To determine whether each MeK member should be detained or Classified as eligible for release, coalition forces had to obtain answers to several questions.
15 The MeK during Operation Iraqi Freedom
• detain—potential prosecution
• detain—security threat/risk
• detain—potential intelligence value
• Release-eligible. 22
The legal status decision remained with DoD. According to an officer involved in the process, the purpose of this determination was to eliminate the MeK organization in Iraq.23 It is not evident how placing MeK members into one of these categories would achieve this goal, particularly since no action was taken to break up the MeK organization.
To determine whether each MeK member should be detained or Classified as eligible for release, coalition forces had to obtain answers to several questions:
• Did they present a serious, current risk of violence or destabilization?
• Had members of the MeK committed belligerent acts against coalition forces?
• Had they committed terrorist acts in the past? Were they still committing terrorist acts?
• Could any of them be prosecuted for crimes or used in prosecutions under U.S. law, particularly for the murders of Americans in Tehran?
• Were rumors that the MeK was storing Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) accurate?
22. 530th Military Police Battalion, 2004. Any actual release or transfer decision could not be made by the board, only by the Secretary of Defense or a designee (U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2008; Headquarters, U.S. Departments of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, 1997).
23. One expression of U.S. goals regarding the MeK is contained in a May 22, 2003, diplomatic note from the U.S. Embassy in London to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which states that the “policy of the [U.S. Government] is to eliminate the PMOI’s [MeK’s] ability and intent to engage in terrorist activity and to prevent its reconstitution as a terrorist organization.”
The note, dated almost two weeks after the May consolidation Agreement, incorrectly indicated that the coalition was still “in the process of obtaining the surrender of” the MeK (quoted in Lord Alton of Liverpool and Others v Secretary of State for the Home Department, 2007).