An article published in the Washington Times Security section claims that (yet again) the Mojahedin Khalq (aka MKO, MEK, NCRI, Rajavi cult, Saddam’s Private Army) has provided intelligence to the West on Iranian crimes and atrocities. However, in terms of actual intelligence revelations, the article should more properly have sat in the Opinion section.
In this post-truth era, it almost goes without saying that facts and fiction rub shoulders in most of the articles reporting on Syria and Aleppo from all sides. But if Western journalists had no presence in Aleppo and uncritically reported hearsay and opinion to support their own agendas, think then what the MEK’s reporting is based on.
The MEK pretends it has some kind of insider knowledge which it can apparently tap into whenever it needs to make a point. Iran, however, has made no secret of its involvement in the Syrian conflict. Newspapers and state run media probably tell us in much greater detail than the Washington Times report about the deployment of fighters and how they are funded. The dead from this conflict are mourned very publicly inside Iran. It is disingenuous of the MEK to merely recycle this information as a ‘revelation’
NCRI spokesman deceives gullible U.S. officials and journalists with misinformation
But the MEK is notorious for its role as a misinformation and propaganda outlet. Variously over the years, the MEK has been exposed for false reporting and intelligence in issues such as the P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran. After passing one piece of genuine intelligence in 2002 which it was given by Mossad, the MEK continued to pass fake information to the IAEA so as to disrupt the negotiation process, and to enable the US to impose severe sanctions against Iran. In 2015 the MEK ‘shock revelation’ of a secret nuclear facility in Iran – intended to derail ongoing nuclear negotiations – when subjected to just a little bit of investigatory journalism was soon revealed as sheer fabrication. The MEK similarly muddied the waters of truth during investigations into the bombing of a Jewish centre in Argentina in 1994 for which MEK supplied intelligence implicated Iran.
Iran and Russia’s behaviour and agendas have their own place in these issues which should be rigorously investigated and reported. But that can only happen if journalists and investigatory bodies (human rights, nuclear experts, war crimes, etc) are able to base their work on facts and not the fake and fictionalised fantasies of stooges like the MEK, which are clearly designed to misinform on these issues.
The information laundry cycle is not difficult to follow – the Washington Times takes its report from the NCRI site of Maryam Rajavi. The NCRI site then reposts its own report as though it originated in the Washington Times and both, without further verification, get taken up by Fox News.
By Massoud Khodabandeh Director at Middle East Strategy Consultants.