Open Letter to Microsoft Security Threat Intelligence

September 9, 2022

For the attention of:

Bajram Begaj, President of Albania

Edi Rama, Prime Minister

Bledar Cuci, Minister of the Interior

Nasip Naco, Chairman of the National Security Commission at the Parliament

Microsoft Security Threat Intelligence,

On September 8, 2022, in an article entitled:

Microsoft investigates Iranian attacks against the Albanian government

Your anonymous analyst has alluded that the latest cyber attack against Albania was carried out by Iran. While we are not cyber experts, in your analysis we were impressed by your sentence where you say that:

“The attackers were observed operating outside Iran”

After your allusion that the attackers of the Albanian government websites operated outside Iran, you suggest that:

“This string of events suggests there may have been a whole-of-government Iranian effort to counter the MEK from Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to intelligence agencies, to official press outlets.”

Thanks to your suggestions and allegations, on September 7, 2022, the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, performed an unprecedented act in the modern history of Albania. He broke the diplomatic relations with Iran, expelled the diplomats of the Iranian embassy from Albania, violated the Vienna Convention, violated the Iranian embassy headquarters in Tirana and used the counterterrorism police to abuse and mistreat the diplomatic staff of a foreign country.

As you might know, since 2016 Albania has became a base for a former terrorist organization, the People’s Mojaheden of Iran (also known as the National Council of Resistance of Iran), an organization which as mentioned in your report, carries out cyber attacks against Iran, and according to the Iranian government it does terrorist attacks as well. After hosting the Mojaheden, Albania has become like Afghanistan during the era of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Maryam Rajavi, the head of the Mojaheden cult is the new Osama bin Laden of Europe. As a result of this, Albania has entered into a political-military conflict with Iran, becoming a proxy country for Israel’s war against Islam and Iran, a war which the Albanians have no interest to join!

In your report in the section: “Parallel information operations and amplification” you step outside your field of cyber expertise and pretend to play the expert on espionage. You claim that before the cyber attack, a group of Albanian and Iranian citizens were promoting the thesis of the “Homeland Justice” hacker group. You mentioned the Nejat Non-Governmental Organization from Iran, its president Ebrahim Khodabandeh, the Association for the Support of Iranians Living in Albania (ASILA) and its members: Gjergji Thanasi, Dashamir Mersuli, and Vladimir Veis.

You also mentioned a letter that Olsi Jazexhi and Gjergji Thanasi sent to President Ilir Meta and Albania’s National Security Council on July 23, 2022. In this letter we have asked our government to clarify to the public “whether Albania has entered into a cyber and military conflict with the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Our public letter was related to the concern that we have about the cyber attacks that the Mojaheden army carries from Albania against Iran – something which is criminal and punishable under the Albanian Penal Code – and the cyber attack that happened to Albania by hackers that the Mojaheden friendly Albanian media, Top Channel claimed to be Iranians.

By mention our name you allude that we, Olsi Jazexhi and Gjergji Thanasi are part of the operation to amplify the message of the hackers (which you claim are Iranian). This claim is criminal and unacceptable. We are used to hearing such allegations from the Iranian Mojaheden who have a long history of smearing, character assassination, beating, attacking, detaining and mistreating local and foreign journalists.

We, Olsi Jazexhi and Gjergji Thanasi, would like to reiterate that we are two investigative journalists who have been investigating the criminal presence of the Mojaheden cult in Albania since 2016. We have investigated and have been interviewed by Western and Iranian media such as: The Guardian, the Independent, Al-Jazeera, Channel 4, New York Times, BBC, Press TV, TRT World, etc. We have also given our testimony about the Mojaheden threat to the European Parliament. We have witnessed the mistreatment, human rights abuses, the blackmail against media, threats against businessmen and Albanian state officials that the Mojaheden command has committed in years. We have denounced their criminal activity and will continue to do so even in the future.

If the hackers of Homeland Justice are indeed Iranians, and not some third country actors, and they have propagated our reports, this has nothing to do with us and our investigative work which starts since 2016. Our reports and findings are cited by many Western and Iranian media and we are proud for our investigative work.

We have done and will do our patriotic duty to our homeland, Albania, and to the Albanians for investigating the Mojaheden criminal activity in Albania. We will continue our investigative work against the MEK cult and will expose the human rights abuses that MEK does against its hostages and slave soldiers in its paramilitary camp of Manza.

We strongly reject any attempt to tarnish our image and work by your organization, the Mojaheden cult or any other party.

We are not affiliated with any Iranian security organization or Homeland Justice hackers.

We condemn with contempt the criminal allegations that you have made against us and we will pursue our case in court if the need arises!

Disgusted,

Olsi Jazexhi and Gjergji Thanasi

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