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The MEK: Child Soldiers and the Swallow Project

MEK child soldiers -Alavi's border camp

Everyone knows that during the Persian Gulf War, nearly a thousand children of Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) members were sent to European and North American countries. Many of these children, including me, were illegally trafficked to these countries. The history and fate of these needs to be widely discussed, but today I want to talk about the fate of about a hundred of them who were sent to Iraq as child soldiers in the late 1990s and early 2000s and became members of the Liberation Army, that is, the military wing of the MEK. The project was named “Swallow” by Rajavi.

Since Maryam Rajavi was sent to France in 1995 to become the political figure of the MEK in the Western world, the project was launched. The MEK bases in European countries, especially France, became a place for these children to gather together in order to attract them by creating a warm and intimate atmosphere, which replaced their missed families. Exactly the same thing happened. The MEK cadres in these bases, whom we called “uncle” and “aunt”, were so kind and loving to us and told us about the good things of the MEK, and about Camp Ashraf that we felt that our “family” and “home” was there. Many of these children, who lived in boarding houses under the control of the MEK and were still brainwashed by the MEK, never felt a sense of belonging to their place of residence and society and saw Camp Ashraf in Iraq as their utopia where our parents and all uncles and aunts are gathered and everything is good and beautiful. A flawless and problem-free world in which we would spend our childhood.

In 1997, the first group of these teenagers were sent to Iraq. Some of these people were 13 years old when they were sent. A little later, a promotional video cassette was prepared from this initial group, which served as a propaganda tool for MEK abroad. In this tape, we saw our friends wearing military uniforms at Camp Ashraf, undergoing military training, riding tanks, having a communal dinner, and exercising, and they were having a great time. Some of them were also interviewed and they told us about their good qualities. In this way, a wave of sending teenagers to Camp Ashraf started. Teenagers who were in Europe were first sent to France, to the main headquarters of the group in Auver Sur d’Oise, and then they were sent to Iraq. Most of these teenagers were under 13 years old.

North America was a little different. The MEK did not have a headquarters there. Therefore, there was no place for teenagers to gather at first. But in 1998, the MEK turned the headquarters of the National Council of Resistance in Washington DC into their main base for deployment. Teenagers like me were dragged there under various pretexts, such as going to Iraq to visit your parents. This way, they resumed the brainwashing process. I must mention here that our brainwashing started from our childhood, when we were in Iraq and in the school and kindergarten of Camp Ashraf, before the Persian Gulf War. The war with Khomeini, and being a mujahid and warrior, and the gun and sacrifice of life, were in our heads, and it was enough to activate those feelings and thoughts again. And the Mujaheds were very skilled in this job and still are.

Between the years 1997 and 2002, about 100 teenagers, mostly under the age of 18, were sent to Camp Ashraf from Europe and North America. There, we entered basic military training from the very beginning. Training in light rifles, Kalashnikovs, BKC, RPG rocket launchers, infantry combat training and then gradually training in armor, tanks and personnel carriers, artillery and air defense, communications, etc. Camp Ashraf was really in war situation. I remember that about two weeks after I entered Camp Ashraf, the Iranian government fired several Scud B missiles into the camp. At that time, Camp Ashraf was a very large military base (36 square kilometers) full of tanks, cannons, military vehicles and ammunition. All members wore khaki and green military uniforms.

In this way, Rajavi successfully carried out the Swallow Project and was able to add nearly 100 teenagers to his old and worn-out organization in order to revive it and give new motivation to his inner forces. In the next part, I will mention the legal aspects of this issue and also the German court ruling against MEK.
Mohammad Reza Torabi, former child soldier of the MEK

X social network – Mohammad Reza Torabi account – Translated by Nejat society

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