Today, all terrorist groups have their own websites on the Internet, serving their trained terrorists and supporters. They can use the Internet in numerous ways so the threat posed by cyber-terrorism is increasingly on the rise. As a terrorist cult-like group People’s Mujahedin of Iran ( PMOI,MKO, MEK),with its numerous websites uses the World Wide Web to launch its psychological warfare and propaganda . PMOI also uses the web for its fundraising, recruitment activities.
As the experts say:”terrorism on the Internet is a very dynamic phenomenon: websites suddenly emerge, frequently modify their formats… using an enormous variety of names and terms.”* The Internet always symbolizes and supports freedom of thought and speech but it can also be fascinating for terrorists like MKO. Once the Internet was emerged, it became a medium for companies, consumers and governments to communicate with one another but groups like MKO terrorist cult used the network to distribute propaganda and to foster public opinion and sympathy for their causes.
The destructive cult of PMOI uses the Internet due to many reasons. It is easily accessible. There is no censorship or control on it and the new technology gives the terrorists of MKO various facilities to achieve their cult-like terrorist goals. MKO uses several languages on its websites providing a history of the organization and its activities in a heroic way.
The same as other terrorists’ websites MKO uses a fierce criticism of its enemy ( Islamic Republic, any defectors of the group or all the individuals who independently criticize MKO approaches who are called as the agents of IRI by MKO). The vocabulary MKO uses always includes : “Resistance”, ”democracy”, ”freedom”. They never give a detailed description of MKO’s violent acts, but they try to claim the legitimacy of the movement.
The content of PMOI’s websites show the audience they target. They use a range of slogans claiming for democracy, freedom of speech to gain the attention of their current and potential sympathizers. MKO targets its local supporters with their local languages for instance they launch websites in Swedish, Danish, Dutch, Italian … for their supporters in different European countries. They try to deceive their few supporters in these countries by demonizing IRI and presenting themselves as an effective alternative to this regime. MKO also tries to weaken public support for the regime inside Iran but in fact most Iranian youth have never heard of MKO.
Terrorism has often been used as a psychological warfare by PMOI. For instance they use the Internet to spread disinformation about Iranian nuclear program and the alleged threat of Iranians’ nuclear weapon. MKO has since then tries to create an image of fear and threat around Iranian government.
Since MKO can never use traditional media to address Iranian nation, it uses the Internet to manipulate its own image and the image of its opponents. MKO leader never talk about their cult-like practices toward their members. They never reveal the restrictions they place on their own members’ freedom of expression, or the physical and mental torture they commit against their own members. But to justify their own violence they try to label the former members or the IRI with terms like “slaughterer” “murderer” … The Rajavis avoid mentioning how they victimize the cult members. They call their members as freedom fighters (Mujahedin) who are forced against their will to stay behind the isolated walls of Camp Ashraf and Camp Maryam.
A very common rhetorical device which is used by all modern terrorists on the web is “the extensive use of language of nonviolence in an attempt to counter the terrorists’ violence image”*. Maryam Rajavi always claims to seek peaceful solutions, diplomatic negotiations to put pressure on the Iranian government. Indeed, they talk of peace and democracy but their lobby is so active among warmongers especially in neo-cons campaign of the US congress.
Like many other terror groups, MKO uses the Internet to raise funds. It has a global network of fund raising charity foundations and NGOs of which some like Aid Association were shut down by European or American authorities.
MKO also uses the Internet for networking its numerous front organizations for making easier communications and of course to plan and to organize gatherings, protestations …
Today MKO fighters have no more weapons to launch physical terrorist attacks, most members in Camp Ashraf and Camp Maryam are forced to sharpen their computer skills. They are taught how to make the most misuse of the Internet.
Today, the politic men, scholars, security agencies and journalists should be really aware of the threat of cyber-terrorism. The terrorist activities on the Internet should be monitored. MKO terrorist cult is fighting its pre-lost war on the internet as well as on the ground to present a forged image of its deceitful manipulating cult.
By Mazda Parsi