Anne Singleton Speaks at the Paris
Counter-Terrorism Conference

March 31, 2005

Hello, my name is Anne Singleton, otherwise known as the wife of Massoud Khodabandeh. I have written a lot about the Mojahedin. This is the first time actually I have to stand up and talk about them, so Iím very nervous, Ö.

I think what might be the first question for all of you is why is a non-Iranian woman became involved with the Mojahedin and I can't give you a simple answer: because like all of you I have my own story, I got pulled into it in my own way, just as all of you in your own ways got involved. But once I was in there I found the same thing that all you found out, that this is not what we thought it would be. After years and years of struggle I think we all know now that this organization is not the organization that we joined. Itís not doing and being the way that we wanted it to be. For maybe twelve years, I supported the Mojahedin from a distance, I was a young person, I was student. I got caught up in a kind of romantic idea of revolution. How romantic is revolution? And I found the Mojahedinís struggle something very pure and very worthwhile, so I supported the organization for a long time until one moment, a very defining moment I decided to give up everything I had, my house, my car, my job and join the organization full time. I was dragged into a cult. I didnít know I was being dragged in, but the techniques which were used to pull all of you in were used on me too. And they work; you get pulled in to give up slowly and give up everything that you have. And you end up completely enthralled. I mean youíre their prisoner. You donít know that youíre their prisoner, but you become their prisoner and at that point they can do anything they like with you, and they doÖ

I have to say that I havenít come here to tell you my story, because there are stories much more interesting than mine. What I want to say is that, like most of you, when I was in that organization I had no idea of what was happening behind the scenes. There are, I can say that most of you who have left that organization had found out and thatís why you left. It took me three years from the moment I decided I wasnít cut out to be 'Mojahed'. And I became as you describe 'Borideh' (defector), and it took me three years to actually leave them because they wouldnít let me leave, as you know. It fortunately was a lot easier for me because I was in my own country. But even then, in my own country with my own language with our social security system with everything, with my family around me it was extremely hard to leave. Because they kept telling me ďyou belong to Maryam RajaviĒ and something that had been worked on inside my head believed them, and I found it extremely hard to reject that brainwashing, because it is brainwashing. What I didnít know until I left the organization completely is that for years and years and years people like me who wanted to leave were ending up in Abu Ghraib prison, were ending up in the Mojahedin's own prisons in Ashraf (camp). I had no idea. And yet I had been supporting that organization for the greater part of two decades as an insider, so you can imagine how easy it is for that organization to fool western politicians and media. If someone like me who was inside them didnít know about the cruelties, the lies, the deception, and the brainwashing techniques, how can anyone outside that organization find that out. When I left, that became my main objective; to let the world know what I had recently discovered. Thatís why I set up an organization called Iran-interlink, thatís why I wrote my book and thatís why I continue today like all of you to come and speak out against Maryam Rajavi, Massoud Rajavi and the violation of human rights which they inflict on their own members, every single member. Itís not just people like yourselves, whoíve been in prison, itís not just the people whoíve left and become dissidents, every single member of that organization whoís subjected to their psychological manipulation is a victim of human rights abuse. One of the other aims that I had, as well as to speak out about the organization, was to help people get out. I have to confess that it was my mother-in-law who started me off on that track. She reckoned I have rescued one of her sons and now she asked me to go and rescue her other son who was still in the Mojahedin. I am sure you all know Ebrahim Khodabandeh - who somehow rescued himself! So a lot of the focus of our work has been to try to help and support the people, rather to work to get people out of the organization. Of course, thatís extremely difficult because the Mojahedin donít allow contact within themselves and with the outside world. That is part of their sect culture, thatís what holds the whole thing together. I wonít talk a lot about what weíve done in the past, what I will say is that the best gift in a way that weíve had in this work is that the Mojahedin in Iraq have been granted protected person status under the Fourth Geneva Convention in Camp Ashraf. Now, the Mojahedin of course declare that as a victory on their own part because they said that they were not being recognized as terrorists - even though the people who gave them protected status insisted that theyíre still a terrorist outfit. I donít think that itís relevant to [talk about them as] terrorist and non-terrorist, their history speaks for itself. What the  protected person status person does; well, it gives legal framework to the work of people like us. I recommend that you all look at the document. Iím sure itís in Farsi on the United Nationsí website. What it stresses is that people who are protected persons have contact with their families. It stresses that there should be a list of every single member, every single person whoís a protected person made available to relatives. It says that anyone who is a protected person can ask to leave that country. These are very, very important rights every single person in Camp Ashraf has but they donít know they have those rights; itís our job to push from the outside to break down those barriers and we can do that together and thatís the stage weíre at now, where we have now a very powerful legal framework to help to get these people out wherever they want to go, whether back to Iran or to European countries. They, under that law, are treated as individuals not members of an organization. Thatís the distinction we have to keep pushing. These people are individual people they are not slaves of Rajavi.