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Threat of IS for Liberty residents?

"She knows more about what’s taking place at Camp Liberty than any person, anywhere," Congressman Ted Poe said about Maryam Rajavi the leader of the Mujahedin khalq Organization (the MKO) who is supposed to testify before a hearing in the US Congress next week. "And that’s why she’s testifying." [1]

Yes, Congressman Poe is right. Maryam Rajavi is the most informed person about what is really going in the MKO camps in Iraq or France but she is not the most reliable person at all. She is not reliable because of the long history of fraud and Goebbels -like propaganda of her group.

Maryam Rajavi, the self-claimed president of National Council of Resistance of Iran (the propaganda arm of the MKO), will testify via video conference on April 29 at a House Foreign Affairs terrorism panel on "ISIS: Defining the Enemy”. Surprisingly, the organizers of the event are supposed to define the threat of ISIS terrorists via testimonies of Maryam Rajavi while she has never taken any position against ISIS. [2]

Ann and Massoud Khodabandeh, are the couple who happened to be the disassociated members of the MKO and also the experts on the organization explain why Congress should not rely on Rajavi’s testimony to discuss the threat of the Islamic State:   

“She won’t. She can’t. Because the MEK are friends of the Islamic State (IS), they support the Islamic State. Maryam Rajavi has spoken in Farsi in favour of the Islamic State. The Islamic State do not pose any danger to the MEK in Camp Liberty. In fact, before the Iraqi army and militias drove IS back from its encroachment, it was clear to all those who know the MEK that the leaders were hoping that when IS reached Baghdad, the MEK would be liberated from Camp Liberty and join the terrorist forces.” [3]

  It is well known that any disassociated member who tells the truth about the organization and denounces the MKO and exposes the abuse by its leader will be branded by the group as the agent of the Iranian intelligence service.  Hence, the US officials should be cautious about letting the MKO’S  leader to attend a Congressional hearing.

According to Al Monitor, Daniel Benjamin, formerly the State Department’s counter terror coordinator, also was slated to testify at the House hearing. But on Monday, Benjamin declared that “I will not appear at a hearing” about the Islamic State with the MEK’s defacto leader, because “I know of no substantive expertise that the MEK has developed on ISIS.” News of Benjamin’s cancellation was first mentioned on Twitter by ALM Congress Pulse. [4]

Benjamin told committee staff that he "did not believe the MEK had anything to contribute to a discussion of [IS], and that this would be a distraction from an important issue," he told Al-Monitor. "I said the story of the day would be the rehabilitation of the MEK, and I did not want to be associated with that in any way."  [5]

Foreign Policy also quoted from Benjamin that the MEK’s “exclusive focus” of concern has for decades been Iran. “So one has to wonder what the purpose of Rajavi’s presence on this panel is,” Benjamin told FP. [6]

“Being delisted as a Foreign Terrorist Organization — a decision I took part in — doesn’t mean that this group … has suddenly … become trustworthy or worthy of engagement,” he said. [7]

Besides Daniel Benjamin, Robert Ford former US ambassador to Syria who was also invited to testify at the hearing declined to attend the event. According to Al Monitor, Ford said he would not testify at the same time as Maryam Rajavi". The committee handled this abysmally," Ford told Al-Monitor in a phone call late Monday. "What the fuck do the MEK know about the Islamic State?" [8]

A very comparable reaction was made by Ahmed Shahid UN Special Reporter on Human Rights last year. Shahid who had been invited to address in a similar event in Canadian Parliament withdrew from the program because Maryam Rajavi was supposed to deliver speech too. [9]

However, Congressman Ted Poe who is on top of the MKO pay roll, still defends his invitation despite Benjamin’s considerations on the MKO’s violent history. Definitely, Congressman Poe might not be so naïve to get misled by the propaganda of a cult of personality but he might be paid enough to cover the truth. The untrustworthy background of the MKO to deal with the International Community is so well reported and documented that you may find a case of the group’s deceitful approach on Ted Poe’s own website on House of Representatives.

Ardavon Niami’s article which had been originally published on NIAC website on December 12 2011, was available on Poe’s page the following day. The article was focused on the destiny of residents of Camp Ashraf before its closure in 2013.  Niami reports that the relocation process of Ashraf residents was obstructed by their leaders.” U.S. officials testified before the House Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee last week that efforts to peacefully resolve the standoff are being rebuffed by MEK leadership”, He wrote. “U.S. Special Adviser on Camp Ashraf Daniel Fried said MEK leadership has impeded a refugee resettlement process and interfered with the UN’s ability to conduct interviews with individuals at the encampment.” [10]

Ted Poe’s web page says, “Fried told Congress that the Administration’s efforts have been met intransigence by Camp Ashraf leadership to agree to any relocation plan other than en masse relocation outside Iraq.” [11]

Although, the relocation of Ashraf residents was finally accomplished in 2013 –after over a decade of international efforts—about 100 of its high ranking members of the group who stayed in the Camp under the order of the leadership faced a deadly attack in September 2013, following which 53 members were killed!

Furthermore, the relocation process from Iraq Camp Liberty to Europe is very slow due to obstacles made by the MKO leaders. Based on testimonies of former members and various documented and investigated reports, the most crucial threat to residents of the MKO’s camps, is caused by the group’s leaders who do not have any consideration for the members. They only care for their own interests.

By Mazda Parsi


[1] Pecquet, Julian, MEK leader to testify before Congress, Al Monitor, April 23, 2015

[2] ibid

[3]Khodabandeh, Ann & massoud, Congress cannot rely on Rajavi’s testimony, The Iran Interlink, April26, 2015

[4 ] Pecquet, Julian, Congressional invite to MEK sparks furious backlash, Al Monitor, April 28, 2015 


[6] Francis, David, Renowned U.S. Arabist Is Second Witness to Refuse to Appear With MEK Leader, Foreign Policy , April28, 2015


[8] Pecquet, Julian, Congressional invite to MEK sparks furious backlash, Al Monitor, April 28, 2015 

 [9] Gharib, Ali , Controversial Iranian Exile Shakes Up Canadian Parliament’s Human Rights Program, The Nation, May 14, 2014

[10] Niami , Ardavon,  U.S. Officials Warn that MEK is Obstructing Humanitarian Solution in Ashraf, NIAC, December 12, 2011

[11] ibid

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