Turning a blind eye on the truth

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The September 1 attack on Ashraf, the murder of 52 people, and the abduction of six others, including six women, has turned into a serious international issue. Unfortunately, due to political motives, the United States is inclined to believe and repeat the ridiculous claims of the Iraqi government pertaining to not having taken part in this crime. On November 13, in the hearing of the US Congress Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. McGurk – who represented the State Department – said, “In that attack there was no fore knowledge from the highest levels of the Iraqi government.”

In the same session, the representatives of the Congress expressed their dissatisfaction at the delays in the investigation on the massacre at Camp Ashraf. Congressman Joe Wilson said, “In 74 days, nothing has been done, let alone an independent investigation. Five attacks have been launched against the residents [of Ashraf and Liberty] and not one person has been arrested.”

Judge Poe, Congressman from Texas, said, “Five attacks on Ashraf and Liberty. Five! Over a period of years. Not one criminal has been brought to justice. Not one!”

In the same hearing, Congressman Rohrabacher said, “Clearly, we are sending a message to Maliki that it’s OK, because we’re not doing anything about it.”

Everyone knows that any investigation should start by speaking to the witnesses, and in any court and judicial process, the most reliable source of information for the judge and the jury is the witnesses. But while the State Department claims that there isn’t any evidence proving that the Iraqi government was involved in the attack, the numerous requests of the PMOI and Liberty residents to interview the 42 survivors of the September 1 massacre have remained unanswered.

Congressman Ted Poe said, “I’m not sure what we’re doing. I now understand that not any of the witnesses have been talked to about the latest attack.”

The survivors of the attack have already given some shocking testimonies about how the Iraqi government was involved. They have given full accounts of how the commander of the Iraqi forces in charge of Camp Ashraf’s security guided the attackers into the camp. They have witnessed how the Iraqi forces silently watched and even opened the way for the vehicles of the murderers as they entered and exited the camp. The witnesses described how the assailants were attired in exactly the same way as the Iraqi Prime Ministry’s Special Forces. And they asserted that General Jamil, the chief of Diyala Police, was present at the camp on the eve of the attack.

Watch full video of survivors’ interviews.

Yet none of the documents, testimonies and material provided by the witnesses has been referred to by the US government or the State Department in any of its reports. The US seems to forget that there are others aside from the Iraqi government who can provide information about the attack, and as with previous attacks on Ashraf and Liberty, it is wont to only listen to the version that the Iraqi authorities – the perpetrators themselves – provide.

In his statements, Assistant secretary McGurk easily disregarded the safety and security of the seven hostages who have been enduring torment in the secret prisons of the Iraqi government for the past three months. He looked very confident when he said, “We can pinpoint where the people are… They are not in Iraq, the 7 people. They are not in Iraq.”

But he says nothing about holding the Iraqi government responsible for the conditions and the fate of the hostages. He ignores the fact that the survivors have clearly seen the assailants abduct the seven hostages and remove them from the camp by passing through the Iraqi forces’ checkpoint. He ignores the letter by Lady Ashton, and the statements by the UNHCR and UNAMI that clearly state the hostages are in Iraq. Moreover, he turns a blind eye on the Urgent Action issued by Amnesty International that declares the hostages are in the hands of the Iraqi government. And he seems to forget that Kamel Amin, the spokesman for the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry, declared on September 13 that the Iraqi government is detaining a number of Camp Ashraf residents.

There is no doubt that Maliki’s government is lying about not being involved in the attack and not having the hostages in his custody.  But there is ambiguity about why the United States has remained silent in this regard. Are political interests worth more than the lives of the seven hostages and hundreds of people who have gone on hunger strike in Liberty and seven other countries since September 1, in protest to US’s silence and inaction?

Does the US State Department ever ponder on the consequences and effects that its silence is having on the lives of innocent human beings?

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