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Interview with Masoud Banisadr on MeK - 02/20/2013 - by Steven Hassan


USED WITH FULL PERMISSION- Q & A with a reporter with Masoud Banisadr (author of Masoud: Memoirs of an Iranian Rebel, SAQI Books, 2004). I have had the pleasure of spending several hours with Masoud. In my professional opinion, the extreme influence (brainwashing) used by this destructive cult to recruit, indoctrinate and maintain control over their members ranks extremely high.

Steve Hassan

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Good afternoon Masoud,

Thanks so much for speaking with me. I think e-mail will work best, so Iâve put my questions below. Just as background, Iâm writing about the potential role that the Peopleâs Mujahedin could have in the current situation in Iran â specifically if supporting the MEK either publically or covertly could be beneficial to the U.S. and Israel, or if it could have an effect â either positive or negative â on Iranâs nuclear program.

- Does funding or training the MEK or MEK operatives make strategic sense for either Israel or the United States? Or is it altogether a bad idea?

- Could the MEK be actively trying to sabotage the Iranian regime and its nuclear program?

- Is it in the United Statesâ interest to de-list the MEK as a terrorist organization?

- What are the negative consequences of supporting the MEK?

- If Israel chooses to launch a military strike against Iran, would the MEK be an important ally for Israel?

- If you donât mind me asking, why did you leave the MEK and what are your views toward the organization now?

- Lastly, is there anything else I need to know, or anyone you think I should talk to?

Thanks again.

Best, reporter

Dear reporter: please find my reply to your questions as below:

First let me answer your final question as it will be a good base for answering your other questions.

My view toward MEK:

In my view MEK since 1985 has changed into a destructive cult, why and how? I have explained it in an article that you can find it in below address. In short, I believe all violent or terrorist groups to survive have no choice but to change into a destructive cult. When in 1981 MEKâs strategy and all its tactics changed into a blind terrorism; to survive, she had no choice but gradually to change into a cult.

http://www.banisadr.info/

Fortunately now days many independent organizations, experts and even governments do agree that MEK has all the characteristics of a destructive cult; for example you can read the RAND report. You can find its full report in below address:

www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG871.html

I believe cults although, to recruit and as a tool of manipulation need to have a doctrine or an ideology, but in reality they only have to principles that followers of the cult are loyal to and are ready to die for:

Survival of the cult with any price
Absolute obedience and loyalty toward the cult leader

To follow these two principles cults internally use different methods of mind manipulation If you like to know more you can read my article on this subject in: www.banisadr.info/Inform.htm and externally they have theorized deceiving of others as part of their doctrine (in a way, I believe all destructive cults, ideologically are hypocrite); in simple word they openly and genuinely believe in âend justifies meansâ. Or in another word as Chameleon, they can change color in mater of few hours or even minutes due to circumstances or their immediate or long term interests.

After Iranian revolution, late seventies and early eighties MEK could change from a guerrilla (or terrorist organization according to different peopleâs definition) into a popular political group attracting thousands of young people. But after moving back to terrorism, ignoring and violating peopleâs ethics, beliefs and principles, especially working with Iraqâs president, Saddam Hussein after the incursion of Iraq into Iran, they lost all their support inside Iran and as matter of fact in public view they changed into a traitor organization. Although they have about 3400 members in Iraq and another few thousands supporters in Europe and America, talking with any other Iranian (pro or against Iranian government, inside or outside of Iran) you can find out that, they are very much hated among Iranian and this is why no other opposition group (inside or outside or Iran) is ready to work with them.

Average age of MEK members is about 45, and since they were disarmed by Americans in 2003, I can say majority of their members are too old and untrained for any real and effective military activities. Saying this, doesnât mean that they cannot change back into a terrorist, able to kill few more soft targets, such as Iranian scientists.

- Does funding or training the MEK or MEK operatives make strategic sense for either Israel or the United States? Or is it altogether a bad idea?

First; MEK is a destructive cult, to be a cult means, they always pursue their own specific interest. They might be useful in one occasion or another, but as a whole as they are not loyal toward any norms, ethics, principles or mutual agreement (except those two values of all destructive cults, mentioned above) like Al Qaeda, they cannot be trusted. Therefore strategically I believe it is not in the interest of anybody or any country to trust, not only the MEK but any destructive cults and should take note that any cooperation with them might soon change into their own nightmares as cooperation of the United States with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan during Sovietâs occupation, ended with the 9/11.

Second; I have to separate your question in two parts first about Israel and then United States; as I think their interest on Iran, while due to lobby of AIPAC, it seems are the same, strategically are different.

I genuinely think and feel, if the United States accepts the era of Shah has gone forever and recognizes Iran as it is; not only strategically they can live in peace with each other but also they might even change into a close allies (Well if you ask me why, then I have to write an essay, explaining culture of Iranian that is totally different from its western Arab neighbors or its civilization and its social and scientific progress which is different from its eastern and northern neighbors â¦) . However, even if the United States against its own interest and just for sake of tactical interest of Israel decides to work against present regime in Iran, it is against its own interest to capitalize on a group that, is a destructive cult, is like a balloon that looks big from without (because of sophistication of its propaganda tools) but empty from within; hated among Iranian and has no chance of gaining any support among them (Inside or outside of the country. Please donât be deceived by MEKâs propaganda tricks including moving their two to three thousands members and supporters from one country to another or use of other nationalities in their gatherings for show of support among Iranian. Iranâs population is about 75 Million and there are more than two million Iranian who live in the United States and perhaps another million who live in Europe).

For Israel, again if you are talking about strategic interest of Israelis, I feel and think their long term interest is in reaching to some kind of agreement with Palestinians and live with them in peace, coexistence and cooperation. In this case I think even present regime of Iran, not only is not an obstacle, but even can help both sides to reach to long lasting peace and friendship (As Jews have lived in Iran for thousands of years in peace and harmony with their Zoroastrian, Muslim and Christian neighbors). But if you are talking about government of Israel and especially its present extreme right wing government, although in the past they have used MEK for example for announcing Israelâs findings about Nathans enrichment site (where no other Iranian opposition group agreed to do this job) and they might have used them for assassination of Iranian scientists, still I think trusting a cult is not a good idea. Capitalizing on people who are under mind control of a destructive cult; all of them live in a psychological isolation and more than half of them have to live both in psychological and physical isolation from the wider society to remain loyal to the group and its leader, is very bad idea even for present government of Israel. I am sure they can find younger and more loyal mercenaries to do their dirty job rather than cooperating with MEK.

Final word on this question; I genuinely think any cooperation of either the West, the United States or Israel with MEK is only beneficial to Iranian Regime in showing to Iranian; against all claims of the West for being supportive of Human Rights, Democracy and being against Terrorists, what kind of people they are supporting and what kind of government they are hoping to establish in Iran.

- Could the MEK be actively trying to sabotage the Iranian regime and its nuclear program?

It is more than thirty years that they are trying to harm Iran, and have not done much except terrorizing and killing few thousands soft targets and manipulating and deceiving few reporters and members of parliaments of Western countries. If during Sadam Hussein, when they were much younger, more united, and could benefit from unlimited resources of Iraq, including money, arms, and training, still couldnât do much against Iran, or sabotaging any activity of Iran; it is very difficult to imagine they can do anything effective now.

- Is it in the United Statesâ interest to de-list the MEK as a terrorist organization?

I wish all countries including the United States had a law against destructive cults; then there was no needs to have a law against terrorist groups as all terrorist organizations, to survive eventually have to change into a destructive cult. Please donât forget that all destructive cults cannot be trusted for what they claim they are, and all of them can violate all civilized norms and ethics to survive.

But as for now no country except perhaps France has such a law, de listing MEK in my view is a very bad idea. It will damage US claims of being against terrorists, or supportive of democratic groups (at least among Iranian); gives legitimacy to a destructive cult that violates all rights of its members; and damages long term relation between Americans and Iranian people. I feel it even might damage USâs prestige among Iranian, as bad as 1953 CIAâs coup dâétat in Iran.

- What are the negative consequences of supporting the MEK?

I guess I answered it above.

- If Israel chooses to launch a military strike against Iran, would the MEK be an important ally for Israel?

How?! I cannot see it. When we are talking about Israelâs military strike, we are only are talking about its Air strike and in this case they donât need any people in the country as they have all the satellite plan of Iranian nuclear sites. Israel knows very well that with one, two or few even successful air strike against Iran, she cannot destroy nuclear activities of Iran; therefore I feel their aim would be to force Iran into a reaction which eventually will force the United States into war against Iran. In this case neither MEK, nor any other opposition groups are useful for either the US or Israel as Iraqis opposition groups were useless when the real war started against Sadam Hussein. For sure in this scenario all Iranian, including Iranian oppositions (inside and outside of Iran) will support present Iranian government.

- If you donât mind me asking, why did you leave the MEK and what are your views toward the organization now?

If you ask those who leave destructive cults, you might receive different answers. They might claim, suddenly they realized how bad they are; how manipulating they are; how much they deceive ordinary people for soliciting money or else; ⦠in case of MEK, I have met those who claim; they suddenly realized that the organization is a traitor toward Iranian people, collaborating with Iranian enemies; or left them when they collaborated with Sadam Hussein, in suppressing and killing Iraqi Kurds, ⦠But my sincere and honest answer is: I left them as I couldnât change myself anymore and give them the reminder of my own personality, identity and individuality.

Between 1978, when, we (I and my ex wife) became MEKâs supporter till 1996 when I escaped, through use of different techniques of mind manipulation I was forced to give them whatever they asked me; first any capital or material things we had; then any love, attachments or relation we had with our country, our family and friends in Iran; then when they asked all members to divorce their spouses, I lost love of my life, my dear wife and could not see my children for almost six years; I lost part of my health, and many times were on the edge of dying for them. Then in final stage of their system of mind manipulation, they asked us to divorce ourselves, our identity and personality; I tried and lost big part of it, but couldnât do more so I escaped. I honestly cannot understand or accept claims of others who say they realized this or that so they left, as I think those who are under mind manipulation of a destructive cult, have no chance of seeing or realizing what they are doing or saying, to reject it. Only when they escape, by chance or due to inability to give what cults wants them to do more; and only after years of hard work they might be able to realize what has happened to them and what have they done for the cult.

- Lastly, is there anything else I need to know, or anyone you think I should talk to?

I guess I have said more than enough and perhaps by now, have given you a headache.

Best wishes Masoud