Home » Mujahedin Khalq as an Opposition Group » Deceptive Recruitment in Albania – MEK Treachery Against Iranians Continues

Deceptive Recruitment in Albania – MEK Treachery Against Iranians Continues

MEK human smuggling

Reports continue to emerge about malign behaviour by the MEK in Albania. In December 2021 two leading members were arrested for human trafficking and drug smuggling. The removal of an article from Alice Taylor for Exit News which reported the arrests highlighted MEK interference in Albania’s media as well as other state bodies. Exit News further reported that a foreign diplomat was notified about the case by a senior police official, but that the embassy involved failed to respond to media questions and that subsequently no prosecutions resulted. Under such conditions of foreign protection, whoever ordered the reinstatement of the Exit News article should be applauded. However, vigilance must be maintained to prevent further misdemeanours by this cultic group.

Recently it has been reported that MEK members are helping Albanian police identify Iranians among migrants arriving in the country. On the surface, this might appear a benign form of help. But deeper inspection reveals a sinister treachery.

Working with the police in itself throws up questions. Migrants seeking asylum from repressive countries have no need or benefit in lying about their origins. What role do the MEK personnel play in seeking out fraudsters? Who lies about their origins? Do the police employ the MEK members in some official capacity or are they simply there as ‘volunteers’? In this scenario, do the police ‘employ’ other ethnicities to identify their own? Once such individuals are identified, what purpose does this serve? Are the MEK personnel used as translators? Are the individuals informed that these are members of MEK? These questions should in themselves raise alarm bells about the involvement of this unethical, criminal group in a highly sensitive arena involving extremely vulnerable asylum seekers.

However, there is growing evidence that MEK are able to exploit this scenario for recruitment purposes. They will tell the migrant in Farsi that they will almost certainly be deported back to Iran unless they accept help from them. That help will be framed as facilitating their forward travel to Germany or France or the UK, etc, and that only they can prevent deportation. In this case, the target will need to stay in Camp Ashraf 3 to ensure their safety until travel arrangements can be made. In reality, no such arrangements will be made and these duped victims will be trapped inside Camp Ashraf 3 with no recourse to help or saviour.

This is exactly how MEK has behaved in the past. During the Iran Iraq war 1880-88, the MEK would visit Iranian Prisoners of War in Iraqi camps. They would promise to remove them from the appalling conditions of the camps where death, violence, torture and malnutrition were a daily risk. The PoW would be taken to Camp Ashraf and from there, the MEK would promise to facilitate their return to Iran, often via Europe. Of course, that never happened, and tens of these PoWs are still trapped in the MEK camp in Albania after three decades.

Later, as Iranians fled from the post-war revolutionary conditions imposed on them in Iran, including financial hardship, the MEK set up a recruitment department in Turkey to lure would be victims with similar deceptive promises of help. All the migrants needed to do, they were told, was come to Iraq for a while until arrangements could be made to transfer them to Europe of North America. Again, this was a deceptive trap, and these individuals were never freed from either Iraq or now Albania unless they made their own escape.

The MEK needs to recruit now in particular. From the 3800 members detained in Iraq by the US army in 2003, only around 1600 or fewer remain in Albania. The attrition of members has come about from various causes. Most are defections – tens of hundreds of people who simply could continue as members of a cult that daily destroys them and so fled the clutches of MEK. Some have died – from old age, illness, murder and suicide and of course, COVID-19. Of those who remain, the great majority are old, sick or disabled – from war and disease and neglect.

Whatever the reason, the number of members has diminished and deteriorated so much that the MEK’s sponsors and masters are beginning to find them a burden rather than an asset. Certainly, even slaves need feeding, housing and clothing if they are to perform valuable tasks. The return for this contract is barely worth it. Rajavi sells her organisation’s members for various tasks – to organise and participate in glitzy propaganda rallies, to act as click farm operatives and perhaps most sinister, to be the hiding place for several dangerous persons skilled in terrorism and prepared for suicide missions. As long as these services are in demand, Rajavi has a need for more younger healthier members. But there is a fine balance as to how necessary and cost effective this particular group is in the west’s calculations.

Whether or not the anti-Iran coalition continues to fund and exploit the MEK in its current manifestation – a slave camp in Albania – the authorities there should consider the national interests of Albania now and what its presence there means to the future of the country. There are, of course, multiple steps that can be taken toward dismantling the group. Certainly, this should start with preventing further recruitment into the camp and into slavery.

By Massoud and Anne Khodabandeh,

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