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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 238

++ A pro-MEK piece was published by Fox News in response to the multiple exposures and articles about MEK in Farsi, English and Albanian language media. Sources close to MEK in Albania describe them as ‘running around like headless chickens’ because everyone now knows who they are and how they operate.

++ Farsi commentary is almost all in condemnation of the MEK attacks on the Mohammedi’s, the ex-members and the failed state of Albania which cannot cope with them. One writer says that it simply doesn’t fit that a mother and father are agents of Iran. No agent would have been going around the world from Iraq to Europe and now Albania for twenty years. The only person who would have the motivation to devote their life for this is a mother.

++ Ex-members have re-published an MEK article on their own sites, the MEK article is called ‘Mojahedin in Albania in Google’. They explain that MEK has panicked because Google search comes up overwhelmingly with anti-MEK writing. MEK claims, in its article, that to do such a thing needs hundreds of thousands of dollars expenditure, because everyone knows that to make sites and to force tags into major newspapers, so it would come up in MSM is a hard and costly job. Spending this much money cannot be done except by the Intelligence Ministry of Iran, unless you claim ‘the people’ have paid for it. Ex-members are saying ‘you are looking at a mirror’. First MEK are thinking that the only way to be in Google is to spend vast amounts of money and work on it, which is what they do themselves. And to say that ‘the people’ are paying is simply a reflection of how they describe their own shady financial affairs. Secondly, this clearly shows that the whole system of MEK is focused on Google wars. If they think they have lost this time, it means if they are in Google at other times they think they’ve won. Their whole struggle has been reduced to an online presence. MEK’s only argument – warped logic – is that ‘they’ are spending so much money to say MEK has collapsed. Why would you spend that if we haven’t collapsed?

In English:

++ Nejat Society has published a second teaser for its 3-part documentary series ‘The End of the Path’. Filmed at Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty in Iraq, the series shows how the MEK lived and exposes its cultic behaviour, in particular its human rights abuses against the members and their estranged families.

++ Mazda Parsi for Nejat Bloggers unpicks John Limbert’s warning that support for MEK by some US politicians “would end up backing MEK, a group hated by most Iranians and resembling a combination of the Jonestown cult and the Khmer Rouge.” Parsi describes conditions of slavery under the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia – the same slavery that is going on with MEK today. He references NYT contributor, Elizabeth Rubin, Human Rights Watch and Al bawaba website, who have all warned about the cultic nature of MEK and the potential for Maryam Rajavi’s MEK to become the Pol Pot of Iran.

++ As the controversy rumbles on in Albania about the efforts of parents from Canada to rescue their 38-year-old daughter, Somayeh Mohammadi, from behind the closed walls of Camp Ashraf 3, where she is under constant coercive control, the Tirana Times published lengthy coverage of events in English. The article superficially and uncritically repeats the allegations and counter allegations made by each side. The article does not investigate whether the Mohammadis have been sent by Iran to kill their daughter. Nor does it investigate whether Somayeh is a free agent and really has written the letters published in Albanian media.

++ Telesur ran a critique of American foreign and military policy by Catherine Shakdam, ‘Nuclear Deal: Is The MKO Playing Into Anti-Iranian Sentiments?’. Pointing out that President Trump approved the largest military budget in in US history in 2018, Shakdam claims that the US systematically had a hand in ‘terrorising and bullying’ other countries over the decades, often contravening international law. Iran on the other hand has “acted in accordance with international treaties within the parameters of international law…”. The US has made an enemy of Iran for reasons “that lie well beyond its national interests”, common sense and political consensus. Trump’s “decision to contemplate regime change in Iran that should command our ire – especially when it entails empowering well-known terror militants: the MKO, also known as MEK”, says Shakdam, who goes on to describe the MEK in dangerous terms. Support for MEK – “a terror group whose ideology is sold to bloodshed, murder and heinous acts of violence on the basis of its self-proclaimed exceptionalism” – “contravenes not only international law as it plays directly into the definition of state-sponsored terrorism, but political common sense”.

++ Massoud Khodabandeh’s article ‘Albanian Police No Match For MEK Commanders Trained by Saddam’s Mukhabarat’, in The Iranian, analyses the disparity between an ordinary couple from Canada and the MEK commanders who are controlling the life and activities of their daughter behind closed doors in an isolated camp. Khodabandeh points out that while Albanian media present this as a family dispute it is not and gives brief biographies of the MEK commanders and agents involved in ‘delivering MEK’s version of Somayeh’s story’. The four, originally recruited from the UK as students, are Jila Deyhim, Homayoun Deyhim, Behzad Saffari and Ahmad Taba. All received training by Saddam Hussein’s security and military services. Albanian police were shocked by the behaviour of MEK as 60 ‘potential suicide bombers’ surrounded police station 4 in Tirana. Khodabandeh concludes that Somayeh is in great danger and if any harm, injury or death befalls her, the government of Albania will be held responsible.

++ Jounalist Ken Klippenstein wrote another expose for The Young Turks (TYT) Network, ‘It’s not Just Bolton and Giuliani: Trump Team’s Links to Iran ‘Cult’ Run Deep (Walid Phares)’. As the title indicates, the Trump Administration is riddled with MEK supporters who are financially compensated for meeting with and promoting MEK. This piece focuses on Walid Phares who met with MEK to discuss ‘the human rights situation in Iran’. Other MEK advocates include Kenneth Blackwell, Michael Mukasey and Michael Ledeen. However, the article ends: “Human Rights Watch’s Sarah Leah Whitson, director of its Middle East and North Africa division, told TYT, ‘We have documented very serious abuses by the MEK against its own members, including the forced detainment and torture of dissident voices at MEK camps in Iraq’.

“‘In most of these cases, the MEK sought to punish with physical and psychological abuse individuals who wanted to leave the organization’, Whitson said. Unsurprisingly, MEK has been described by many, including the Rand Corporation, as a ‘cult.’

“Asked about the Trump team’s links to the group, Whitson told TYT, ‘We have repeatedly raised our concerns with American officials who have received funds from the MEK, including for example Mr. Giuliani’.”

August 10, 2018

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