Decades after the lethal fate of Hitler and his highly effective and skilled minister of propaganda Joseph Goebbels, there are still people who use their methodology in order to deceive public opinion and to indoctrinate their followers. The Mujahedin Khalq Organization (the Cult of Rajavi/ the MKO/MEK) is one of the notoriously known cult-like groups that complies with the entire methodology of Goebbels.
Leader of the MKO cult, Massoud Rajavi systematically inherited Goebbels’ legacy as a devious, manipulative master propagandist. Like Goebbels, Massoud was extremely good at his job. He drove his listeners into trance, making them stand up for long hours, sing songs, raise their arms, repeat oaths and slogans; and he did it, not through an ardent inspiration, but as the result of a psychological manipulative methodology.
Goebbels’ guideline was based on his 19 "Principles of propaganda" that would make his propaganda campaign active. Studying Goebbels’ principals, one may find out the extent of the MKO leaders’ loyalty to these principals. However, this post is able to cover only certain ones of the principals that are more iconic and common in the propaganda machine of the Cult of Rajavi.
At the first place Goebbels believes that “the propagandist must have access to intelligence concerning events and public opinion”. Regarding the cult-like system of the MKO, authorities of the group use the most horrible cult jargons in order to have access to the most inner thoughts of members –in case of the MKO, public opinion is limited to the members and sympathizers of the group.
Members are forced to write daily reports to confess any kind of thought that crosses their minds to their superiors and peers. They have to attend daily meetings to submit their self-criticism reports. No two MKO members can form a friendly relationship. There is always a superior to supervise a member’s daily life. Under such a circumstance, members have no private space and thus the authorities are more easily able to control their minds.
According to Goebbels, Propaganda must be planned and executed by only one authority; it must issue all the propaganda directives; it must explain propaganda directives to important officials and maintain their morale. Massoud Rajavi has been the absolute authority of the MKO for nearly four decades. Despite his disappearance since 2003, his authority ruled over the main officials of the cult, even his third wife Maryam Rajavi. Massoud’s influence over his high-ranking members particularly Maryam was been so extensive and destructive that she could never stop him as a polygamous cult leader. Instead, she cooperated him in his fraudulent tactics to marry a large number of female members of the group. This was how Massoud “maintained their morale”!
Goebbels suggests, “propaganda theme must be repeated, but not beyond some point of diminishing effectiveness.” No matter how many years the MKO has promised the “overthrow” of the Islamic Republic, it seems that repeating the word “overthrow” is enough for them to run their propaganda. From time to time, that the word loses its effectiveness to indoctrinate members, the authorities set off for a new tactic, for instance the word get printed, framed and put on the new year’s Haftsin table (the Iranian traditional table which is set for the New Year’s celebration).
The principals underline that Propaganda must label events and people with distinctive phrases or slogans. The MKO authorities are skillful users of this key principal. There are so many of such phrases and slogans. The followings are just some examples:
-Since the group was turned into a cult in the late 1980s, Massoud Rajavi has always been called as the “Ideological leader”.
-The cult-like techniques that forced members to divorce their spouses, forget their families and accept Massoud as their only source of love, has been named “Maryam’s Revolution”.
-The Iranian government is called “Reactionary Regime” and anyone who criticize the group is labeled as “agent of the Iranian Intelligence” by the Cult’s propaganda.
-“Ashrafi” and “Ashrafneshan” are used as passionate terms to instigate the group members who were once residing in Camp Ashraf, Iraq. It was in Camp Ashraf that the group formed military force by financial and logistical support of Saddam Hussein and became his private army.
Briefly, according to Goebbels’s instructions, propaganda must reinforce anxiety concerning the consequences of defeat. This tactic has maintained the MKO members under the cult-like brainwashing system of the group. Over years, the members have become so anxious and fearful that they cannot find anyway out to feel secure except staying inside the cult. The leaders of the Cult of Rajavi intimidate the members by telling tales about execution and torture that is awaiting them outside the cult.
By the way, Goebbels manipulated the German media and ensured that the radical Nazi messages of German racial superiority and anti-Semitic conspiracy theory became commonplace and accepted. The last line of his last speech was a call to arms: “People, rise up, and storm, break loose!” However, His idea of “total war”– completely mobilizing everything in the nation for the war effort– failed. His fate was a tragedy. He committed suicide together with his wife, after he poisoned his six children!
When in 2003, after the American invasion to Iraq and consequently the disarmament of the Camp Ashraf, Massoud Rajavi disappeared, the start of his declining fate was marked. A few months later, in June Maryam Rajvai was arrested by the French Police. This was a shock that convinced Massoud to continue to stay in hiding.
Today, 14 years have passed, Massoud’s fate is uncertain although the MKO’s Saudi sponsor Turki Feisal announced his death at the group’s gathering last July. Obviously, he is not that effective, absolute leader any more. This is proved by the rise in the defections from the cult.
By Mazda Parsi