Confrontation between Iran and USA - Where does the MKO fit?

Massoud Khodabandeh, Survivors' report publication, Feb. 2005

In between the protracted political wrangling between Iran, Europe and the USA over nuclear power, the MKO keeps surfacing like a bad smell from the sewers.

Plucked from behind the protection of Saddam Hussein, the history of Mojahedin Khalq Organisation (MKO) and its National Council of Resistance (NCRI) is no longer a secret for anybody.

In short, half a century of close co-operation with the intelligence services of Saddam Hussein would have been enough on its own to designate the cult like organisation as a terrorist entity; which has rightly been banned by the USA since 1997, the UK since 2000 and the EU since 2001. The overwhelming evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity is not to be underestimated and hundreds of victims as well as the disaffected members who survived imprisonment and torture in Iraqi prisons, including Abu Ghraib, at the hands of the MKO are live and accessible witnesses in European countries.

Although similarities can be drawn with Al Qaida, there is a fundamental difference between the two. Al Qaida, horrifying as it is, cannot be described as a mercenary organisation (even though it was at one time financed to fight the Soviet Union). MKO history for the past 25 years has been of purely mercenary activity in Iraq, Europe and Iran. This indeed may have been the key element in enabling MKO and its self-appointed leader Massoud Rajavi to survive so much turbulence and upheaval (after all even the biggest companies in the world can become bankrupt but a hired labourer will never become bankrupt). And this again, may be the reason this is the only designated terrorist organisation in the world which can still hold a demonstration in front of the White House or book Conference Rooms in Parliaments under one name or another.

Being the owner of a cult, gives Rajavi a great advantage when hired to work for anybody. His forces have been under constant psychological manipulation for decades. They are ready to change direction as and when Rajavi orders them. They do not ask questions. They can play the role of a diplomat one moment and can burn themselves alive the next moment. And as they don’t get paid, they don't cost much. After 30 years of research and development, Rajavi has fine tuned his final products and they are ready and waiting for use. Could anyone resist the temptation?

But then, what if one day, in another dispute, they turn and bite whatever hand feeds them? After all, Al Qaida did exactly this and did it at the same time its former supporters were still negotiating with Taliban representatives and members of the Bin Laden family in the USA. Still, can anyone resist the temptation?
Rajavi’s products have been tested and proved in Iraq by crushing the Kurdish and Shiite uprisings in 1991, they have carried out merciless attacks on civilian targets in Iranian cities, schools and streets whenever and wherever needed, they have launched various front names to engage themselves in fraud, money laundering and misusing the democratic institutions of Europe and America. And of course the latest mission was on November 19 in Washington for which they were ordered to stage a carnival similar to those of CIA-backed Cuban émigrés in Miami, paid for by well known architects of regime change everywhere and anywhere.

The question is not about the mercenary forces. They have long ago chosen their path and no one is under any illusion about them. The real questions are directed to the sponsor of such mercenaries.

As everywhere in the free world, the Bush Administration has been put in place by the American people to protect the best interests of the American people. Having no doubt that this Administration (or for that matter any other democratically elected Administration) would not and could not deliberately work against the interests of the US people, there are many policies which many people, including myself, would not agree with. Not because I think that President Bush should ignore US interests for the benefit of the people of Iran or anywhere else, but for the reason that in the long run the best political, social and economic interests of the American people lie within a trustworthy, lawfully coordinated, accountable approach from today’s only superpower. It is not very difficult for a superpower to forget its position and change its image from being a reference for justice and freedom to being an imperial ruler from which to run away and hide. In this day and age the latter cannot be in the interests of the American people. In the 21st century the bigger you are, the more is expected from you, and the more powerful you are, the more you need the weaker nations on your side. History is full of examples and evidence of this.

Even if we believe that the end justifies the means, surely there has to be a limit which, if crossed would obviously and certainly backfire. In a post-9/11 world, in a world of indefinite detention of suspected supporters of terrorism, to justify the financial, political and legal support given to an officially designated terrorist organisation to rally around the streets surrounding the White House, carrying a missile on a truck cannot be done without paying a price; and may I say that unfortunately the payment starts here but never ends here. Once you have started you are involved, and once you have your hands dirty, it cannot be stopped easily. To say that we can use a mercenary force and get rid of it whenever and wherever it is no longer needed is no more than a illusion. To achieve your aims by whatever means - in this case to half effectively use these mercenaries for short propaganda purposes to put pressure on the ruling government of Iran in the lead up to the next IAEA meeting - you have to make sure that the media will put your side of the story and only your side of the story out (I do not imagine for a minute that The Washington Post could not access the other side of the story). You have to interfere with and get in the way of anybody who will talk and expose the past and present of your tools (at least during the exercise), and you have to openly lie to yourself, your colleagues and your people one way or another. Otherwise it won't work and the investment is wasted.

The occasions will come and go. The effect of your tools will be good, medium or bad according to how much you paid for them. But what will stay is the legacy of your behaviour. You, in a country which stopped Yousef Islam – aka Cat Stevens the well known British singer - and turned him away at the airport on suspicion of supporting terrorism, have knowingly opened the way for hundreds of Fedayeen from Saddam’s Private Army to freely and without search cross your borders to participate in the very small but staged Miami style carnival of November 19th. Does anybody believe that this is going to work in favour of the US population? Can any Mojahedin backer in the Pentagon, CIA, any neocon or Likudnik really convince us that these people didn’t do anything else except participating in your so-called demonstration? I doubt it. As those who do not want to come and stand in the front row of this show most probably doubt it too. Some media were force fed to repeat the claims that there were 15000 participants (the square is, of course, only big enough for a maximum of 2000 people standing shoulder to shoulder) when in fact figures announced by really independent media were more like 800 to 1200 people. If we accept your figure of 15000, then you have allowed over 10,000 known terrorists into the country. Can anyone tell me where these imported, trained terrorist are right now? Have they brought anything with them? Or have they promised you not to get engaged in information gathering, etc. for a larger fee from other, hostile sides? Or should I accept that all this is justified because someone needed a last minute desperate attempt to put on a show in the wake of the Iran–Europe deal?

The desperate use of known terrorists like Jafarzadeh in Fox News, or bringing a registered detainee of Ashraf camp [who acted as MKO negotiator with US forces while in detention in Iraq], a high profile commander in Saddam's Private Army, Farid Soleymani, to relay your so-called ‘intelligence’, while closing your eyes to and refusing help to over 400 disaffected members from the hideous cruelty of the MKO Leadership cannot be swept under the carpet. Does anybody have any doubt that you are protecting the heads of this terrorist organisation, in particular Massoud Rajavi, the notorious head of the cult, while refusing to help the ones who are the hostages of this organisation in Iraq and are desperately looking for a way out? And can anyone blame their families and friends for demonstrating in front of your embassies all over the world? Is this what you mean by the ‘aim’ and the ‘means’?

The use of MKO in advance of every meeting of the IAEA has become so frequent and the information provided to them in each occasion so far from reality (of course I understand that if the information was valid, then it needed no mercenaries and could have been announced by the real sources), that even European politicians and diplomats - who really try their best to take your side in every occasion - have not been able to disguise their unhappiness and have not been able not to joke about it one way or another.

Iranian nuclear power and other international political issues and confrontations will go and other new agendas will come and they will go also - as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and similar situations came and went. You will win some, and perhaps lose others. Putting aside the credibility of the US in the world (and I don’t just mean in the streets of the Middle East) the mercenaries you use in you own country are going to be with you. They will be yours for good and for bad and believe you me they have much more bad than good and this danger is exactly why they are not worth betting on. You don’t have to take my word for it. Just refer to your own history books in your own country. Can you remember using any of these so called ‘professionals’ and not having to pay much, much higher prices later?

And of course there is a big difference in the case of Mojahedin and Rajavi. You know and we know that whoever dirties his hands in re-using MKO, has accepted to wear Saddam's shoes and carry his history on his back. After all, as far as the case of Rajavi and his cult is concerned, he cannot be described as anything but the successor to Saddam Hussein.