The Mysterious Disappearance

The Mysterious Disappearance of Massoud Rajavi

Where is the leader of the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MKO) after the American invasion of Iraq?

To Vima, Greece, interview with Anne Singleton, author of Saddam’s Private Army, December 2003

In an interview with To Vima, a former member of the Mojahedin introduces the MKO as a serious threat to the west. Anne Singleton who has been closely examining the organization, which is on the US and EU list of terrorist entities, believes that the degree of danger posed by the Mojahedin’s fundamentalism for the west is directly dependent on the desperation of its members. But the present mysterious secret in respect of the Mojahedin is where its leader, Massoud Rajavi, has been hiding himself. 

The Mojahedin moved its headquarters to Iraq in the mid 1980s and since then Mrs Singleton has visited their military training camps in Iraq twice. Of course, after the downfall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, there has been no trace of Massoud Rajavi and this has brought about conflict at some levels between Tehran and Washington. The Iranians accuse the Americans of a deliberate lack of will in their arrest of the terrorists who are under their control in Iraq. 

Mrs Singleton believes that the Mojahedin leader is under the protection of the Americans or, as a minimum, under the protection of part of the US administration. She has never met Massoud Rajavi, but has had meetings with his wife Maryam Rajavi who also shares the leadership of the Mojahedin with her husband. Last summer, Maryam Rajavi was arrested by the French government along with some other MKO members in Paris for planning terrorist activities and attempts to replace Baghdad with Paris as a base for directing their operations. Jean Louis Brougeres has investigated all the major terrorist cases in France, including the case of Carlos. He was the first person to discover the activities of Al Qaida in Paris. 

Mrs Singleton met Maryam for the first time in Paris after the MKO leadership moved its headquarters from Tehran to Paris in 1981. In that year, despite previous co-operation with Ayatollah Khomeini, the MKO separated from him and moved to Paris. 

Anne says that the MKO members have been trained to worship Maryam Rajavi. This is a reaction to imposed and unconscious methods of mind control and psychological manipulation which have been inflicted on them for years. She says, “I found this by focusing on the actions of others inside the organisation. Personally, I didn’t have any feelings but I saw the others who had to kiss her and cry and tell her how much they love her.”

The To Vima interview with Anne Singleton was conducted by telephone to the north of England, her residence and where she works as a computer programmer. She has visited the Mojahedin’s military bases in Iraq, once in October 1991 and again in August 1992 and both times the travel expenses were paid fully by the Mojahedin. 

She says, “They were trying to recruit me as a full-time devoted person for use in the west. They were showing me how they have ceaseless resources. But it was clear to me that all these resources were Iraqi government resources which had been given to them. Men and women were completely separated and had no contact with one another. Later it became clear that this was due to the forced separation of spouses in the cult. They were explaining how there is no difference between the heads and others and how a high ranking person in the organisation could easily end up cleaning and cooking. Of course, Mr and Mrs Rajavi were excluded from this rule.” 

Mrs Singleton is one of the very few western people who have been able to look at this organisation from the inside and find her way in to the inside of the MKO bases in Iraq. “Of course they wouldn’t let me talk to the people who had been involved in their armed struggle inside Iran. The atmosphere of the base was restricted and very much under control. No one was allowed to go from one side of the base to another freely or without permission. They wouldn’t tell me directly that I couldn’t go, but, without antagonising me and with care, they would try to direct me to the places that they wanted me to go.” 

She has helped in logistics for some time, and sometimes helped in finance and recruitment in Europe, but has mostly been involved in the diplomacy section of the MKO in Europe and particularly in Britain, where her responsibility had been to contact and lobby politicians and journalists. 

She says, “In the beginning years, the MKO enjoyed relatively good public relations. These good public relations are explained by the antagonism of the west to Tehran’s regime. Many in the west were friendly with them on the basis that ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’. That was, until 1997 when the US State Department at last placed the MKO on its list of terrorist entities. The UK did this in 2000 and the EU in 2002. 

“It should be said that as they were finding friends and supporters with their mixed Islamic-Marxist ideology in the west, their support inside Iran was shrinking day by day. To my mind, the turning point was when Rajavi joined with Saddam, which didn’t go down well at all with the people of Iran.”

Mrs Singleton accuses the Mojahedin today of not having any political direction and changing instead into an organisation to worship the Rajavi’s (Massoud and Maryam Rajavi) and calls it a military cult. She also produces many documents that show how for years the group has used false names and human rights organisations which never had independent existence, and how in the name of helping the victims of human rights abuses they have taken money from people and used it to fund the Mojahedin and its programmes. 

At the moment Mrs Singleton is concerned about those members of the organisation who have no ability except their military abilities. She says, “They are trained only to give their lives for Rajavi. We saw during the arrest of Maryam Rajavi last summer, how they burned themselves in front of French embassies in European countries to influence the arrest of their cult leader and put pressure on the French government.” 

Mrs Singleton is now also concerned about the serious threat that suicide operations and bombing will be carried out by this organisation in western countries and asks herself, “If they can burn themselves alive in protest, why not explode themselves with a bomb in a suicide attack.”

Saddam’s Private Army

Mrs Singleton has written a book about her research and findings in the Mojahedin with the title ‘Saddam’s Private Army’. The book was published a few months ago by Iran-Interlink whose main office is in Britain. Iran-Interlink is active in facilitating the return of separated members from the cult back into society. 

Anne says, “At one point I felt the truth to be completely different from what they are trying to advertise. They say ‘the only thing you have to do is to accept Maryam Rajavi as your leader and devote yourself to her and follow her. This is the only important objective. Other issues are of no consequence.’ For me as a person who has been brought up in a western democracy this was unacceptable and incomprehensible. Little by little I examined more closely the activities of the Mojahedin. The more I examined, the more I came to the conclusion that this is an anti-democratic cult organisation.