Sunday, August 21, 2016

ADME's Open Letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

          Americans for Democracy in the Middle-East             The basis of a democratic state is liberty.   Aristotle                                                 
 January 3, 2011 

 Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton                                               
 Secretary of State                                                                                                            US Department of State                                                                                        2201 C Street NW                                                                                                 Washington, DC 20520

Dear Madam Secretary:

We are contacting you because of an issue of great concern. We wish to call your attention to the ongoing human rights abuses and steadily deteriorating conditions in Camp Ashraf, Iraq. Ashraf is home to 3,400 members of the Iranian opposition group, the Peoples’ Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) to whom we gave a pledge of protection in 2004. About a year and a half ago, on July 28-29, 2009, at the behest of the Iranian regime of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, Ashraf was attacked by the Iraqi police and Special Forces—in violation of Iraq’s December 2008 pledge to the United States to protect the camp and its residents. Following its attack on Ashraf, the Iraqi government re-imposed an embargo on the camp, denying its residents water, food, oil and medical supplies, something that has been going on for the last two years. So too, upon Nouri al-Maliki’s orders, physicians have been denied access to the camp; its residents have been prevented from seeking medical treatment in Baghdad. Recently, on December 10, 2010, a cancer patient, Medhi Fathi, a long-time resident of Ashraf, died due to being prevented by the Iraqis from receiving necessary treatments. In addition, the Iraqi police—in a tactic of psychological warfare—have installed 140 loudspeakers throughout the camp which they use to broadcast Iranian propaganda at very high volume around the clock.

Now, over this past weekend, the Iraqis have once again invaded the camp and are threatening to expel its residents and return them to Iran in violation of their rights to non-refoulment, where they would face imprisonment, torture, and execution. 

Madame Secretary, there are several reasons why we appeal to you to aid the residents of Ashraf. First is the universal concern for the human rights of all. But, beyond our concern for human rights must be a concern with the image of our nation. In 2004, our government made a pledge to protect the residents of Ashraf. If we turn a blind eye to the abuses that the al-Maliki government is perpetrating against the unarmed residents of Ashraf and abandon our pledge, we will be demonstrating most vividly that America is not a reliable partner. Our enemies in the region are watching our behavior very carefully and looking for any and all signs of weakness. In the Middle East, nothing could be more self-defeating to the long-term interests of this nation than for us to be perceived as unreliable and weak.

Because of these concerns, we ask you to urge President Obama immediately to speak forcefully to these issues and ask you to do likewise.

God bless America.

Thanking you in advance for your assistance in this vitally important matter, we remain,

Sincerely yours,

  Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker                            Dr. James Lee Collins          Rabbi Dr. Daniel M. Zucker                          Reverend Dr. James Lee Collins          

[The above text was published at International Analyst Network, 3 January 2011.]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

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