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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 31

++ The Community of Independent Bloggers has raised a petition condemning the MEK’s ongoing hunger strike. The petition asks both the Iraqi and the French government to stop this barbaric act which everyone knows is being forced by the MEK leaders. Previously, reports have suggested that the hunger strikes are mostly undertaken under coercive pressure and specifically in Iraq reports say that food has been denied to the participants by the leaders.

++ Mohammad Karami was the guest of Mardom TV. He talked about the hunger strike, the situation of the new arrivals in Albania, and some aspects of MEK history according to the former military and intelligence officers of Saddam’s regime, including General Vafiq Al Smerai. Parts of a weekly video presentation by Behzad Alishahi were also broadcast. The series is called “what the MEK do and what the MEK say”, and concentrates on the current week by week activities of the MEK in their media and other activities.

++ Many have been writing about the ongoing hunger strike and the reasons Rajavi may want to continue this. This includes three former members of the all-women Leadership Council, Maryam Sanjabi, Batoul Soltani and Zahra Mirbagheri, who have pointed out the internal problems Rajavi is facing and they say he is creating this atmosphere only to silence his internal critics. Others have pointed to the fact that Rajavi cannot afford to allow these people to leave and to talk (as others have done). Hadi Afshar (Saeed Jamali) explains that everyone knows that four witnesses are more convincing than two. Rajavi is now facing some of the survivors who have managed to get out. He is trying to keep the number as low as possible; whether being killed during the American bombing (of Iraq), self immolations, so-called accidents, depravation of medicine, infighting in Camp Ashraf or hunger strike, the result for him is the same.

++ Some articles have been published on the subject of why Rajavi is not coming out of hiding. A popular explanation is that he is not capable of facing his own forces rather than there being any restriction or danger from his enemies if he surfaced. But some have said that if he surfaced in any country, it is the Iraqi government that would pursue him to take him back and put him on trial rather than it being Iran which would do so, and because it is not easy for other countries to host one of Saddam’s henchmen in defiance of international law.

++ Karim Gholami from Iran Pen Association in Cologne has written an article about Maryam Rajavi and her desperate attempts to play the role of a living person. He refers to her actions, including finding new nuclear sites every 5 minutes and then moving on, or how the MEK, working alongside the Israeli government, have been against the Geneva talks with Iran but after they have concluded announce that Iran has been defeated and given up her ambitions to have the A bomb and then a few hours later again come up with statements that Iran is only a few months away from acquiring her first A bomb …

++ Hadi Afshar (Saeed Jamali) has published the 12th part of his memoir under the general title “The system ruling the Mojahedin Khalq Organisation”. The title of the 12th part is “Working towards toppling the regime or running away” in which he explains the vacuum of leadership in the MEK whenever some thing has happened.

++ There have been reports from inside the MEK HQ in Paris that Mohammad Mohaddessin, one of the known members of the MEK/NCRI, has been refusing to accept orders by Maryam Rajavi. This has resulted in him being beaten up in some meetings. He has allegedly been demoted and is now held without access to outside world. Nima from Ariya Association in Paris has published an extensive article about this issue detailing the people who have been present and the way they have treated Mohaddessin, epecially Mehdi Abrishamchi (Maryam Rajavi’s first husband) who has been one of those beating up Mohaddessin. Abrishamchi, who has been a torturer working for the intelligence system of Saddam Hussein, is a wanted man in Iraq and many individuals have alleged that he has personally tortured them. The MEK has not yet reacted to explain the absence of Mohaddessin from his public role, raising the possibility that he is not giving way to the pressure to change his mind and support the cult again. Mohaddessin was the MEK contact with the Pentagon during the reign of Saddam and has been involved in many deals with the Israeli and Saudi embassies in Paris.

++ Many ex members and critics have been writing open letters to the European Parliament where the Mojahedin Khalq lobbyists are more active than in any other place. They are demanding that parliamentarians put pressure on Rajavi and MEPs who support her to come clean and let the hunger strikers choose for themselves if they want to eat or not. Many point to the role of cult lobbyists and their responsibility in the case of the deaths of any of these people. Many of them have no access to food because it is not given by the leaders of the MEK, and many don’t even know about what is happening in the world due to being trapped in the MEK camps for decades without contact with outside world.

++ The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) called for renewed efforts from states to relocate former Camp Ashraf residents, also known as Camp New Iraq. “Since the 1 September 2013 attack on Camp New Iraq where 52 residents died, there has been limited progress in moving the remaining residents to a third country. UNHCR encourages all Member States to share in the international efforts, admit residents and offer them a long-term solution.”

++ Israeli newspaper Maariv revealed that the Israeli government has promised financial assistance during to the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) terrorist organization, pointing out that some members of the leadership of the MEK reside in Israel and have become clients. An editor of the Israeli newspaper reported that one of the leading members of the MEK, who lives in Israel, met with senior officials in the intelligence service to request financial assistance, pointing out that the amount of this financial assistance was not known. According to the Israeli press, the Israeli financial grant to the organization comes after the MEK promised to provide detailed and accurate information about Iran’s nuclear facilities, stressing that Israel had previously given financial and in-kind assistance to the organization.

++ Writing for Iran Interlink, Anne Singleton drew parallels between the situation of three modern slaves discovered in London and members of the Rajavi cult. “In each case the victims were brought together thirty years ago to live collectively as part of a shared political ideology. In London, as in Iraq, this went wrong when the use of emotional and physical abuse was used to enslave the victims against their will. Just as the three women in London have had traumatic and disturbing experiences, so the escapees from Camp Liberty have described the systematic use of psychological, emotional and physical abuses behind closed doors to keep them under the control of brutal, exploitative leaders. As in London, the victims of the Mojahedin Khalq are left emotionally fragile and highly vulnerable. Their needs for a careful and compassionate process of recovery and rehabilitation are similar. This can only be achieved if they are protected from their former ‘owners’ who will try their utmost to collect them back up and return them to conditions of slavery.”

++ Talking to Haider al-Akaili, who is part of an Iraqi government committee overseeing the investigation into the September 1st killings at Camp Ashraf which was requested by the U.N., Reuters news agency reported that “The main thing that the investigations have revealed so far is that the Iraqi security forces were not involved in that attack and an unknown militant group was behind it… Akaili added that 53 people had been killed, not 52 as originally reported by the U.N. which said its representatives had seen corpses with gunshot wounds and some with their hands tied. The additional victim had not been reported until now because his face had been burnt and he had not been previously identifiable as a camp member… ‘The operation was elaborate, complicated and big,” he said, adding that MEK members who had seen the attack had shown a “serious lack” of cooperation with investigating authorities’. He raised the possibility that there had been a dispute within the camp and some of the attackers had come from inside it. Another scenario was that the seven missing people were behind the assault, he said.”

++ Richard Potter of Mondoweiss interviewed former NCRI and MEK member Massoud Banisadr. Among other subjects Banisadr describes the point when he believes the MEK transformed from a political group to a destructive cult: “What happened was, within Iran they were left losing 99% of their members. Only 2,000 to 3000 members were left in Iran. Most of them were gone because of the change of policy from peaceful demonstration to terrorist activities and street fighting. Even those who could become radicals were either killed in street clashes or by execution by the government. They lost the battle in Iran. Outside of Iran they were portraying themselves as the democratic alternative to the Iranian government. Two of the most important allies of theirs were ex Iranian President [Abolhassan] Banisadr and the Kurdish Democratic Party of Kurdish Iran. These two left the National Council of Resistance in 1984. Suddenly this coalition of Rajavi and others turned into the pseudonym MEK. In 1983 they could get support from the Labour Party of UK and the Socialist Party of France, but after this they did not have it anymore. MEK was on the verge of disintegration, so he had to do something, which is why I think he did what was called the Ideological Revolution, which is when it became a destructive cult.”

++ Mohammad Karami in Paris revealed a new tactic adopted by the MEK leadership aimed at intimidating and silencing its critics – direct targeting and character assassination. He described the MEK as spreading malicious rumours about these critics in their places of residence and among their social circles as well as gathering factual information to seed with false allegations to create documents which MEK advocates in parliaments and other capacities can take to the judicial channels to accuse the critics of being a danger to the public.

November 29, 2013

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