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Lord Corbett deceives House of Lords over MKO in Camp Ashraf

Below is the text of a House of Lords debate on Camp Ashraf tabled by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale on 25 October 2010.

Lord Corbett has been the MEK’s chief advocate in the Houses of Parliament for nearly three decades. If a politician does not receive financial or other incentives to support a dangerous,Robin Corbett, promoted terrorism in Iraq for the past 25 years!! destructive mind control cult which has been designated as a terrorist entity in the USA since 1997, the only other reasonable explanation is that they have succumbed to the influence of the cult and been subjected to the same mind control techniques which have enslaved the members of the MEK.

Either way, Lord Corbett’s continued insistence on calling a debate based on an entirely false premise – that the MEK at Camp Ashraf are somehow victims of threatened Iraqi violence – displays a wicked culpability in prolonging the genuine suffering of the residents of Camp Ashraf.

No one directly involved in the situation at Camp Ashraf has any doubt about the facts. Massoud Rajavi, leader of the MEK (aka MKO,NCRI, Rajavi cult, NLS etc.) is holding the 3500+ MEK members as hostages to protect his own future. They are prevented from leaving the cult both by physical barriers – barbed wire fences, beatings and incarceration – and by debilitating psychological manipulation which leaves them believing that they will be killed if they leave the camp.
An indication of the real condition of MEK members inside Camp Ashraf comes from the testimonies of recent escapees – people who simply ran to the Iraqi checkpoints and begged to be taken away. They each admitted that they believed the Iraqis would kill them once they escaped, but that this was actually preferable to remaining even one more day in the desperately inhuman conditions of the cult.

Members of the cult who have serious and sometimes life-threatening illnesses are not able to travel to the specialist hospitals of Baghdad. The Iraqi authorities have repeatedly offered to move them, but the cult leaders refuse to allow them to leave the camp.

Since 2003, successive Iraqi governments have demanded that the MEK leave Iraq because it is a foreign terrorist group which was part of Saddam Hussein’s repressive apparatus and is responsible for the deaths of over 25,000 Iraqi civilians. (The MEK has never had refugee status in Iraq and its illegally designated protected persons’ status under the Fourth Geneva Convention lapsed in 2006)

In 2008, the MEK was removed from the UK list of terrorist entities. In 2009, the MEK was removed from the EU list of terrorist entities. Since then, the Government of Iraq has repeatedly made reasonable representations to the governments of the countries involved to put their weasel words of concern into practice and accept the MEK individuals from Camp Ashraf as refugees in their countries – especially those who already have residence rights in those countries.

Yes, the British embassy in Baghdad must continue to visit Camp Ashraf. This is because there are several Iranian born British citizens and former refugees living there who remain trapped and unable to leave. The British embassy has a duty to try to help these individuals in whatever way it can; so too the ambassadorial representatives of other countries whose citizens are trapped in the camp.

Lord Corbett knows better than anyone the position of the Government of Iraq toward the MEK. He knows that they are slowly but surely dismantling this dangerous destructive cult in ways that preserve and protect the lives of the residents. He knows that Rajavi has threatened a Jonestown-style mass suicide if anyone tries to challenge his control of the group. Witnesses to the self-immolations of June 2003 in London and Paris can be in no doubt about the veracity of this threat.

It is therefore incumbent on western politicians to acknowledge their ignorance and to dispel the clouds of misinformation disseminated by the cult’s known advocates and discover the real horrors at Camp Ashraf – that the residents are denied every basic human right by their leaders. It is this fact which deserves their time and attention, not a debate based on lies and deception.

Anne Singleton, Middle East Strategy Consultants Ltd.

[ Iraq: Camp Ashraf — Question
House of Lords debates, 25 October 2010, 2:44 pm

Tabled By Lord Corbett of Castle Vale
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to Iraq regarding its undertakings to ensure the safety and security of Iranian refugees at Camp Ashraf.

Lord Archer of Sandwell (Labour)
In the absence of my noble friend Lord Corbett of Castle Vale, and at his request, I beg leave to ask the Question in his name on the Order Paper.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
My Lords, we have discussed the situation at Camp Ashraf with the Iraqi Prime Minister, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, the Iraqi Human Rights Minister, the Iraqi Minister of Internal Affairs and the Iraqi Government’s Ashraf committee. The United Kingdom has underlined the need for the Iraqi authorities to deal with the residents of Camp Ashraf in a way that meets international humanitarian standards. Officials from the British embassy in Baghdad have visited Camp Ashraf four times in the past year and remain in contact with the United Nations Assistance Mission and the United States. We continue to follow developments.

Lord Archer of Sandwell (Labour)
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for that account of energetic activity, but does he agree that, since the occupying forces of the Americans and British delivered the residents of Ashraf to the mercies of the Iraqi military, they retain some obligation for their welfare and protection from repeated murderous attacks and the interruption of food and medical supplies? Does he agree that, if we could discharge an obligation simply by saying that we had transferred it to someone else, we could all get rid of our debts instantly and painlessly? Do the Government agree that they retain a responsibility to protect?

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
We certainly retain a humanitarian concern, but we have to remember, as I am sure the noble and learned Lord will be the first to recognise, that Iraq is now a sovereign state with its own responsibilities and it is within the Iraqi sovereign concern to address this matter in the proper way. That does not mean that we will ignore it. As I indicated, we have constant contact with the Iraqi Government; the United Nations Assistance Mission visits the site once a week, although for the moment it has removed its continuous monitoring; and there is international pressure. However, the facts are the facts: Iraq is a sovereign country now and it lies within that country’s sovereign area to address the problem and solve it in a sensible way.

Lord Waddington (Conservative)
Does my noble friend not agree that even if the residents in Ashraf are, as some argue, no longer entitled to protection under the fourth Geneva convention, we as partners of America in the Iraqi war have a clear moral responsibility to try to stop any violence or intimidation of the people in Ashraf? I am grateful for what he has said about the representations that have already been made, but perhaps the time has come when we should be urging a permanent UN presence in Ashraf until things are really sorted out there.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
I recognise my noble friend’s continuous concern on this issue. It is the concern of all of us that we do not want to see suffering, violence or worse. However, as has been acknowledged by the United Nations, the people of Camp Ashraf do not have refugee status under the fourth Geneva convention, nor are they prisoners of war under any other part of the Geneva convention. Our concern must be the concern of any civilised nation-that this matter can be handled properly. The UN does not find the idea of a permanent military force there acceptable but, as I said, it is keeping the matter under constant monitoring and we shall continue to press it strongly.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean (Labour)
My Lords, does the Minister not agree that, irrespective of our legal obligations, we have an enduring obligation to the people in Camp Ashraf, as the noble Lord, Lord Waddington, indicated? After all, we do not hand anyone over to any sovereign power if we think that they would be tortured or in any other way mistreated. Does the Minister believe that there is any truth in the allegations that United States officials are not allowed into Camp Ashraf for inspections? I am pleased to hear that our officials have been allowed in, but will he assure us that they will continue to visit the camp? Is there any hope that in the future there will be UN inspectors in Camp Ashraf, as the noble Lord, Lord Waddington, rightly requested?

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
I can give hopes and intentions rather than assurances because, as the noble Baroness knows well from her own experience, this is a difficult area. Obviously, we intend to continue having access and monitoring. We intend to continue pressing the UN, which appears to be ready to visit and maintain a close eye on the situation. The overall pattern, however, is governed by the fact that this is Iraqi sovereign territory and Iraq is a sovereign state, although the Iraqis will be watched carefully by the world and will be expected to police and manage this matter in a civilised way.

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne (Liberal Democrat)
Does the Minister agree that, since the residents of Camp Ashraf have no refugee status, they are in fact there by choice? Is it not ironic that no member state of the European Union, including the UK, or North America will accept these residents of Camp Ashraf because of the activities of some of them in earlier times? Is it not therefore time for us to move on and leave this issue to the sovereign nation of Iraq?

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
My noble friend speaks on this matter with a great deal of wisdom and experience. She is right that there is some baggage from the past to carry, which makes it additionally difficult to deal with the status of these people. Nevertheless, having been involved in Iraq for many years, until it restored its full sovereignty, we have a moral concern and must keep the issue alive. I am very grateful that noble Lords keep raising it. We do not want to see it deteriorate into hideous bloodshed in the future.

Lord Clarke of Hampstead (Labour)
My Lords, we will all be pleased to hear about the activities that the Government are pursuing through the various bodies that are in control of Iraq, but when we talk about the normal procedures for these things, there is something that we must bear in mind. Does the Minister agree that we should pay tribute to those people-the women-who stood up to the chains with which they were being beaten when the Iraqi people went into the camp? Does he agree that these people deserve more than words? There should be good, sound advice from this House about what goes on when young people are beaten up there. As I have seen on the DVD, chains are being used to hit women who are protesting. Will the Minister, who I know is doing the best that he can, now go to the United Nations and say, "Normal procedures are one thing, but let’s get on and get these people some security"?

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
The noble Lord is right: all such methods and activities, where they take place, should be deeply deplored. These are not the kind of things that we expect to see in the modern Iraq, which is trying to take its place in the world and the comity of nations as a responsible power. We should never cease to put pressure on Iraq to maintain the highest possible standards and we should not cease to deplore anything of the kind that the noble Lord has described.

Lord Desai (Labour)
My Lords, am I right in thinking that, if these people were in the UK, we would not send them to Iraq, knowing full well that they would be tortured?

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
That is a hypothesis with which I would have to agree if that were so but, unfortunately, it is not. We are dealing with a much more complex situation, with Iraq seeking to get a new Government and to be a sovereign power. […]

Lord Dholakia (Liberal Democrat)
My Lords, one area of concern is the treatment of residents in Camp Ashraf, particularly those who suffer from cancer et cetera. They have no or very restricted access to hospitals in Baghdad. Will the Minister consider, on humanitarian grounds, ensuring that the United Nations Assisted Mission in Iraq is able to assist in such cases?

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
Yes, I am assured-I have checked this carefully-that all basic and medical supplies are getting in. There is a hospital facility in the camp. Although some items-bicycles and beds, oddly enough-have been prevented from entering the camp, all basic material and food supplies, and the basic essentials of life, are getting into the camp and will continue to do so. The UN is very concerned to see that this situation is maintained.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton (Labour)
My Lords, can the Minister assure us that visits on behalf of Britain are unannounced and that there is an insistence on meeting people without security guards being present? We all know that there is a danger that a prepared route is available and that prisoners are often too frightened to speak out.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
I have not had any clear information about there being a difficulty on that front so far. The visits have been regular and occasionally irregular and therefore unannounced and unplanned for. I do not think that there has been any difficulty, but I will watch out for that carefully in the future to see that these are genuine visits, where evidence is presented and not covered up
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