Saturday, August 01, 2009

Camp Ashraf

The American-installed government in Iraq has shown its true colours. By fighting its way into an Iraqi camp of Iranian dissidents, possibly killing 11 people in the process, it has earned brownie points in Iran. America disapproved, but its diplomatic intervention was limited to medical assistance.
In the swirl of recent events, the episode has been as bloody as any on the streets of Tehran but has drawn just a fraction of the coverage.

The above is from Damien McElroy's "Iraq kills Iranian dissidents, earning brownie points in Tehran" (Telegraph of London). McElroy goes on to write that Iraq's not kicking out the MEK and that's no longer true. The MEK has been told by Nouri & thugs that they have one month to leave Iraq. Or? Or is left unexplained. In addition, Nouri's 're-branded' Camp Ashraf following the assault which started on Tuesday. He now wants the press to call it the "Camp of New Iraq." The Iranian press is running with it and let's wait and see which domestic outlets are willing to make fools out of themselves by doing themselves.

CNN notes Amnesty International:

Amnesty International said in most cases the "terrorist" designation pinned on the PMOI by most entities -- such as the European Union and other governments -- has been shelved because the group "no longer advocates or engages in armed opposition to the government of Iran."

We'll again note Amnesty International's statement on the assault:

AI Index: MDE 14/021/2009
28 July 2009
Iraq: Camp Ashraf residents attacked
Amnesty International is seriously concerned at today's attacks by Iraqi forces on unarmed residents of Camp Ashraf which left several people injured and led to the arrest of at least eight others.
Hundreds of armed Iraqi security forces are said to have stormed the camp, north of Baghdad, at around 3pm local time. They used tear gas, water canons and batons against unarmed Iranian residents who tried to stop them from entering the camp.
Video footage seen by Amnesty International clearly shows Iraqi forces beating people repeatedly on different parts of the body, including the head. Dozens of people are said to have been injured.
Two of them, Reza Chelcheraqi and Mohammad-Reza Shahsavandi, are believed to be in serious condition. At least eight people, including Hasan Besharati, Humayoun Deyhim, Gholam Reza Behrouzi, Hosein Fili, Mehdi Zareh and Naser Nour Ebadian, were arrested and their current whereabouts are unknown.In the last few months the Iraqi government has publicly stated that it wants to take over full control of Camp Ashraf, in Diyala governorate, north of Baghdad. On 27 July government spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh told an Iraqi satellite television channel that the government "will take over the responsibility of internal security affairs of Camp Ashraf". The authorities are reportedly planning to establish a police outpost inside the camp.
Amnesty International calls on the Iraqi government to investigate the apparent excessive use of force by Iraqi security forces. The government should reveal the whereabouts of the eight people detained and ensure that they are protected from torture or other ill-treatment, as well as from forcible return to Iran.
Around 3,400 residents of Camp Ashraf are members or supporters of the People's Mojahedeen Organization of Iran (PMOI), an Iranian opposition organization whose members have been resident in Iraq for many years. Until recently the PMOI was listed as a "terrorist" organization by the European Union and other governments, but in most cases this designation has now been lifted on the grounds that the PMOI no longer advocates or engages in armed opposition to the government of Iran.The US forces provided protection for the camp and its residents, who were designated as "protected persons" following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but this situation was discontinued following the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the US and Iraqi governments, although the SOFA makes no reference to Camp Ashraf or its residents. Public Document
For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566 or email:
International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW, UK

Christopher Booker (Telegraph of London) observes, "Last week Iraqi government forces stormed the camp, bulldozing buildings, shooting and beating the inhabitants with nailed clubs and axes, leaving at least 12 dead and 400 injured. Despite outcries from the European Parliament and an all-party group of MPs and peers at Westminster, not a squeak of protest has been heard from the British Foreign Office, Brussels or Washington at this flagrant breach of the Geneva Convention."

Today Nouri's government is insisting 22 residents of Camp Ashraf want to leave but the National Council of Resistance of Iran states that is propaganda and that "Ashraf residents declared that the claim is an absolute lie and no one among them since the violent assault by the Iraqi forces has either left Ashraf or requested to do so." NCRI also issued the following statement:

This morning, in a bid to carry out a stage managed theatrics meant to cover up the inhumane crimes in Camp Ashraf, Iraqi forces allowed journalists from some news organizations, such as Reuters, AFP, Associated Press, and al-Arabiya, al-Sharqiya and al-Hurra TV stations as well as the al-Sabah daily to visit Ashraf. The Iraqi forces had planned to concentrate the media on themselves and claim that there is nothing wrong in Ashraf and calm prevails all over the camp.
The reporters, who picked up on the orchestrated attempt, requested to meet with Ashraf residents themselves and see those injured and dead firsthand. However, the Iraqi forces, who are immensely fearful of the media witnessing their crimes, vigorously opposed the request, and while hurling insults and profanities at reporters, confiscated their pictures and videos and forced them out of the camp.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran

August 1, 2009

The following community websites have updated since yesterday afternoon:

Cedric's Big Mix
He's getting his act together and taking it on the road
1 hour ago

The Daily Jot
1 hour ago

Ann's Mega Dub
Camp Ashraf
22 hours ago

Thomas Friedman is a Great Man
Bob and who?
22 hours ago

Mikey Likes It!
My interview with Ann
22 hours ago

Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude
gordo burying the party with him
22 hours ago

Naomi Klein's never helped any woman
22 hours ago

Trina's Kitchen
Peach & Tomato Salad in the Kitchen
22 hours ago

Ruth's Report
Danny Schechter and Jeff Cohen, I spy two fools
22 hours ago

Oh Boy It Never Ends
Bob Somerby scores, Kimmy Wilder projects
22 hours ago

Like Maria Said Paz
Disappointed in FRSN
22 hours ago

Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills)
Jeff Cohen climbs the cross yet again
22 hours ago

The e-mail address for this site is

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends