajavi and her few remaining supporters among the London Neo-conservatives know full well that, at least in the case of the UK, it is the Home Ministry which has decided to keep them on the list since the year 2000. The Home Office does not claim to be a judicial body and does not have anything to do with the past crimes of the leaders of the organization (which is being pursued by both the French and Iraqi judiciaries irrelevant of the terrorist proscription of the organization). The whole purpose of proscription is the organization's "security threat" to Western countries. Now that for the past four years the organization has been forcefully disarmed, the only way to prove that the Mojaheedin organization is no longer a terrorist organization is for Maryam Rajavi to:
-Publicly and unequivocally announce the rejection of the use of violence and terrorism as a means to achieve political and financial aims;
-Accept the immediate dismantlement of the military command structure of Camp Ashraf and give the residents free and unfettered access to their families and friends;
-Adopt civilian clothing and allow free access to radio, TV and media of choice;
Start a fresh round of internal democratic changes including acceptance of the inalienable rights to:
-Marriage and having children
-Remuneration for work, financial independence and paying taxes
-Choose a leader by election by secret ballot;
-Freedom of expression and the right to criticism;
-Leave the ranks of the Mojaheedin without condition or punishment;
Start a fresh round of external democratic changes including calling a halt to:
-Attacking opposition groups which do not believe in violence and terrorism;
-Threatening critics and issuing death sentences for critics and opposition;
-Compulsory daily sessions of "ideological purification meetings" and "ideological reports".
Naturally we would expect that the acceptance of the above articles (or any of them individually) would result in a change of nature which, irrelevant to the horrifying past history of MKO, would affect the relevance of its inclusion in the terrorist lists.
The prosecution of the perpetrators of acts of terror, war crimes and crimes against humanity is of course a matter for the courts and is not relevant to the issue of de-proscription. ENDS KHODABANDEH 8607
Over 3800 fighters were confined in the MKO Camp Ashraf (Diyali Province). Of these, about 800 have since rejected terrorism and have been allowed to leave the camp. The organization’s leader Mas’oud Rajavi has remained a fugitive ever since.
Mr. Rajavi, who worked for Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war, is accused by the Iraqi Shi’ites and Kurds to have helped the now hanged Iraqi dictator during their uprising against him and remains wanted by Interpol for his alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In May 2005, Human Rights Watch published a list of human rights violations against disaffected members, including the imprisonment, torture and murder of its own members.
The MKO is reportedly preparing a “huge” meeting-demonstration in Paris on 30 June, scheduled to coincide with the arrest of Mrs. Rajavi. Besides bussing to the French capital hundreds of its members, the group is also “hiring” Afghan, Turks and Pakistanis in France and other European nations to gather some 70.000 people, and also “invite” some intellectuals and artists from different European countries for the event.
Editor’s note: Mr. Khodabandeh is a former security-intelligence officer of the MKO. Based in England after having “defected” the group, he is in charge of the “interlink” website, offering latest developments about the group.
Highlights and some editing are by IPS