Monday, April 18, 2011

Camp Ashraf

The Tehran Times reports that Ali Larijani, Speaker of Parliament, delivered a speech to the legislative body including, "The US had better not make a furhter mockery of its hollow slogan of supporting human rights by pressuring Iraq over its clampdown on the members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO)." Following the US invasion, the US made these MEK residents of Camp Ashraf -- Iranian refuees who had been in Iraq for decades -- surrender weapons and also put them under US protection. They also extracted a 'promise' from Nouri that he would not move against them. July 28, 2009 the world saw what Nouri's word was actually worth. Since that Nouri-ordered assault in which at least 11 residents died, he's continued to bully the residents. April 4th, Iran's Fars News Agency reported that the Iraqi military denied allegations that it entered the camp and assaulted residents. Specifically, Camp Ashraf residents state, "The forces of Iraq's Fifth Division invaded Camp Ashraf with columns of armored vehicles, occupying areas inside the camp, since midnight on Saturday." Friday April 8th saw another attack which the Iraqi government again denied. Thursday April 14th, the United Nations confirmed that 34 people were killed in the April 8th assault on Camp Ashraf. The UN News Center reported over the weekend, "The United Nations mission in Iraq today voiced its deep concern at the recent events that led to the deaths of 34 people at a camp housing Iranian exiles, noting that it has repeatedly urged the Government to refrain from the use of force. The Iraqi military operation on 8 April at Camp Ashraf, located north of Baghdad, also left dozens of people injured. UNAMI (the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq) issued the following statement:

UNAMI reiterates that efforts are needed to stop violence and aim at peacefully resolving all issues.
UNAMI calls for restraint and respect for humanitarian and human rights and urges the Iraqi authorities to provide humanitarian assistance in this regard and access to medical services.
UNAMI's mandate includes the promotion of human rights in Iraq, and the Mission’s Human Rights Office regularly assesses the situation in and around the camp. The UN continues to advocate that Camp Ashraf residents be protected from forcible deportation, expulsion or repatriation contrary to the non-refoulement principle.
Over the past few years the UNAMI and the High Commissioner on Human Rights have been closely monitoring the situation in Camp Ashraf, exploring possible assistance in reaching a resolution that is consistent with Iraq's sovereignty rights, and international law. UNAMI is committed to continue monitoring the situation in the Camp.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch also issued statements concerning the attack and the continued threats on Camp Ashraf. By contrast, Fars News Agency reports, "A senior Iranian military official voiced Iran's pleasure in Iraq's confrontation against the terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), and urged Baghdad to expel the terrorist group from Iraq's soil as soon as possible." 34 unarmed residents killed and that's something to applaud? And Iran wonders why no one takes it seriously on the international stage. Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) observes, "The United States, which is reluctant to publicly criticize Iraqi authorities, has said it is 'concerned' by the report of the deaths." Meanwhile what is Camp Ashraf supposed to do with their dead? AFP reports, "Iraq-based Iranian rebels who lost 34 members in a clash with the Iraqi army this month were barred from burying the dead at a cemetery inside their base, spokesmen for both sides said on Sunday. The People's Mujahedeen of Iran (PMOI) wanted to bury the bodies at a graveyard within Camp Ashraf, which houses around 3,500 opponents of the clerical regime in Tehran, but were prevented from doing so by Iraqi soldiers responsible for securing the camp."

Meanwhile in England, a robe is under way into charges that British soldiers beat an Iraqi. James Millbank (Daily Mail) reports, "An internal probe has begun into the circumstances surrounding the footage. The video was passed to The Mail on Sunday by an Army source, who claims that it was taken by soldiers from the Army’s Intelligence Corps following the killing of six British Military Policemen, known as Red Caps, by an Iraqi mob in 2003, soon after the end of the invasion." The Scotsman adds, "It apparently depicts a 'revenge attack' following the killing of six Royal Military Police - or Red Caps - by a mob in Al Majar Al Kabir, Maysan province in June 2003."

Bonnie notes Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Gayle" went up last night. Today on Law and Disorder Radio (begins broadcasting at 9:00 am EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week), Michael Ratner, Heidi Boghosian and Michael S. Smith speak with Malik Mujahid of the Muslim Peace Coalition about profiling, targeting and other issues; and with attorneys Joey Mogul and Andrea Ritchie about their new book Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States. And don't miss Michael Ratner and Michael Smith noting Heidi's accomplishments at the top of the show.

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