Since the disarmament of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization by the US military in 2003, the group has been focused on a cyber warfare against the Iranian government. The war includes cyber attacks on computer systems and a disinformation campaign based on fake accounts in social media. The rank and file of Maryam Rajavi are actually soldiers of the cyber army that once was the actual army of Rajavi to launch terrorist acts. In the cult-like structure of Rajavi’s army, members are always under supervision by different layers of the hierarchy.
In 2013, when the group was relocated in Albania, it started building its headquarters in Manez, North of Tirana. The group leaders built equipped halls with hundreds of computer systems connected to the Internet in order to launch fake news. In April, 2021, Facebook removed hundreds of fake accounts linked to the MEK’s “troll farm” in Albania. According to the Associated Press, “the accounts posted content critical of Iran’s government and supportive of Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, a dissident group known as MEK. In many cases, the Facebook and Instagram accounts used fake profile names and photos.”
However, the computer halls of the MEK’s troll farm are potential places to motivate members to defect the group regarding that members of the MEK are not allowed to have any access to the outside world. Mostafa Beheshti a recently defected member of the group speaks of the amplified monitoring on busy work days, like these days that protests go on in the streets of Iran and MEK agents are more active to launch misinformation about the actual protests high jacking the true demand of Iranian protesters.
“Large screens are hung on the wall of each computer hall,” Mostafa Beheshti told in interview with the Association for the Support of Iranian Living in Albania (ASILA). “The screens are connected to each persons’ computer. Commanders in the command room, security room and the room of top command of security of Camp Ashraf are able to monitor each member’s activities on his or her PC.”
According to the testimonies of Mostafa, whenever there is an increase in the protests in Iran, security check and monitoring over members are eventually increased. “They are afraid that members use an opportunity and contact their families outside the camp. They are also afraid of any penetration in their group. They do not want any one from the outside world to know about their internal affairs.” However, there are always dissidents in the group who use various tricks to bypass the commanders’ monitoring system. cellphones do not have SIM cards
“At the time of protests, when connections rise, commanders confiscate members’ tablets or cellphones although their cellphones do not have any SIM cards,” Mostafa recounts. He states that the MEK’s rank and file are not allowed to use smartphones. He witnessed that the group supervisors would destroy the SIM card tray to prevent members from using it.
“The MEK leaders are obsessed with power in Iran but they are never representative of Iranians’ aspirations,” he told.