The article, penned by Patrick Kingsley, contains numerous statements that have been proven to be false, including the MEK’s supposed stand-off with the US army during the 2003 Iraq War, something that the MEK, the State Department, and senior commanders of the Coalition Forces in Iraq have all denied. These lies come straight from the regime and its agents.
Kingsley also tried to pretend that people aren’t allowed to visit the MEK headquarters, despite numerous publically accessible accounts of visits by politicians and journalists, including The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Euro News, the President of Albania, and some 350 political personalities and parliamentarians from 47 countries in July 2019 alone. Does he think the people who read his article are stupid?
And why would anyone take the regime’s word on the MEK? The MEK has been the primary victim of the MEK with over 100,000 of its members and supporters murdered by the regime since 1979 and the regime planning terrorist attacks against them in Albania.
In their response, the MEK wrote: “The truth is that MEK members are highly educated and have consciously and voluntarily decided to sacrifice everything, to establish democracy and human rights in Iran…. This is a source of honor and pride, which cannot be tarnished by the slanders and lies spread by the mullahs or repeated by some western media outlets. This honor underpins the MEK’s widespread support among the Iranian people because they see that MEK members do not want anything for themselves.”
Kingsley contacted the media spokesman of the MEK, Shahin Gobadi, on January 13 to arrange a visit to the MEK headquarters of Ashraf-3 in Albania for interviews with MEK members. He noted that his visit was scheduled for January 20, which was granted.
However, he turned up on January 18. Now, many politicians, businesses, or other organizations the world over would have turned him away, saying that this wasn’t the time he’d scheduled. Kingsley himself would have done this to anyone who wanted a meeting with him. But the MEK let him in after he said that he’d already been in Albania for three days and planned to leave the next day.
He spent a total of nine hours in Ashraf-3, from 5 pm until 2 am, where he was allowed to walk about freely and speak privately to whoever he wanted. He refused to come back the next day or on a subsequent trip despite the offer by the MEK, but a Times photojournalist came several days later and spent the day taking photographs with no restrictions.
Yet, in the article, Kingsley describes a “shadowy” and “tightly guarded” camp, where he saw at most 200 residents, while the others were “sequestered away” or have “left the group altogether”.
It is laughable that a man who shows up two days early, during what would be most people’s dinner time and stayed only until the early hours should expect to be greeted by all of Ashraf-3’s 3000+ residents. Did he not imagine that they were having dinner or working or trying to sleep or just inside out of the cold January weather? Maybe, of course, he thinks himself so important that people should have come out to stand in the cold to watch him arrive as if he is a famous rockstar.
The MEK joked in their response to the article, that one could no more claim the residents of Berlin “have been sequestered away” or “have left altogether”.
Kingsley claimed that his meetings with Resistance officials and private interviews with residents were “propaganda sessions”, but still in his 1,693-word article, the MEK is directly quoted with just 38 words. So, who is doing the censorship?
The MEK wrote: “This is a development that should be censured, especially in circumstances where the Iranian people have risen to overthrow the mullahs and establish democracy. It is no coincidence that as soon as the article was published, media outlets belonging to the various factions of the religious fascism ruling Iran… jubilantly took turns to relay this piece. They portrayed the article as verification of the claims they have been making all along against the main opposition. Coincidences are rare in politics.”