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Taking advantage of security-information measures against the cults’ ploys

Legal Measures to Combat Cult Violence: Taking advantage of security-information measures against the cults’ ploys It remains a matter of controversy to what extent security-information systems and measures can be productive against the cults’ threats and ploys. But, no doubt, it calls upon any country’s security apparatus to be alert to cults’ menacing activities and, in the government’s words, to smash them rigorously. It is only in these cases of destructive groups engaging in threatening social and national security that does the state security forces might have the permission to intervene. As not all the established cults are destructive and some are peacefully religious cults with regular religious rituals, the security apparatus can be advised to adopt measures against cults that might pose any harm under a peaceful guise. In the US, for example, the FBI agents trained to negotiate in hostage and armed standoff confrontations have rethought their tactics following the 1993 debacle at the Branch Davidian cult’s compound near Waco, Texas. The tragedy, a 51-day siege of followers of David Koresh, ended in the deaths of more than 80 people after cult members set fire to their fortress-like structure when federal agents tried to storm the building.  Although freedom of religion is guaranteed in France by the constitutional rights set forth in the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, however, in recent years, some legislation and government actions were taken against some groups and cults considered to be dangerous or criminal. Officials and associations fighting excesses of such groups justified these measures by the need to have appropriate legal tools and the need to fight criminal organizations masquerading as legitimate religious groups. With a little modification, it has been the same with active political groups particularly those with a history of violence and practice of terrorism.  Taking refuge in France, the Iranian Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization has shown its cult potentiality and to mobilize people for multiple protest demonstrations. In the course of Iran-US football match in Lyon in 1998, for example, and the visits of Iranian key officials to France, notably that of President Khatami in 1999 and Iranian members of parliament in February, 2001, the organization demonstrated the degree of its mass mobilizing threats that alarmed France. Reported by Associated Press, 21 June 1998, quoting some French authorities talking about some taken security measures before Iran-US football match, we read:  Several Iranian opponents were not permitted to cross the Franco-Belgium border and prevented from entering French territory when the Iran-United States match was about to played Sunday night in Lyon, Interior Ministry sources stated. These Iranians, coming from Germany and the Netherlands, whose number was not given, are linked to the opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin, according to the same sources. They went on to point out that most of them had no tickets to the match and ‘did not meet the requirements for visiting France’. They were refused entry, because they represented a ‘threat to public order’. 1 The raid on MKO’s headquarters in Paris was also the result of intelligence and security preventive measures:  The raid, carried out under a search warrant issued by the Paris-based anti-terrorism investigative magistrate, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, mobilised more than 1200 officials, including 80 members of the elite GIGN: France’s SWAT team. It was carried out by the Directorate for National Internal Security (DST or French counter-intelligence) with the support of the Central Command of the Judiciary Police and under the technical direction of the RAID (France’s specialised unit for hostage and terrorist incidents). Thirteen targets were surrounded in the Val d’Oise and Yvelines departments, with a particular focus on the Auvers-sur-Oise camp which was suspected to be a refuge for many active PMOI members. 2 Not only MKO in France were engaged in activities that disrupted the environment and injured public sentiments, but also severely confronted the critics and opponents as well as carrying out operations against Iranian objectives in Europe, that is to say, embassies, consulates and etc. They even considered the physical elimination of former members of movements working with Iranian intelligence (Vevak). 3 Similar preventive measures were taken in Germany in the course of the World-Cup 2006 and the German security system warned Mojahedin about any troublesome activity before the plays started. In another case, the German police raided and arrested a number of suspect MKO members: The police stated that they detained 50 persons for criminal enquiries and searched dozens of homes belonging to opposition members. The border guards prevented Iranians resident in other countries from entering Germany. Thirty Swiss members of the opposition had tried to enter Germany, according to the press release of the NCIR". 4 Long known as a globally blacklisted terrorist group, MKO is transformed into a destructive cult and a cult of personality as proscribed by the US state Department report in May 2007. In many cases, MKO is referred to as second to al-Qaeda for its globally threatening features and, in spite of being expelled from Iraq, majority of Western countries’ security apparatus are cautious about the entry of its members since they know they would have a hard task to deal with the organization if settled:  In any case, there is no sanctuary for the PMOI and governments who do open their borders to them will have to exert a constant vigilance. If not, their national territory could become bases for action in violation of host countries. 5 The killing of a Brazilian man by armed plainclothes Metropolitan police who chased him into London’s Underground and killed him with shots to the head because they thought he might be a suicide bomber was only a preventive measure against further possible violent operations of al-Qaeda cult in England. It has to be taken into consideration that MKO is not an exception and security systems have to be necessarily more watchful of the organization since terrorism and cultism are interrelated features of the organization.  Although its activities banned in Western countries, MKO has proved to carry destructive cult potentialities that ignore decrees of law and principles as it did in Self-immolation episodes. Unremitting surveillance of MKO as a destructive cult will be the best preventive measure to minimize its threats that jeopardizes the Western societies among whom it resides and plots cult-like activities. References: 1- Antoine Gessler; Autopsy of an Ideological Drift, “Des opposants iraniens empéchés de pénétrer en France”, Associated Press, 21 June 1998. 2- Antoine Gessler; Autopsy of an Ideological Drift, “Pierre de Bousquet: les Moudjahidin ont bascule dans une derive sectaire” interviewed by Le Figaro, 20 june 2003. 3- Antoine Gessler; Autopsy of an Ideological Drift, “Debut en Allemagne de Ia visite de Khatarni sous haute surveillance”, Reuters and Agence France-Presse, 10 July 2000 239.- Delphine Minoui, op. cit. 4- ibid. 5- Antoine Gessler; Autopsy of an Ideological Drift, p. 179. Research Bureau – Mojahedin.ws – April 24, 2008

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