Since the early 1990s, the MOIS has aggressively operated a disinformation campaign against the People's Mojahedin, alleging it suppressed the 1991 uprisings in Iraq. No evidence has been brought forward to substantiate the malicious claim, only false allegations by MOIS disinformation agents.
Countering the MOIS propaganda are two UN independent reports, statements by the Kurdish Democratic Party and numerous Shiite Grand Sheiks in Iraq, and the confession of a MOIS agent who defected and explained how he disseminated erroneous allegations about the uprisings to discredit the Mojahedin's reputation.
Still, the falsehood has been widely reported by media outlets and organizations, such as those below:
- Backgrounder on "Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) (aka People's Muhahedin of Iran or PMOI), Council on Foreign Relations, 2013.
- "Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK or MKO), GlobalSecurity.org, 2013.
- "Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK or MKO), Federation of American Scientists, 2013.
- "My Day With a Real Thrill Kill Cult: the MEK," Institute for Policy Studies, January 13, 2012.
- "The Iranians in Iraq," Washington Post, December 14, 2011.
- "It Makes Sense for the US to Take Mujahedin-e-Khalq Off its Terrorist List," Guardian, August 16, 2011.
- "Grim Decision-Making; Dictators and Violence," Economist, February 27, 2011.
- "Iranian Exiles Told to Leave Iraq Camp," Washington Post, December 16, 2009
- "This Man Belonged to a Terrorist Organization," The Toronto Star, March 21, 2009.
- "The Mujahedin-e Khalq in Iraq: A Policy Conundrum, RAND Corporation, 2009.
- "Iraq Threatens to Expel Iranian Rebels; Exile Group Has Protected Status Under Soon-to-Expire U.N. Mandate," Washington Post, December 22, 2008.
- "Protesters Fear Iranians in Iraq," Los Angeles Times, September 9, 2008.
- "Iraq Intensifies Efforts to Expel Iranian Group," Washington Post, March 14, 2007.
- "U.S. Decision to Protect Exiled Iranian Terrorists Fuels Speculation Pentagon is Planning a New War," Ottawa Citizen, August 3, 2004.
- "In a Delicate Balancing Act, U.S. Woos Iranian Group in Iraq," Washington Post, November 9, 2003.
- "The Cult of Rajavi," by Elizabeth Rubin, New York Times Magazine, July 13, 2003.
- "Report on the People's Mojahedin of Iran," US State Department Report, 1994.
The People's Mojahedin urges these organizations to correct the record and accurately report on the activities of the MEK and NLA.
New York Times Blunders Repeatedly
Correcting the record about the alleged 1991 suppression of the Kurds by the Mojahedin can be excruciatingly difficult. An example:
In June 2003, Elaine Sciolino, a reporter for the New York Times, wrote a scathing article about the Mojahedin, based on disinformation from Iranian intelligence undercover agents.1 She interviewed Karim Haghi, a MOIS undercover agent who had briefly been a member of the National Liberation Army. He spoon fed disinformation to Sciolino on the Mojahedin's involvement in the Kurdish uprising and fabricated a quote, alleging "Mrs. Rajavi told us to kill them [Kurds] with tanks and try to preserve our bullets for other operations. We were forced to kill both Kurds and Shiites, and I said I didn't come here to kill other people."
The following month, the tank quote was rewritten in an article by Elizabeth Rubin, another New York Times reporter.2 Rubin changed the alleged quote by Mrs. Rajavi to read, "Take the Kurds under your tanks, and save your bullets for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards." While the quote is more pithy, making the change calls into question Rubin's journalistic integrity.
When both articles were published by the NYT, abundant materials were publicly available about Iran's use of undercover intelligence agents - including Haghi - who were spreading disinformation about the Mojahedin. This includes two independent investigations for the United Nations, reports by European intelligence agencies that discussed the use of undercover agents by the MOIS to spread falsehoods about the Mojahedin, and the confession of a former MOIS agent who defected and publicly disclosed his efforts to discredit the Mojahedin by distributing black propaganda alleging the resistance organization participated in suppressing the 1991 Kurdish and Shia uprisings.
So what does Elizabeth Rubin do in 2011? In an opinion editorial for the New York Times, she once again echoes MOIS lies regarding the Kurdish uprising and Mrs. Rajavi's alleged tank quote.3
Incredibly, in the same article, Rubin recounts positive statements by many high ranking public officials in support of the Mojahedin, including Howard Dean; Rudolp Giuliani; Gens. H. Shelton and Peter Pace, both former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Stagg; Wesley Clark, former NATO commander; Gen. James Jones; Louis Freeh, former FBI Director; Dennis Blair and Michael Hayden, former intelligence agents; Bill Richardson, former Ambassador to the United Nations and Governor of New Mexico; Congressman Lee Hamilton, and others.
Many of the officials specifically address the Kurdish allegation and say it is propaganda by the MOIS. Rubin arrogantly ignored their views and assumed they knew nothing, and reprinted the allegation that the "Rajavis and their army joined his [Saddam's] forces in mowing down fleeing Kurds."
In Rubin's mind, government officials, both Republican and Democrats, former high-ranking military leaders with previous access to classified information, US intelligence agents with expertise on Iran and the Middle East, etc. have all been duped by the Mojahedin. But, in fact, it is Rubin and Sciolinio who were suckered by the MOIS.
MOIS Attack Websites
Hardly a day goes by without the MOIS falsely charging on its attack websites that the Mojahedin suppressed the Kurds in the 1991 uprising. By repeating lies over and over, the MOIS seeks to convince the public, government officials, NGOs, and the media that its false allegations are true. Below are examples of disinformation articles distributed by the MOIS:
- "MKO Trained al-Qaeda for Terror Attacks in Iraq Iraq: Iraqi Official," February 9, 2013. (The group is also known to have cooperated with Saddam Hussein in suppressing the 1991 uprisings in southern Iraq and carrying out the massacre of Iraqi Kurds.")
- "Bahrain Regime Aims to use MKO to Suppress Protests: Iran MP," Habilian Association, February 3, 2013. ("The group [MEK] is also known to have cooperated with Saddam in suppressing the 1991 uprisings in southern Iraq and carrying out the massacre of Iraqi Kurds.")
- "MKO Training al-Qaeda Operatives in Iraq," Habilian Association, January 20, 2013. ("The group [MEK] fled to Iraq in 1986, where it was protected by Saddam Hussein and where it helped the Iraqi dictator suppress Shiite and Kurd uprisings in the country.")
- "MKO Terror Group Receives UK Support," Habilian Association, January 9, 2013. ("The group [MEK] also cooperated with Saddam in the massacres of Iraqi Kurds and in suppressing the 1991 uprisings in southern Iraq.")
- "New Additions to State Department Report on MKO," Irandidban.com, (no date). ("Citing reports that showed Maryam Rajavi encouraged members to 'crush Kurds under the tanks....")
- "US Likely to Use Rajavi Again," Irandidban.com, (no date). ("This move by US, coincident with Saddam execution, and regarding wide range cooperation between the MKO and former Baathist regime of Iraq in suppressing Kurds and Shiites in 1991, has received harsh criticism by Iraqi political parties.")
- "Expulsion of Terrorist MKO, an Honor for Iraq," Irandidban.com (no date). ("This organization [MEK] was involved and played a murderous role in suppressing the uprising of Sha-banish in the south and Kurds uprising in the north.")
For more Information on MOIS disinformation, please see: moisdisinformation.com.
1) "Iranian Opposition Movement's Many Faces," New York Times, June 30, 2003.
2) "The Cult of Rajavi," New York Times Magazine, July 13, 2003.
3) "An Iranian Cult and its American Friends," New York Times, August 14, 2011.