MEK commanders treat members like serfs: Albanian journalist

Pointing to the brutal behavior of MEK ringleaders with their members in their camp, Gjergji Thanasi tells the Tehran Times this fact is enough to predict how brutally MEK will treat the Iranian people if they ever come to power in Iran.

He believes if the Rajavi cult comes to power they will transform Iran into a Hell on the earth.

This is the text of the interview:

Q: You have claimed the presence of 7,200 members in the MEK camp in Albania. How did MEK increase the number of its fighters in the Albanian territory between 2016 and 2019, while it was numbered 3,000 when they first arrived in Albania?

A: Albanian authorities offered no precise official figure of MEK members coming to Albania. The best they made public was “several thousand MEK members came to Albania between 2013 and 2016.” Figure 7 000 I made public was based on the data offered by “Instituti i Statistikave” (The Institute of Statistics). This is a government board whose director is appointed by the prime minister himself. This institute published the figure of 7 000 Iranian residents in Albania. Apart from a handful of Iranian diplomats and a score of Iranian (refugees, illegal migrants) in prison or in the refugee center of Kareci, there are virtually no other Iranians in Albania but for the inmates of Ashraf 3 Camp in Manez (Durres Municipality), i.e., the MEK personnel.

It is simple math that if there are 7 000 Iranian residents in Albania, almost all of them are MEK members. In order to obtain more precise data, you can consult the photos of the data sheets issued by the fore mentioned institute (Instituti i Statistikave). I cannot speculate how the number of MEK members increased. There is a virtual official blackout covering MEK, its membership, and its activities in Albania. The way they enter Albania (what travel documents they use to enter), the way they leave Albania mainly by plane is never made public by the Albanian authorities. We Albanians learn that the cult leader Maryam Rajavi left Albania only occasionally, as in the case when border police and emigration of Belgium refused her entering the Kingdom of Belgium while she was traveling from Albania to Belgium.

Q: Why was Albania chosen as the host country for the MEK?

A: Albania was chosen as a host country for MEK personnel as it was considered as a sui generis “Ersatz”. Virtually no country accepted MEK personnel on their soil. Even Vanuatu refused to accept a dozen of them. In 2013 we accepted little more than 200 MEK members in Albania. Mr. Berisha, the then premier of Albania during the official ceremony of the arrival of the new Iranian ambassador in Tirana, Mr. Gholamhossein Mohammadnia, told the ambassador that we have an understanding with UNCHR and our American partners that a limited number of members of that organization (MEK) will settle in Albania, while the rest will settle in other NATO, and, or EU countries such as Romania and Bulgaria. Premier Berisha also inquired whether the Iranian Embassy was ready to issue travel documents to any of MEK members who wished to return to Iran. The ambassador’s answer was that his embassy staff would not deprive any Iranian consular service. Then in 2016, after the then Secretary of State Kerry visited Albania, hundreds and hundreds of MEK members began arriving in Albania by plane accompanied by officials of UNHCR. I feel very sorry, yet my personal impression was that only the Albanian government in the whole world volunteered to Mr. State Secretary Kerry to serve as a refuge for that “human trash,” i.e., those MEK members arriving and settling in Albania.

Q: Does the Albanian government or the United Nations oversee events inside the MEK camp?

A: There is nothing official! Neither the United Nations nor the Albanian government has ever made public that they oversee or that they do not oversee what happens inside the gated compound called Ashraf 3 Camp in Manez (Durres Municipality). In 2018 a classified document of the General Directorate of the State Police was leaked to the press. This document contained data and facts which prove that our police force tried to keep an eye on the MEK members and their activities. Yet the information contained in this leaked document was generally vague, with a few details or hard facts. Officially no government employee of Albania (police, army, secret service, inner revenue inspectors, health inspectors, municipal police of Durres Municipality, water inspectors, even firefighters) can enter the camp without the express permission of the MEK commanders. When they receive permission to enter the camp, their vehicles (even official police cars with police marking and police plates) are thoroughly searched, even using telescopic mirrors. Then they are ordered to park their vehicles in a designated area, and they proceed on foot. Sometimes even distinguished guests invited by the commanders of the camp (I mean written invitations) are body searched using metal detectors.

When the Municipality of Durres informed MEK that they offered personnel and equipment to disinfect the camp in order to prevent any outbreak of Covid-19 in the camp, they were profusely thanked, and they were very politely declined permission to enter Ashraf 3 Camp.

Even in case of a pandemic outbreak, the local authorities and even our health ministry representatives were not allowed to enter into the gated compound of MEK in Manez near Durres city. One can imagine how little Albanian authorities can oversee events inside the MEK compound. To properly explain to Iranian public opinion, I shall draw this comparison: It was easier for an Iranian Arab to enter and inspect his land estate during Soviet occupation, let us say in 1942, than for an Albanian official to enter and inspect Ashraf 3 Camp of MEK in Albania let us say in 2020.

Q: What is the role of the United States in supporting the Rajavi cult in Albania?

A: There is a lot of hearsay about the Americans’ role in supporting the “Animal Farm” of Maryam Rajavi in Albania.

Apart from State Secretary Kerry’s visit in 2016, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, in written form to prove American hand or at least U.S. finger in the Ashraf 3 “pie.”

Even the accord between the Albanian government and UNHCR is a closely guarded secret. There is a lot of transparency about, let us say, the investment of 50 million USD by NATO (U.S.) in upgrading the military Airport of Kucova, yet an Albanian or foreign journalist can have no info about that accord, the rights and the obligation of Rajavi cult followers residing in Ashraf 3 Camp!

Yet the way MEK members physically enter the offices of our Ministry of Interior (they have special passes), the way their vehicles traveled during the curfew time (Covid-19 pandemics), without being stopped by police or Albanian Army checkpoints and roadblocks means that their patron was an entity powerful enough to change the Albanian officials and civil servants into obedient Quislings of MEK.

However, no Albanian journalists have seen even a scrap of official paper issued by the U.S. embassy in Albania or any other department of U.S. administration regarding MEK presence in Albania.

Let me give you a personal example. In August 2019, I sued defendant Behzad Saffarin a MEK commander, for libel as he had published articles accusing me of being an infamous spy of Iranian MOIS.

In one year, the first judge of my case resigned not only of my case but also from the justice system to pursue a private-sector career. The judge replacing the former one was arrested some four days ago on corruption charges. The hearing of my case was postponed five times on different grounds. There were seven hearing sessions, yet there is no progress beyond the introduction and identification by the judge of the parties and their lawyers taking part in this legal case! I invite the readers to try to imagine what is that mysterious and powerful entity that pushes Albanian judges to string puppets or ruin their career and sometimes even their personal liberty.

Q: Is the Rajavi cult a pro-democracy group?

A: They treat their members as serfs and as robots. I believe this fact is enough to understand how they will treat the Iranian people if they ever come to power in Tehran.
I have visited Iran, and I can assure anybody that present-day Iran is not Paradise on earth, yet the Rajavi cult seizing power means transforming Iran into “hell” on the earth. To speak of this sect as a pro-democracy group is to tell a tall lie and to be proud of telling such a lie!

Q: What a threat can the MEK pose to Albania’s national security?

A: Our national army is only 6 000 strong (with 5 000 others theoretically in reserve). Imagine for a moment there are 450 000 Albanians with military experience or military trained to live in gated compounds in Iran. Do you feel secure in Iran with foreign “guests” outnumbering your Army? Now imagine some of these foreign “guests” have blood on their hands (Iranians’ blood, Iraqi Shiites’ blood, Kurds’ blood, and even some Americans’ blood); how do an average Iranian in the street feel?

We have very tough money laundering enforcement laws in Albania. As an Albanian, I am not allowed to transfer even 3 000 Euros to my daughter studying in Germany without filling a lot of forms to declare the origin of the money I am sending to my daughter. A conservative figure of the land and the facilities in Ashraf 3 Camp is 100 million pounds. I defy the MEK cult to make public bank documents for the transfer to Albania of even a fraction of 100 million pounds. How did they transfer that immense sum of money (at least in Albania, it is considered immense) without using bank channels? Why money laundering law enforcement vanishes in the thin air when MEK money is in question? Why the rule of law fails to work for these “guest” on the Albanian soil!?

In 2014 with the U.S. embassy’s aid, the Albanian Parliament drafted and passed a law to severely punish anyone inciting people to wage war against another country. The “inhabitants” of The Animal Farm of the Rajavi cult in Albania 24 hours a day, seven days a week spread propaganda and incite people to wage war against Tehran! I ask the question: Is Iran a country or maybe Iran is some alien spacecraft, so is it the duty of the human race to wage war against such aliens? We Albanians have no cause to go to war against Iran, yet nobody tries to uphold the Albanian law passed in 2014 with the U.S. embassy’s aid and funding in Tirana (USAID funding). Why should my country be transformed into an outpost to wage war against Tehran? As far as I know, Iran has not occupied even an inch of Albanian lands. The last time Iranian fought against the Albanians was some 25 centuries ago when the Persian Army of Xerxes the Great fought against the Greeks, and some Illyrian tribes allied with the Greek city-states (Illyrian are our ancient forefathers).

I fail to see the Albanian national interest at the Albanian administration’s conniving at the fact that this Rajavi cult infringes the 2014 law while inciting war against Tehran. If MEK wants to wage war against Tehran, it can go somewhere else and wage war against their homeland just as they did during “Mirsad Operation.” I strongly believe that Albania’s security is threatened if my Albania is used as a place to recruit an army against Iran, a heavily armed country like Iran!

Q: What is the view of the Albanian people towards MEK and their presence in their country?

A: I cannot speak on behalf of the Albanian people!

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