Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Top U.N. official in Iraq ‘misled’ world on camp for Iranians

The top U.N. official in Iraq directed his staff to cover up the prisonlike conditions of a relocation camp for Iranian dissidents in reports to the world body, said a former U.N. official who has resigned in protest.
In his first interview since leaving his post, Tahar Boumedra told The Washington Times that Martin Kobler, U.N. special representative for Iraq, wanted the dissidents relocated quickly to Camp Liberty, a former U.S. Army base near Baghdad’s airport, and then moved out of Iraq.
Mr. Kobler “misled [the U.N.] headquarters in New York, Washington” and the dissidents about conditions at Camp Liberty in his rush to move them from Camp Ashraf, where they have lived since 1986, said Mr. Boumedra, the former human rights chief at the U.N. mission in Baghdad.
Mr. Boumedra said he “got the shock of my life” when he first visited Camp Liberty in December.
“I had visited a lot of prisons but that place was worse than a prison,” said Mr. Boumedra, an Algerian activist who has promoted human rights and penal reform in North Africa and the Middle East for many years.

Containers that had been used as soldiers’ living quarters were piled high with trash. Doors dangled from their hinges, and windows were smashed.Iraqis vandalized the camp after U.S. troops left, he said, and facilities were in utter disrepair.
Mr. Kobler “asked us to go back and take pictures of the camp and the facilities, and make sure that the most appealing pictures are to be put in a file and presented to the residents and the diplomatic community that, ‘Here is a camp of high standards, meeting all the refugees’ requirements,’” said Mr. Boumedra, who left Iraq in May.
“He asked me, and I underline this, that we make sure that ‘sellable pictures,’ be used,” he said. “I found myself fabricating reports and doctoring pictures in order to mislead my organization, the international community and the Ashrafis.”
About 2,000 of Camp Ashraf’s more than 3,000 residents have been transferred to Camp Liberty under a deal brokered by the United Nations. The first group arrived in February.
The Iranian dissidents and their supporters, including a bipartisan group of lawmakers and former U.S. officials, have complained since January about substandard living conditions at Camp Liberty.
Asked about Mr. Boumedra’s allegations, Mr. Kobler’s office directed questions to the U.N. headquarters in New York.
“It is regrettable that such a distorted picture is being presented of the efforts of the United Nations in Iraq to resolve peacefully the situation of Camp Ashraf,” said Jared Kotler, a New York-based spokesman for the U.N. Department of Political Affairs, which oversees the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq.
Mr. Kotler said the U.N. mission under Mr. Kobler’s leadership has worked “diligently and impartially to facilitate a peaceful solution that respects the rights and concerns of both the residents and the government of Iraq.”
“These efforts are one of the main reasons why this very tense situation has not already spilled over into further violence,” he added.
Dispute over living conditions
Known as the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or MeK, the dissidents sought the overthrow of Iran’s theocratic regime in the early 1980s, and Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein gave them refuge at Camp Ashraf, a base near Baghdad. After Saddam’s overthrow in 2003, U.S. military forces disarmed the dissidents, who renounced violence in 2001.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, an ally of Iran, has sought to shut down Camp Ashraf, which Iraqi forces have attacked several times with deadly results. The dissidents fear that Mr. al-Maliki will turn them over to Iran, where they expect they would be imprisoned, tortured or executed.
The U.N. brokered a deal with Iraqi leaders to move the dissidents to Camp Liberty.
Mr. Boumedra, the lead U.N. official in talks with the Iraqis to close Camp Ashraf, said he advised Mr. Kobler not to accept a memorandum of understanding that came out of those talks because the Iraqis were dismissive of international human rights standards.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Mrs. Clinton: Blacklisting MEK is Illegal; License for Massacre in Iran, Iraq

"No American President wants to see our values tarnished such as we saw in April 2011 and no President wants to go into election with blood on his hands"
General General James Conway, Commandant of the US Marine Corps (2006-2010)
The New York Times published an article by Scott Shane in which 'anonymous' State Department officials once again pop-up to hatch new conspiracies against the MEK (PMOI), the Iranian pro-democracy opposition to the mullahs in Iran. Apart from the hot-air and flawed arguments which sharply contradict official UN reports, realities on the ground have a more rational advice:
One should not go above the law and act as tyrants would expect. It is beneath US values to be entrapped in Tehran's scenario.

Facts contradict FLAWS

The article highlights 
"the groups' refusal to relocate" but fails to shed light on reasons for the deadlock. This will no doubt leave the blame on the MEK, unless readers compare a list of more than 100 breaches of agreement, harassments and looting carried out by the Iraqi government, as well as engineered plots to dismantle the group, under US-UN inaction.
Many reports have been released by wikileaks and recently by the Iranian resistance that revealed complicated plots by Iranian Intelligence and directives involving foreign embassy staff and lately the UNAMI chief Martin Kobler, to make life hard for the dissidents in both camps, in order to stop their opposition against Tehran.
The article blames the victims for being victimized while whitewashing two bloody massacres by the Maliki government condemned in the Spanish Court of justice as crimes against humanity. The article says, "both American and United Nations officials have urged the group to complete the move to avoid further violence."
It is true to say that when one's enemy (Tehran) becomes one's Savior, our paradigm shifts. We lose our sense of direction and morality; the good becomes the bad and victims become villains. Under all this bravado the 'anonymous' State Department 'tippers' would blame the coming massacre on the defenseless refugees who are 'protected persons' and should be secured by the US under R2P laws.
The true intention of the article is not so obscure as the two 'anonymous' State Department officials diffuse annoying antics that lead readers to assume the situation at both camps is "heaven on earth" with more than enough "video-games and sodas" to last all 3400 residents a lifetime.

Reality Besmirched, Conditions Greatly Inhumane

- The Maliki government has breached (1) the agreement it signed without the consent of the residents with the UN.
- On August 10, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention's official report (2) classified "Liberty," where 200 MEK members relocated out of goodwill gesture to pressures by the US-UN, as a 'detention centre' and not a refugee camp. It is therefore, careless of the State Department officials to believe that vociferous pranks could shade over realities.
- On August 10, UN rights experts warned of 'massacre' in Iraq's Ashraf camp. (3)
- Family members of Ashraf residents are being persecuted (4) and on the verge of death (5) because of the US Blacklisting that provides the best alibi for the increasing violence towards MEK prisoners of conscience.
- Unlike claimed "comfort" in Ashraf and Liberty, the Iraqi government is at loggerheads with each request of the residents. Dubious tactics frame the residents for the blame. Therefore, while US-UN observers are present; the Iraqi counterpart valiantly accepts some of the requirements that abide the red lines defined by Tehran. After the agreement, Iraqi officers controlling the camp provided splitting-hair excuses that exhaust the residents and practically make it impossible (6) to retract the agreed needs.
- There are immoral and inhumane sides to the Iraqi degrading treatment of the residents; corpses of some of the deceased residents has not been allowed (7) to be buried, as part of a psychological campaign to demoralize the residents.
It is time for Hillary Clinton to do what is right
It is therefore, a tragic irony and bitter immorality that the US State department wishes to enchain MEK, not because the camps are 'paramilitary' but because the residents are fighting for their privileged rights: generators, refrigerators and the right to stay safe.
It is time for Mrs. Clinton to do what is right and just and not what the 'job' would require. We can write history on both the dark side and the bright side.
Delist the MEK before thousands of our families and relatives are victimized.
Mahin Saremi escaped from Iran, after arranging for her husband's memorial ceremony and seeing her son in Camp Ashraf. She was under surveillance, but escaped before she could be taken to Evin Prison. One of the organisers of the 2009 uprisings, she transferred video clips and news to the outside, avoiding government censorship. Many of her friends are in prison and on trial for Moharebeh.