Massoud Khodabandeh responds to MEK (Rajavi cult)’s defamations in the Gazeta TemA newspaper
November 12, 2017
I have been informed by colleagues in Tirana that you have published a defamatory post http://www.gazetatema.net against me (Massoud Khodabandeh) and my wife (Anne Khodabandeh nee Singleton). This is not entirely unexpected since the MEK always attack their critics rather than answering their criticisms. I am, however, surprised that you did not take the trouble to contact either me or Anne for any clarification of the libellous comments made in this piece. I guess the fight against fake news has not reached your outlet yet.
Interestingly, the libellous allegations in this post are based on ‘reports’ purported to come from the United States Ministry of Defense (Pentagon) and The Library of the US Congress. They do not. They are fake. Did you not think for a moment to check these sources – perhaps with the military attaché in the American Embassy in Tirana? For your information, reports in the Library of the US Congress are available to the public. No such report exists there.
In any case, a simple check on our background would show that we are British citizens living in the same house for sixteen years in the UK. The claim, therefore, that the American authorities have been after me from 2013 should have alerted any decent journalist. The idea that we are British citizens who have not been investigated and imprisoned as spies for a foreign country – one for which the UK has a large degree of enmity – which is the central allegation of your article, is bizarre at best and indeed stretches the imagination of any normal person.
My background is widely known. I left the MEK while they still enjoyed the brutal support of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. When I left I was a high-ranking member of the Central Committee, member of the political wing (NCRI) and was head of the security of the leadership of the organisation. Since 2003 and the fall of Saddam I have been working as a consultant with the department in the Government of Iraq responsible expulsion of the MEK from that country how to facilitate this event as safely and securely as possible. A mission, I am glad to say we succeeded in.
Anne was also a member of this organisation and underwent military training in the terrorist camp of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. She spent many years in the MEK’s so-called public relations department. We met and married after leaving the MEK. Anne currently works as a consultant under the UK government Prevent Duty helping to prevent young people from being recruited into violent extremism, terrorist entities and foreign struggles which will rob them of their futures and sometimes their lives. She has just visited your country on a mandate given to her by European Members of Parliament to report back on the situation of the Mojahedin Khalq Organisation (aka MKO, MEK, NCRI, Rajavi cult, Saddam’s Private Army) in Albania.
However, again I remind you of basic journalistic principles. You failed to inform your readers that Farid Toutonchi – the author – is an active member of the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist organisation. We managed to have him expelled from Iraq along with the other members of the group. The Americans then dumped them on your country. No doubt his status in your country – like that of the other MEK – will become clear when he appears in court to answer for this libellous article.
You also failed to mention that the appearance of this ridiculous piece coincided with interviews with Albanian media by three ex-MEK members who finally managed to escape twenty-five years of slavery with this group.
You have also failed to inform your readers that there is no evidence whatsoever of any of the libellous allegations against myself and my wife in any official or reliable source (i.e., not the MEK’s own websites). Instead, you have mentioned our website Iran-Interlink.org (a site preceding the existence of your site by far) but did not mention that this organisation has and is helping the victims and the families of the victims of Mojahedin Khalq. Through Iran-Interlink, we are now helping enslaved MEK members gain their freedom. Is this considered espionage in Albania? The contact details for this site are also easily available.
The Mojahedin Khalq have been deported from Iraq to your country to be deradicalized. Your government had even been paid for this task. This did not happen. Instead we see well known American war-mongers are now reviving this terrorist organisation against Iran as they have done with many others against Turkey, Iraq and Syria.
Anne has visited Albania to warn of MEK activities there. Of particular concern is the recruitment of young Albanians to serve the group. With first-hand knowledge of this she is able to alert civil groups how this takes place and how to prevent this from happening.
With this in mind, the best way to determine what the MEK is actually doing in Albania is to arrange a live media debate between Anne and MEK leader Maryam Rajavi – or one of her followers – so that the truth can be brought into the public arena. Anne will explain her task to establish legal status for Rajavi’s followers in your country and warn against recruitment. Maryam Rajavi might then explain to the Albanian people why she is calling for war and terrorism from their country. The citizens of Albania are already deeply suspicious of the strange behaviour and secretive activities of this group. An explanation by Rajavi in the media would go a long way to clarify for them who the group is and what they are doing in the country. Although I suspect that all this would do is to further convince Albanian civil society that they do not want such a controversial, provocative and secretive group living alongside their families, their children and their youth.
With our help, over a thousand MEK members have escaped this group in the past decade. If there is still any doubt about the integrity of myself and my wife, I suggest you invite these formers to speak about their experiences.
I have briefed my lawyer on this issue and am sending a copy of this letter to the Albanian Embassy in London seeking clarification on the situation of Albanian justice regarding such matters.