Author: Patrick Kingsley
Affiliation: The New York Times
Organization/Publisher: The New York Times
Date/Place: Feb, 16. 2020, New York, U.S.
Type of Literature: Article
Word Count: 1471
Keywords: M.E.K, Propaganda, Defectors, Isolation, Massoud Rajavi
Mujahedeen Khalq “M.E.K” have managed to build a camp in the Albanian countryside, shutting themselves off and keeping everyone out. The secretive group is known to have American allies, such as Rudolph Giuliani, the lawyer of the President of the US, and former national security advisor John Bolton. Both figures were handsomely paid to attend M.E.K conferences, branding it as Iran’s legitimate opposition. Although the author was allowed into the camp for the first time, secrets were not disclosed, and interviewees refused to answer questions on the whereabouts of their leader Massoud Rajavi. The M.E.K has been considered a terrorist group by the US, but the latter gave its protection to the group after the Iraq war in 2003. After attacks by pro-Iranian militias, the M.E.K managed to find a new base in Albania via the help of the US and the UN, as Albania agreed to curry the favor of America. The author who visited the camp was also able to talk to some of its defectors who live in Albania. These defectors tell stories of being brainwashed, isolated from the world especially from families and banned from any romantic relationships. Meanwhile, the base itself housed an array of propaganda rooms showcasing replica torture rooms, an anti-regime music recording studio and social media “troll farms.” The visiting journalists contacted former US officers who spoke highly of the group, others saying it was not so heroic, finding it repulsive and feeling astounded as to why they are in Albania.
By: Omar Fili, CIGA Research Intern