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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 180

++ A delegation of former MEK members met with MEP Ana Gomes in the European Parliament. They explained the situation of the MEK and described conditions for the members now in Albania.

++ Marking the anniversary of the 1979 Iranian Revolution several writers brought up the history of MEK activity at that time. Starting with the MEK’s attempts to side with Ayatollah Khomeini and then betraying the people and siding with Saddam Hussein One lengthy article from Ebrahim Khodabandeh from Nejat Society gives a detailed timeline. He starts when the MEK members were released from prison at the start of the revolution and follows their activities through the 1980-88 Iran Iraq war and afterwards. The article explains the MEK’s place in the Revolution.

++ Veteran MEK member Mohammad Ali Jaberzadeh Ansari (aka Ghasem) died in Paris last week. He was famous in the MEK for writing the speeches and communications of Massoud Rajavi, and was in charge of all the Mojahedin’s publications. While doing that he is also accused by many formers of acts of brutality, beatings and torture. Several writers responded to his death with their memories of what he had done to them while they were members of the MEK.

++ Many commentators talk about MEK switching off every other issue but repeating war mongering from US and Saudi etc. Only focusing on this one issue.

++ Col. Wes Martin wrote attacking Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh in The Hill. Several Farsi commentators dismissed this as an attempt by the MEK to boost their Google ratings. Further analysis points out that if President Trump dumps the MEK (which he will) it can be blamed on the ex-members. This represents the usual pattern for the MEK; creating a scapegoat before begging Trump for support as insurance for when it all goes wrong.

++ The MEK has instigated several fundraising programmes to ask ordinary people for money. Many writers publish facts and figures that point to this being part of an obvious money laundry scam – the MEK claims it is financed by contributions from ordinary people, but in fact receives large sums of money from other major donors. Articles say that the MEK claim to be financially self-sufficient is ridiculous. The MEK started getting external funding in Iran when they took money from the former Soviet Union. They then moved to France with support from the CIA, before going to Iraq where they were paid by Saddam Hussein for helping his war effort against Iran. MEK long term receipt of money from Saudi Arabia has always been obvious for everyone. There is not a day that the MEK has been financially self-sufficient.

In English:

++ Mazda Parsi of Nejat Bloggers writes ‘Once More “Backing the Winning Horse” Doesn’t Work for the MKO’. The article is an analysis based largely on Jon Gambrell’s piece for AP which exposes the links of several of President Trump’s choice of officials and cabinet members with the MEK. And a piece by Saeed Kamali Dehghan in The Guardian which also exposes this information. Parsi details the MEK’s crimes against Americans and their current attempt to whitewash this history and concludes by reminding us that the 2009 RAND Corporation report on the MEK describes the group as “skilled manipulators of public opinion”.

++ Mehr News and Habilian Association which defends the rights of MEK victims interviewed Rick Alan Ross, an American deprogrammer, cult specialist, and founder and executive director of the nonprofit Cult Education Institute. The interview focuses on the cultic nature of the MEK.

++ Iran Interlink responded to the defamatory article by Col. Wes Martin by republishing it on the website along with the comment: “Fake News, Alternative Facts and Opinions – MEK succumbs to the American disease of hysteria – The following OpEd by MEK advocate Col. Wes Martin was published first in The Hill, followed by Mojahedin Khalq’s “Iran Probe” and the “NCRI” websites. Iran Interlink has published it here as indication of how hysteria has become the new normal in American published writing. A form of madness appears to have infected US politics and now all and sundry are dancing on the Hill.” Wes Martin is the latest in a roll-call of former officials and academics who have put their reputations on the line by advocating for the MEK. For example, Martin has allowed the MEK to use his name to bizarrely accuse Anne Khodabandeh of supporting “psychological torture” by “…taking images of herself standing near the loudspeakers”.

++ Associated Press released a revised version of its previous article with the explanation:

“A Feb. 5 story by The Associated Press on contacts between people associated with the Trump administration and the Iranian opposition group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, known as the MEK, stated as fact long-standing accusations against the group, including its alleged responsibility for the killing of Americans in the 1970s.

“The U.S. State Department and the FBI concluded that the group carried out those killings, and claims of responsibility were made at the time in the name of the MEK. However, the story should have stated higher up that the current MEK leadership disavows the killings, as well as several other allegations.

“The story also omitted the reason the State Department delisted the group as a foreign terrorist organization in 2012: The U.S. government acknowledged that the organization had renounced violence and had committed no terrorist acts for more than a decade.”

February 17, 2017

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