How will history judge you, President Obama?

 

Chamberlain shakes hands with Hitler
Chamberlain shakes hands with Hitler

By Hameed Orayzi, hunger striker in camp Liberty

I am one of the hundreds of Camp Liberty residents who, along with other Iranians across the world, are on hunger strike voicing protest against the brutal massacre that Iraqi forces conducted against the residents of Camp Ashraf on September 1st, killing 52 and abducted seven others.

We were abandoned in the hands of Iraqi forces when the US entrusted our security to Iraqi government. It was a clear violation of obligations, because US had already promised us that it would provide our protection. Since then, the Iraqi government staged 5 massacres against us, innocent refugees who had fled Iran and the mullahs’ atrocities 26 years ago and had come to Ashraf, seeking a peaceful life.

Since we began our hunger strike, we have been asked many times about why we’ve made that decision, whether such a course of action is logical, or isn’t there any other option. The answer becomes clear when one reviews the facts and realities that surround our situation.

We have been attacked by the Iraqi forces on five accounts as a direct result of US and UN’s failure in fulfilling their commitments, the last one being the horrible September 1, 2013 massacre. 112 innocent human beings have lost their lives in these attacks. Seven hostages, six of whom are women, are still in the custody of Al-Maliki’s government and face the threat of extradition to Iran. The rest of us, currently residing in Camp Liberty, are under the constant threat of missile attacks and raids by Iraqi forces. Yet the US and UN continue to remain indifferent.

After being betrayed by those who had given their word to protect your life, then life itself becomes be the last means to have your voice heard. After having become subject to all these crimes and betrayals, the question is, “What is to be done?”

The answer is clear. I have to endanger my life to wake the international community from its slumber. The US and UN are responsible for anything that befalls the hostages or the hunger strikers.

As an Iranian who spent many years in US as a college student, my message to president Obama is, “How much more innocent blood is must be shed for you to change your failed course of action?

“I call on President Obama to honor the values that the pioneers of your nation fought for and make the right decision. Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, whom you’ve invited to the White House, is responsible for the death of my colleagues and is holding the hostages in his custody. Refrain from accepting him in your office before the hostages are released. Not doing so will give him and the mullahs in Iran the cue to stage further massacres against us.

“If any further killings happen in Liberty, the Iranian people never forgive you. Take my word: history never makes mistake, it is the best judge. History has already judged Neville Chamberlain, the UK Prime Minister, who shook hands with Hitler and, in consequence, fifty million people lost their lives.

“How will history judge you, President Obama?”

Hameed Orayzi, hunger striker in Camp Liberty
Hameed Orayzi, hunger striker in Camp Liberty

Hameed Orayzi, resident of Camp Liberty, was a student in Louisiana State University (LSU) medical school before deciding to join the PMOI in the struggle for freedom, a choice he made after becoming aware of the suppression and mass executions carried out by the mullahs ruling Iran.

Call on President Obama not to meet with a Murderer and Kidnapper

Statement by OMCT regarding Camp Liberty protection and seven Camp Ashraf hostages

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Press Release – For immediate release

Brussels-  29 October 2013

It has gone 58 days since the criminal attack on Camp Ashraf north of Baghdad when 52 defenceless Iranian refugees were savagely executed by Iraqi Special Forces under command of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on 1 September and seven more including six women were taken hostage. A UN report noted that many victims had been handcuffed before being shot in the head. Wounded refugees were finished-off with coup de graces in the camp’s clinic.

While evidence footage, witness accounts and technical data leave absolutely no doubt that Iraqi government was directly involved in this criminal attack which involved hundreds of uniformed Iraq soldiers, two hours of shootings and explosions in a camp that was surrounded and protected 24/7 by Iraqi forces, Maliki has astonishingly claimed to have no knowledge at all of who committed the crime or where the hostages have been taken!

According to reliable reports, the hostages who are being held in Baghdad, have been interrogated and tortured.

The European Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution on 10 October urging “the immediate and unconditional release” of the Ashraf hostages by Iraq. Last week over 150 members of the European Parliament, including 6 vice-presidents called on EU’s leadership “to make Iraq fulfil this demand.”

For the past 58 days, Iranian families and supporters of Camp Ashraf residents have been on hunger strike in many cities of the world including London, Berlin, Geneva, Melbourne, Ottawa and in Camp Liberty. They insist to continue their protest until the seven hostages from Camp Ashraf are released and safely returned to their families and friends and until the protection of the 3000 refugees in camp liberty from further attacks by Iraq is guaranteed by the UN.

US President is set to meet with Maliki in the White House on 1st November 2013. The World Organisation Against Torture – European Office (OMCT-Europe) calls on President Obama not to meet with a murderer and a kidnapper who has been indicted by Spanish court for his previous crimes against Iranian refugees in Iraq.

Unless Maliki releases the seven hostages and allows an independent international investigation to be conducted into the 1 September massacre and previous killings by Iraqi forces, any meeting would damage Obama’s credibility on human rights and tarnish the Peace prize that he received in the beginning of his first term.

The EU should also play its role. The lack of action by High Representative Baroness Ashton and by her External Action Services to release the hostages in Iraq is regretful.  EU should also call for a peacekeeping force to protect the remaining 3000 asylum-seekers and refugees at Camp Liberty from further attacks by Iraqi forces until they are moved to safe countries.

Pierre Galand, President of OMCT-Europe

Brussels, 29 October 2013

 

 

President Obama, Stay True to Your Word

By Majeed Mohades, Camp Liberty

broken-promise

The humanitarian crisis surrounding the dangerous and critical situation of residents of Camp Liberty continues, with hundreds of them being on hunger strike since September 1st.

The upcoming visit of Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, from Washington, DC, and his meeting with President Obama scheduled for November 1 only aggravates the situation.

Nearly two months have passed from the day the Iraqi forces attacked Camp Ashraf. On September 1st, they savagely murdered 52 of the defenseless residents of the camp. In the course of the same attack, the assailants abducted seven of the camp’s residents – including six women. Reliable documents and accounts given by eyewitnesses at the scene indicate that the attack was conducted by Iraqi forces who were acting upon the orders of the Iraqi Prime Minister and at the behest of the Iranian regime.

Documents obtained from inside Iran clearly prove that the seven hostages are in Iraq, in prisons controlled by Nouri al-Maliki. The Iraqi government is constantly denying the facts and has deceived the international community – particularly the United States and United Nations, who are responsible for the protection of the residents of the camp and especially the seven hostages.

On October 10, the European Parliament passed a resolution about “Recent Violence in Iraq”, in which it strongly condemned the September 1st attack on Ashraf. According to Ms. Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union, there is reason to believe that the seven hostages are being kept in Baghdad and the parliament calls for their immediate and unconditional release.

Of the assurances and guarantees given by the United States officials and the United Nations regarding the protection of the residents, none have been fulfilled to date.

In protest, since September 1st, hundreds of Camp Liberty residents are on hunger strike, demanding the immediate release of the seven hostages and the provision of Camp Liberty’s security by UN Blue Helmets. The second month of their hunger strike is coming to a close and their health conditions are deteriorating at an accelerating pace.

The issue is not solely a humanitarian one. Senator Robert Menendez, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. Senate told Under Secretary of State Ms. Wendy Sherman, who had been attending a Senate hearing on October 3, that if the security of Camp Liberty residents isn’t provided and the hostages are not released, the Senate will be reconsidering its aid to the Iraqi government. There have been similar calls by European Parliament in a recent resolution.

The residents of Liberty on hunger strike call on President Obama to stay true to his word and fulfill the promises of protection. They believe that Obama must put pressure on the Iraqi government for the freedom of the seven hostages before allowing Maliki to step foot inside the White House.

 

Broken Pledges come at the Cost of Innocent Lives

By Touba Bozorgmehr, hunger striker in Camp Liberty

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I write these lines, hoping that a freedom-loving soul might hear my call. The realities are much harsher than words can describe.

It is nearly two months that I am on hunger strike along with hundreds of Camp Liberty residents. While flesh melts away from our bones and our health deteriorates at an accelerating pace, we are more determined than ever to continue our hunger strike to free seven of our companions, hostage in the hands of Iraqi security forces.

It might be hard to believe that a human being can go sixty days without eating a bite. But we have pledged to embrace every hardship that we meet in the path to achieve freedom and democracy for the Iranian people, a struggle that we started years ago.

Why are we enduring such suffering and pain? one might ask. The fact is, on September 1st, Iraqi PM Al-Maliki’s forces raided Camp Ashraf at the behest of Iranian regime and brutally murdered 52 of my brothers and sisters. Despite previous warnings by the residents and dignitaries across the world, nothing was done to prevent it. At this very moment, seven other are held hostage in the notorious prisons of the Iraqi government, and their lives are in danger. Again, despite international appeals for their release, nothing has been done to save them.

Truly, who is responsible? A plethora of official documents and written statements, oral pledges and assurance all say that the US and UN were directly responsible for preventing the massacre in camp Ashraf, and are responsible for the safety of the hostages. US and UN both have guaranteed in written documents that they are protecting the residents under the Fourth Geneva Convention and UNHCR considers them as “people of concern” in need of international protection. Why haven’t they done anything so far? What is more important than the lives of innocent human beings? I guess that is a question that President Obama and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon must answer.

But what is undeniably evident is that they’ve failed in their commitments to the residents of Ashraf and Liberty: We have been betrayed, and not for the first time. And when we all expected the US government to put pressure on the Iraqi government to release the hostages, we had to hear that Maliki was invited to meet with President Obama in the White House, a definite legitimizer for his previous and future crimes.

Hence the only options that we have left is to either remain silent and allow Maliki’s government to take advantage of US and UN’s idleness to annihilate the rest of us in order to satisfy the Iranian regime; or to go on hunger strike as a last option to have our voices heard.

These crimes must stop. The murder of innocents must stop. These betrayals must stop. And when political interests try to cast a shroud of silence on the atrocities of September 1st and the ongoing injustice regarding the seven hostages and the residents of Camp Liberty, it is only our solidarity that can break the silence and wake these gentlemen from their slumber. That is why I write these lines, hoping those who read it will stand with me to save human lives and restore the dignity and respect of Human Rights.

President Obama must not dishonor the American people by opening the doors of his office to a man who holds seven hostages in his custody and is accountable for the murder of more than a hundred defenseless refugees in Ashraf. President Obama must put pressure on Maliki to release the seven hostages. Not doing so will jeopardize the lives of the remaining residents of Camp Liberty.

150 MEPs Call for the Release of 7 Hostages Abducted by Iraqi Forces

europarliament-395On October 24, 2013, in a statement, more than 150 members of the European Parliament called for the immediate release of the 7 Camp Ashraf hostages abducted by the Iraqi forces on September 1.

The text follows.

Free the Seven Camp Ashraf Hostages


It has been more than 50 days since the criminal attack on Camp Ashraf in Iraq when 52 defenseless Iranian refugees were brutally executed by the Iraqi army on 1 September and seven more including six women were taken hostage.
The European Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution on the situation in Iraq on 10 October which explicitly referred to this tragedy and called for the “immediate and unconditional release” of the seven hostages.
Supporters and relatives of the Ashraf residents have been on hunger strike since the attack in several locations including in London, Geneva, Berlin, Ottawa, Melbourne and Camp Liberty. Many of them have now entered a critical phase after 8 weeks of refusing to eat food. Their demand is the same as the European Parliament’s resolution that the hostages must be immediately released and returned safely to their families.
We call on Baroness Ashton, President Barroso, President van Rompuy and EU member states to take immediate action to make Iraq fulfill this demand; any further loss of life is unacceptable. We also repeat our call for a full and independent investigation into the 1 September massacre and for the results to be made public immediately. The UN should send peacekeepers to protect the remaining 3000 residents at Camp Liberty from further attacks by Iraqi forces.

Silence Encourages Criminals to Commit More Crimes

By Shahriar Kia published on NewsBlaze

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victims of massacre at camp Ashraf by Al-Maliki's government, September 1, 2013
victims of massacre at camp Ashraf by Al-Maliki’s government, September 1, 2013

It is painful to see people suppressed for defending freedom and democracy, and even more so to see those who claim to defend freedom close their eyes and remain silent. Does any reason justify trampling the people’s right to struggle for freedom, or to close one’s eyes on the values marked by the United Nations’ charter and the US Declaration of Independence?

Today, it is more infuriating than ever to see silence and inaction in the face of injustice and crimes against humanity; it is outrageous to see values established with hard toil and sacrifice being betrayed.

Many normally influential people have put pressure on the Obama administration and State Department, but still nothing has been done.

Betraying Human Rights With Silence

Can the murder of 52 innocent Iranian dissidents in camp Ashraf and the abduction of 7 others – including six women – on September 1st be anything other than a violation of Human Rights? How about the forced eviction of the other 3000 Iranian refugees to a prison in Baghdad, pathetically named “Liberty?” And leaving the residents of camps Ashraf and Liberty at the mercy of their murderers, is that not betraying Human Rights?

While the seven hostages are still in his custody, the man responsible for the repeated attacks on camps Ashraf and Liberty is on his way to visit President Obama in the White House.

A Question For Mr. Obama

Mr. Obama, while the children of the hostages are restlessly waiting to see their loved ones released, what will you say to Maliki at the White House?

What Happens After The US Disarms People

In 2003, the United States government delivered an official letter to each of camp Ashraf’s residents, and in accordance the Fourth Geneva Convention, pledged to protect them until their final disposition, in exchange for the delivery of their arms, their only means for self-defense.

The United States issued an ID card for each of the residents, designating them as protected persons. On the back of the card is a phone number belonging to the American forces, and the card holder can call that number at any time he is in need of protection. But in moments of need, the residents’ calls were never answered.

Obama Surrenders Protected People To Their Enemies

Despite warnings raised by the residents of Ashraf, in 2009, Obama’s United States government surrendered the protection of the camp to the Iraqi government. Since then, the residents have been subject to five deadly attacks by Iraqi forces against camp Ashraf and camp Liberty.

On the dawn of September 1st, 2013, the bullets of Iraqi forces tore into the bodies of Ashraf’s residents and dropped them one by one, while their hands were cuffed behind their backs. The bullets were being fired from the weapons of the very people who had assumed responsibility for the camp’s protection from the Americans in 2009. The commitments and guarantees that the United States had given for their protection were neglected.

The residents said, “Our trust has been betrayed.”

Breach Of Trust By U.S. Government

Sid Ahmed Ghozali, the former Prime Minister of Algeria, points at the history and culture of the American society, saying, “For the American people, even shaking hands in business brings responsibility.” Remaining committed and staying true to promises is a sacred value. Muslims value pledges, and to break one’s promise is strongly reproached. The crime that was committed in Ashraf was a breach of the US government’s promise, and it had a negative impact on Muslims across the Middle East.

Even though the Iraqi forces that attacked Ashraf were trained by the US army, they received their orders from Prime Minister Al-Maliki, who himself carries out the policies of the Iranian regime in Iraq.

During her speech in a conference in Paris on October 19, Mrs. Linda Chavez, former White House Director for Public Liaison and the president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, said, “Those of us who believe in freedom, those of us who believe in the right of self-determination, should say ‘enough!’ The mullahs in Iran have directed their complicit friends in Iraq to slaughter innocents and this cannot stand.”

The crime against humanity that took place in Ashraf on September 1st was so horrible that Maliki doesn’t even dare admit having committed it, and, by spreading lies and falsifications, he has tried to falsely convince the international community that he had no part in it.

In his speech in Paris, Governor Ed Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania and leader of the Democratic Party, said, “And would anybody with half brain think that the Maliki government was not responsible for the September 1 attack?”

“They were the perpetrators,” he added, “and there’s an independent study coming out by a human rights group very, very soon that will show conclusively that the Maliki government was the perpetrator.”

Seven Ashraf Hostages In Maliki Forces Custody

After 54 days, the seven hostages abducted from camp Ashraf are still in the custody of Maliki’s forces in Iraq. They are facing the serious threat of being extradited to Iran, where they will be undoubtedly tortured and executed. In response to the international appeals to put pressure on the Iraqi government for the freedom of the hostages, The United States and United Nations have chosen to remain silent. The United States and the United Nations are oddly inclined towards believing that the story of the hostages is over and they are no longer in Iraq.

To this day, no investigation has been conducted on the massacre of 52 people in Ashraf. It’s been 54 days since hundreds of people in camp Liberty and in five countries, including Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Australia, started on hunger strike for the freedom of the hostages and assurances for the security of the residents of camp Ashraf.

Obama To Welcome Maliki The Perpetrator, To White House

Maliki is going to Washington at the end of October to visit Obama. How can one fathom that the man who is responsible for crimes in Ashraf and Liberty will be welcomed in the White House? Before such a meeting, President Obama must put pressure on Maliki to release the hostages, and an impartial committee must be assembled to investigate and clearly present the perpetrators of the September 1st massacre and have them brought to justice.

Silence in the face of criminals only encourages them to commit more crimes.

What is my share of happiness in this world?

by Hanif Garmabi, hunger striker in camp Liberty

Hanif Garmabi and his father, Abbas, in camp Ashraf
Hanif Garmabi and his father, Abbas, in camp Ashraf

I send this message to all awakened conscience and advocates for humanitarian values, and to all those who wish to live in a world free from suppression and filled with happiness.

What could be my share of joy and happiness in this world? What have I possibly done wrong to be condemned to spend most of my life under threat?

I spent my childhood in Iran, under the constant persecution and interrogation of Mullahs’ suppressive forces, just because my parents were with the Iranian opposition. I lived in conditions where every knock on the door and the sound of every footstep could herald my death. Simultaneously, I was always worried about my beloved parents because I heard the news about the ominous plots of the terrorist agents the mullahs dispatched to Iraq, where my parents lived.

Finally, after years of being distanced from my family, the painful separation came to end and I found joy and happiness when I joined my parents. This happiness did not last too long and was violently brought to an abrupt end when, on September 1st, Iraqi security forces killed my father and abducted my mother by the order of Prime Minister Al-Maliki and at the behest of the Iranian regime.

Again, my share of emotions was sadness and grief. My heart broke when I saw the image of my father lying on the clinic bed, shot in the head. Knowing that the same criminals hold my mother hostage only adds to the pain.

Abbas Garmabi, Hanif's father, shot in the head while lying wounded on a hospital bed in Ashraf's clinic
Abbas Garmabi, Hanif’s father, shot in the head while lying wounded on a hospital bed in Ashraf’s clinic

The betrayal of promises by the US and UN is salt to my wounds.

The UN Secretary General and the President of United States are both winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. Truly, what has been my share of their contribution to peace and humanity?

It’s been 54 days that the death of my father and the abduction of my mother tear me apart. But none of these Nobel Prize winners stepped forth for the freedom of my mother, and their silence is only paving the way for her extradition to Iran and her torture and execution by the mullahs.

So, when those who are morally and legally responsible refrain from standing up to their obligations, what other choice do I have than to have my voice heard through my hunger strike?

I reach out to all who read this article. I trust you. I trust all those who are the voice of the oppressed. I share my pain with you to ease the burden. I rely on you, I rely on your cries for justice, and if I still have hope for my mother’s freedom, it is because pure and freedom-loving human beings are standing by my side.

Hence I call on you to join me in my struggle, to shout this injustice to waken those responsible from their slumber.

At the end of the day, this stream of purity and empathy, however thin it might seem, will finally scour through the thickness of injustice.

What truly is my share of happiness in this world? It is the knowledge that there are people out there who actually care, and no matter the thousands of miles that might distance us, they will rise and do everything they can to help those whose lives are at stake.

So, please, raise your voices and call for the freedom of my mother and six other hostages.