This Time the Truth Caught Up with their Lies
by Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker
International Analyst Network, April 30, 2009
The American author Mark Twain once noted: "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."
Ms. Ana Gomes, a Euro MP from Portugal was trying to best Mark Twain on April 24 at the European Parliament as it was discussing the humanitarian situation of Iranian dissidents in Iraq. She tried to inject a bunch of lies under the stamp of the European Parliament, representing the European population, in two minutes.
This Portuguese MEP introduced a litany of unfounded allegations against the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), (the main Iranian opposition movement that includes 3,500 of its members in Camp Ashraf, Iraq), as amendments to the Parliament's resolution expressing concerns at the: "Humanitarian situation of Camp Ashraf residents." By doing so, she tried to turn the resolution upside-down so it would play perfectly into the hands of Tehran's agents in Iraq to the detriment of the Ashraf residents who are in immediate danger of being massacred by the clerical regime and its proxies in Iraq.
It did not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the mullahs were the ones cheering her on. Incidentally, it should be noted that Ms Gomes' proposed amendments had the same content as a letter addressed to the European Parliament which appeared on a web-site affiliated with the notorious Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS, VEVAK) six days earlier. Is this sheer coincidence? Not likely!
But this time the brakes were put on by scores of MEPs who in recent years have visited Camp Ashraf, among them some fellow Socialist MEPs. Thanks to the efforts of these MEPs, she could not pull the wool over the eyes of the Members of the European Parliament. To the dismay of Ms. Gomes and her allies in Tehran, these MEPs have seen Ashraf first hand and were able to provide detailed mission reports, refuting all the allegations that she had amassed.
The Parliamentary delegations (five from the European Parliament alone), US military commanders, and international humanitarian delegations that have visited Ashraf in the past six years noticed that the Iranian dissidents transformed the camp from a barren desert in the heart of the volatile Diyala Province into an oasis featuring well-kept gardens, sprouting water fountains and palm trees set along well marked-out streets. Ashraf has evolved into a lively, dynamic city with museums, parks, a bakery, Olympic size swimming pools and even its own Ashraf Cola factory. Its inhabitants are all volunteers, mostly well educated, who have one common goal: to bring a democratic and secular government to a free Iran.
Contrary to Ms. Gomes' claims, the delegations established that none was kept against his or her will. Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, all Ashraf residents have been repeatedly screened by various US agencies and every individual decided to stay in Ashraf. In March and April 2009, the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights held private interviews with each Ashraf resident outside of the camp, in the presence of US forces, and urged them to leave Iraq for Iran or a third country. However 99.7% of the residents emphasized that Ashraf is their sole desired place of residence.
The PMOI's presence in Iraq acts as a bulwark to the mullahs' export of Islamic fundamentalism to Iraq. Thus, closing down Ashraf has been a top priority for Tehran. On February 28, the clerical regime's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, acknowledged for the first time that his regime was the only party interested in the expulsion of the PMOI from Iraq. In a meeting with the Iraqi President in Tehran, Khamenei said, "The mutual agreement regarding the expulsion of the Mojahedin from Iraq…must be implemented and we are waiting for it." Subsequently, the Iraqi National Security Adviser Dr. Mowaffaq al-Rubaie announced plans to close Ashraf and expel the residents from Iraq or to displace them to remote areas inside of Iraq, to set the stage for their massacre by the Iranian regime. This action drew the ire of the world community. Amnesty International, the World Organization Against Torture and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe all have warned this could lead to a humanitarian catastrophe. The European Parliament resolution was meant to prevent the massacre of 3,500 the Iranian dissidents.
Ms. Gomes claims that the Iraqi population does not like the presence of the PMOI in Iraq due to their meddling in Iraq's domestic affairs in collaboration with the former Iraqi government. She couldn't be further off the mark. Ayatollah Ayad Jamal'edin, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Iraqi National Assembly and a prominent Shiite cleric, in an interview with al-Arabia satellite television on January 26, 2009 said: "I have personally looked at many documents, both from the secret service of the former regime and the special security apparatus, but I could not find even one page or photograph or fact to show the PMOI's involvement in the repression of the Iraqi people. If there was any proof, the current Iraqi government would have taken it to the high criminal court. … So there is no reason, not even a bogus one."
Contrary to Ms. Gomes' claims, the majority of Iraqi people support the continued presence of the PMOI in Iraq. More than 5.2 million Iraqis in June 2006 and 3 million Shiites, particularly from the south, in June 2008, signed joint declarations condemning the clerical regime's meddling in Iraq and reiterating the need for the continued presence of the PMOI there.
Thanks to vigilant MEPs, this time the truth caught up with Ms. Gomes' lies and the European Parliament rejected all of her amendments containing false allegations against the PMOI, foiling the mullahs' attempted disinformation campaign against the Iranian Resistance. The Parliament adopted a resolution calling on the Iraqi authorities "to protect the lives and the physical and moral integrity of the Camp Ashraf residents" and "to treat them in accordance with obligations under the Geneva Conventions, notably not to forcibly displace, deport, expel or repatriate them in violation of the principle of non-refoulement"
But what does that tell us about Ms. Gomes and her role? Has she perhaps received a large anonymous donation to her bank account of late?
Professor Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker is founder and chairman of Americans for Democracy in the Middle-East, a grassroots organization dedicated to teaching the public and its elected officials of the need to promote genuine democratic institutions throughout the Middle-East region as an antidote to the venom of Islamic fundamentalism. .