The June 17th dossier of MKO is already 6 years old. Despite the emphasis of French officials on the significance of this legal case on terrorism, it has not been given a verdict yet. However, this is not the end of the story. Mojahedin consider this delay as a subterfuge for calling its accusations baseless and asking to be acquitted on all charges. The silence of France on the issue intensifies its complexity and ambiguity. Whatever the vote of the court, it is evident that the DST operation in 17 June 2003 has been very significant for French authorities. The future will demonstrate whether France government and Nicolas Sarkozy take a realistic stance not to endanger the interests of France for the sake of expediency and negligence or not. He once as the Minister of the Interior emphasized that the materials seized at Auvers-sur-Oise justified the operation (1).
However, what is of more significance is reviewing hidden aspects of this operation and the evidences by which French police and judiciary have managed to prove its legitimacy. Now, this question arises: What are the precautionary measures taken by France in recent years for controlling the illegal activities of Mojahedin in its soil after finding a huge amount of facilities used for terrorist and espionage activities? The activities of MKO in recent years in France indicate that not only no measure has been taken for controlling Mojahedin but also France has acted passively paving the way for extending the activities and facilities of the organization.
The basic question is that while according to the police, this raid was "one of the biggest undertaken by the DST (French Counter-intelligence) in the last 30 years" and international press agencies reported that it was the result of more than three years of investigation (2), what have been the practical, judicial, and controlling measures of French officials in this regard? The discovery of more than eight million dollars in cash and 150,000 Euros as well as computer equipment and dozens of satellite dishes (3) is just a part of the illegal activities of MKO in France. According to the following report by French resources, Mojahedin planned to use these facilities for furthering their cultic objectives:
The Associated Press underlined the significant means deployed by the French police authorities. This shows that the French security services did not take this raid lightly: even bringing in aerial surveillance helicopters. The operation was aimed according to the Ministry, above all, "at the leaders of an organization which threatens public order and is planning or preparing to finance terrorist acts". During the raid, it was necessary to use explosive charges to break open "blocked doors", the police stated. "The People’s Mojahedin are the military wing of Massoud Rajavi’s National Resistance Council, based in the Paris suburbs… 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… ‘Its bases in the Paris region are considered to be used for questionable organisational, logistical and financial purposes’, added the Ministry…". 4
Undoubtedly, the consequences of 17 June operation were far beyond the discovery of some facilities. In fact, it attracted the attention and aroused the sensitivity of French officials to MKO camp in Auver-sur-Oise as their main headquarter. This is the reason why Mojahedin took a hostile position toward our warnings on the strategic nature of Auver and initiated a propaganda war to distract the attention of international organs from the dangers of this strategic and ideological bastion. France is to identify the real objectives pursued by Mojahedin in Val d’Oise to foil their illegal and terrorist plans. There is no doubt that Auver has turned to the main headquarter of MKO and Mojahedin are after connecting it to their remnant members in Camp Ashraf. After their disarmament and the fall of Saddam leading to the end of his alliance with Masoud Rajavi, Rajavi realized that he no more could use Camp Ashraf as an operational unit. Therefore, his base was transferred to another safe haven, Auver-sur-Oise. French officials found out his objective and performed the operation 17 June. According to an Interior Ministry source:
Auvers-sur-Oise had been turned into the Mojahedin’s "International HQ". Up until March-April , their command structure was in Iraq and only moved with the outbreak of war. 5
This transfer was far from a mere physical one. Mojahedin made use of technology for reorganizing their members and activities all over the world. Despite the necessity of human control of their camp in France by police forces, it hardly suffices since they carry out the greatest portion of their operations through electronic waves that are intangible far from the eyes of inspectors. They no more grab at historical and reactionary means of communication used by cults like Batinis and Al-Qaeda. On the contrary, they have access to the latest scientific achievements and further their objectives through lines and waves. According to French officials:
In 2001, the PMOI had claimed responsibility for more than 195 terrorist attacks on Iran from its base in Auvers-sur-Oise. 6
The same resource refers to the cultic structure of the organization based on Masoud Rajavi and Maryam Azdanlu, the cultic leaders of MKO:
It was more like a sect, a cult of personality for Massoud Rajavi and his wife. 7
In a nutshell, Mojahedin open their way easily for the achievement of their predetermined objectives wherever they settle or even have least physical presence by manipulating means of the modern media and communicational techniques to run its propaganda machine.
1. Gessler, Antonie, Autopsy of an Ideological Drift, Chapter 1: The end of tolerance
2. "Coup de filet centre les Moudjahidin du peuple iranien" – dispatches of Agence France Presse (AFP) and Reuters, 17 June 2003.
3. Associated Press, Operation de grande envergure contre les Moudjahidin du people en region parisienne, 17 June 2003.
4. France News, Coup de filet contre les Moudjahidin du people iranien, 17 June 2003.
6. Associated Press, Les Moudjahidin du peoples’appretaient a commettre des attentats selon la DST, 10 June 2003.