Dr. Gerson questions impartiality and humanitarian intention of the UN to defend MKO
It is argued that material support laws could properly be used to prosecute lawyers who act and talk on behalf of groups designated foreign terrorist organizations. But the problem is that majority of attorneys who serve terrorists escape prosecution mainly because they are either too experienced in their job or hardly any of them acknowledges that he might indeed have found himself on the wrong side of the line. Oddly enough, some of these terrorist advocates are notable attorneys and professionals known to observe traditional, anti-terrorist ethical guidelines who have often won battles against terrorists.
Dr. Allan Gerson is recognized as the first attorney to have engineered a practical basis for suing foreign governments for acts of terrorism. After the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, he initiated the first civil suit against a foreign state (Libya) on behalf of families of the victims. In 1996, his efforts were instrumental in the passage of the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. However, although an expert in his own profession, Dr. Gerson is walking in the same path with a designated terrorist group, Mojahedin Khalq Organization MKO/MEK/NCR, and repeating its very same baseless claims. At least nobody expected him to slam a humanitarian guideline set by the United Nations so hard in favor of a terrorist group that is waging a psychological war against international institutions.
The United Nations issued a press release on July 24 stating that its mission in Iraq, UNAMI, has presented a “roadmap” to the Government of Iraq in dealing with the temporary relocation of the Camp Ashraf residents, members of the terrorist MKO, to Camp Liberty, a temporary transit facility near Baghdad airport. Some two-thirds of the residents, or 2,000 people, were relocated to the transit camp but MKO refused to transfer the remaining residents, some 1300 people, on a variety of invented excuses some of which are natural to meet because of the regional and poor living conditions that have long impacted the local people’s lives.
It took only four days following the released roadmap to see a published article under the name of Dr. Gerson in which he slammed the UN for a pure humanitarian cause to end the stalemate in the relocation process. As MKO has repeatedly done, he questions impartiality and humanitarian intention of the UN concerning the issue. For two reasons, Dr. Gerson disputes that the UN effort is humanitarian because “effort comes at the point of a gun. It is aimed at the MEK residents of Camp Ashraf who have been understandably reluctant to move to Camp Liberty until the basic humanitarian needs of food, water, electricity, shelter and facilities for the disabled are met”.
Then, he claims that “If the UN commitment were ‘strictly humanitarian,’ it would never have supported the move of the residents from the Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty. No purpose is served by such a move. For decades, the MEK lived peacefully at their home of Camp Ashraf, a small city that they built by themselves”.
Dr. Gerson seems to be uninformed of historically plain facts. MKO has never stated a willingness to leave Camp Ashraf known to be its ideological and military bastion allocated by Saddam. It is a legal demand by the Iraqi government and the local people, to whom the land belongs, to close the camp and return the lands to their real owners. For sure, occupiers are reluctant to return what they have seized. It is not a mere dispute over a simple matter of relocation from a camp to another; the problem is MKO’s reluctance to leave rather than the existing common shortages it claims. The ideal solution MKO appreciates is the one that disapproves any relocation from Ashraf.
The group is well aware of the fact that relocation from Ashraf means a permanent expulsion from Iraq sooner or later. But staying at the “small city that they built” even if seemingly in limbo means a permanent or decades long stay until they will be delisted from the State Department Foreign Terrorist Organization list since, as Dr. Gerson explicitly points out, “No country will be eager to take people who remain on that list. And indeed, no country has stepped forward despite the fact that some 300 residents have already been given refugee status by the UNHCR”. What is really bothering MKO is losing the lifelong opportunity of maintaining Camp Ashraf after a unanimous decisiveness for relocation of its members. And Dr. Gerson in his defense of a terrorist group has sold his principles; he tries to look sympathetic as well as promising because he is presently involved with other attorneys in representing MKO to be removed from the State Department List of FTO.
By N. Morgan