August 25, 2013
Some cult experts believe that it is hard to totally annihilate a cult as they can grow offshoots in the manner of the mythical hydra, for each time one head was cut off, another moved in to replace it. The terrible truth about many of them is that they can easily and immediately adapt, recover and rebuild their organizational setup, rather than withering away, if partly disintegrated or broken into smaller groups. That is mainly because order structure and the authoritatively established system of hierarchy within the organization of cults can guarantee the replacement of a leader and guru in his or her absence and demise. MKO as a terrorist cult is no exception as it is rebuilding its cultic structure in any country its members are being transferred.
When Albanian Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, made the humanitarian offer to take about 210 members of MKO, the offer was at first rejected by the group’s leaders and the group’s propaganda machine kept lashing Mr. Kobler and condemning him for pressing relocation of residents to a country like Albania. Of course, Tirana made the offer under a pressure from the United States that was seeking a sanctuary for the members of the outcast terrorists whom no other country dared to accept. In fact, Albania eagerly accepted the imposed offer since the country pursues imitation of the United States in whatever it represents. Joining NATO a decade after the other former East European communist countries, Albania was granted the right to have a small share in the US’s military enterprise and to send some of its tiny military to missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At first expressing reluctance to accept the offer made by Albania, as the group never agrees to any suggestion ab initio, MKO leaders’ offered two options: “The first option is the immediate, even temporary transfer of all the residents to the US or to a European country, and permanent resettlement from there, or the return of all of the residents to Camp Ashraf and the continuation of the resettlement process from Ashraf, including transfer to Albania from Ashraf.”
But soon the group grabbed at the opportunity as the leaders realized there could be no better option than an immediate transfer to Albania to assess the chances of establishing a new cult bastion there. In contrast to the speculations that the relocation of the insiders would lead to diminish the imposed cultic practices, the current situation and condition of the insiders in Albanian refugee camp uncovers intensified instances of tough cultic practices even in the absence of the chief leaders.
To survive and also to recover, a cult and its leader/s need to isolate his/her followers from outsiders to ensure that the followers will only hear the cult’s propaganda. The isolation from outside influences and provocations protects the cult’s internalized belief system and keeps them away from the outside critical thinking that threatens the cult’s integrity. And MKO has turned Tiran’s refugee camp into another cult milieu just under the eyes of the world to continue the heavily controlled physical and psychological exercises. According to the news leaked out to the world outside, those members transferred to Albania are suffering the very same cult pressures they were going through in cult bastions like Ashraf and Liberty. Shirin Moini, one of the members transferred to Albania, is reported to have managed making a secret contact with her family asking for help. Her family quoted her complaining of having a tough time in the camp because of the intensified cultic control and pressures just under the eyes of the Albanian authorities who keep the asylum seekers in the training camp to educate them before being sent out to continue a free life in the society.
The organizational control and cult-like practices exercised by the MKO at Camp Liberty, and now in Albania, have grown worse than those manipulated against members in Camp Ashraf. MKO leaders know that Liberty and Tirana’s refugee camp are not like Ashraf. They are not isolated, closed locations cut off from the outside world. As a result, the leaders have enhanced the organizational control to prevent defection and the consequent collapse of the cult. What has changed in these places in comparison to Ashraf is that Camp Ashraf was under MKO’s full control and no one could interfere in the organization relations. Unlike there, Liberty and Tiran’s refugee camp are open to and dependent on the outside world and external control. What the members shut up in these camps need is to be kept under the strict supervision of camps authorities and to stop concentration of the members in groupthink residences as it is ongoing as a matter of routine. But first of all the authorities have to be enlightened about the threats and dangers of a terrorist cult now dressed in a pro-democratic camouflage.