|Mayor Rudi GUILIANI: A Solemn Promise To Protect Camp Ashraf|
|Friday, 17 February 2012 15:12|
Thank you very much, thank you. Thank you very much. And it is a very familiar place for me to be on a Saturday morning at the Waldorf. I did it for eight years as mayor so many times greeting so many organizations, and groups, and people who come to New York City for political reasons, business reasons, social reasons, cultural reasons. And when I was mayor, I had a habit of always saying one thing to them and, excuse me, I just have to do it. Make sure you spend some money. Because I was always interested in getting a little of, well, it's tough being a mayor.
This is a great room. It has a great history. Patrick has outlined some of it. You just look at the pictures on the walls when you come in here and you see President Kennedy and President Roosevelt and I remember meeting here with President Reagan and President Clinton and this is a very historic place that you are in. Excuse me if I say, you're in the capital of the world. New York City, to me, has always been the capital of the world.
More people come together here than anyplace else in the world, so you couldn't be in a more than appropriate place. You are the in the home of the United Nations, so they sure as heck have to hear you and listen to you because they are abandoning their responsibilities and somebody has to make that clear to them. And hopefully coming to their home and making that point will have an impact.
This is the 33rd anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, which makes it a day for reflection on all the horrors that have come about because of the mistakes that were made in policy and so many other ways. And you know, as Patrick indicated, that's a very academic way to say, what those mistakes meant for hundreds of thousands of people, many of your relatives and friends who were killed, tortured, or who are now presently imprisoned as a result of not recognizing clearly what was going on.
This city is an appropriate place to be because this city has twice been the victim of Islamic extremist terrorism. World Trade Center, of course, was the most traumatic. 1993, the same place was attacked by Islamic extremist terrorist in an attack that was planned by Islamic extremists in Union City, New Jersey, which is right across the river.
With me are many, many distinguished colleagues who are going to say many different points about that. But two of them are colleagues that I worked with very closely in the justice department; the former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, sentenced several of the Islamic extremists to hundreds of years in jail. So he knows personally and then was Attorney General of the United States and had a responsibility for keeping us secure both here and abroad.
And, of course, Louis Freeh, who was director of the FBI and has deep knowledge. So why are we here today? We are here for several reasons. The most important of which, because it's the most timely and it needs to be acted on right now, is Camp Ashraf, where 3300 people or so are at great risk of being maybe killed, as forty-seven have been by the Maliki government. I wish to repeat that again because I don't think that hasn't got the attention. I haven't seen that as a headline anywhere in the New York Times. Maliki killed forty-seven people in two different attacks on Camp Ashraf. Forty-seven innocent people, he slaughtered them. This is our ally Maliki. And that fact looms very, very large over everything that we have to consider and everything that's happening.
In 2003, the people at Camp Ashraf, your friends, your relatives, gave up their arms, they gave up their violence, they forsake violence, and they were given a solemn promise by my country, and for many of you, your country, that they would be protected. A solemn promise that they would be protected. They were given the word of the United States of America, which to me is sacred.
And then in 2008, 2009, they were turned over to the tender mercies of Maliki Iraq with the same promise. And that promise has been broken. America has turned its back on making sure that Iraq lives up to the commitments that were made. You can't say anything different than that otherwise those forty-seven people would not have been murdered, those thousands of people would not have been injured.
By the way, that's one-third of the population of Camp Ashraf were either murdered, or attacked, or harmed by the Maliki government. I don't know why we turned our back on them, I don't know why we broke our word. It's mind-boggling to me.
But now there is this desire to move them from Camp Ashraf, which they've been at for twenty-five years. We call it a camp, but it's really a city, a neighborhood, it's the place they are living in, a place they developed, with all of the tremendous pressures and threats, into a decent place. And they want to be moved to this Camp Liberty which is going to be a tiny little part of an otherwise large camp, but just a little part where they are going to have a few square feet to live in; where there is going to be no guarantee to access to lawyers, where there is no understanding, in fact, maybe the wrong understanding, about who is going to be responsible for them. It likes like the Iraqi police will be guarding them and the U.S. will outside.
The first thing that comes to me is, why is this being done at all? Why are they being moved? What's the point in moving them? They are going to be hopefully designated as refugees if the U.N. could begin to start to act. They all filled out their applications for refugee status. The U.N. has to begin the processing. There are countries that have already come forward and offered to take significant numbers of people. That process could have started a month ago, two months, ago, three months, it could start today, if the U.N. would get off it's -- I'm not the mayor anymore, I can't say those things. I used to be able to say that when I was the mayor.
So they could be processed now and move to Italy, or Switzerland, or the United States, or Britain, or who knows where, or they could be done right at Camp Ashraf. Nobody would have to be moved, you wouldn't have to undergo the expense, undergo all this turmoil, all this. But it's not being done. To me, that's a big, bigs suspicion.
Before I was the mayor, I was a prosecutor. I'm a suspicious human being. This can't be for a good reason. This can't be because Maliki has the best interest of the people of the Ashraf in his heart and mind. So I don't know why this is being done at all. But if it is being done, then why is it that the Iraqi government, our ally, will not allow us to inspect it.
We've offered. Many of us on this stage have offered to go there. We know prisons, unfortunately. I don't mean having been there, I mean by having run them. I know prisons, Mike does, Louis Freeh does, we put a lot of people of in prison and have been responsible for prisons. I can go look at Camp Liberty in a minute, and I imagine everyone else in on stage, and say, is this an appropriate relocation center or is it a prison? I can make that determination in a half hour, an hour, if they just let me go there. But they won't do that.
And the U.N. has to step in and has to play a meaningful role here. Whatever, whatever. And we'll talk about designation and everybody else will, and we'll talk about some of the recent rumors, and whatever the truth or falsity of those other things. The lives of 3300 human beings, who were promised safety and security, who are entitled to it under every convention known to society, their rights are now in jeopardy and the United States of America and the U.N., in particularly the United States, should be in a leadership role yelling, and screaming, and pounding the table about this.
Of course we have to look at the bigger picture too because the bigger picture is very important. Whatever the history of the MEK, and there are others here that can address that in greater detail, right now, for today, and the last decade and decade and half, it's a group that has stood steadfastly against the regime in Iran. They would like to see the overthrow of the Ayatollah and of Ahmadinejad.
I'm sorry, I'm a simple-minded person, I like that. I'm in favor of that. I think it would be good for the world if they were thrown out of office. I think it would be really good for the world if they were never born. So I start to begin to think this organization may be our friend. Then they also stand for a nonnuclear Iran, Iran without a nuclear weapon. Then they stand for a secular Iran and the organization is headed by a woman. My goodness, what a great symbolism for the Middle East. If I need any further persuasion, the United Kingdom and the European Union have lifted the designation of this group as a terrorist group as either being incorrect or no longer correct. So we're left with only one other country now that agrees with us, Iran. There is something wrong with this picture, isn't there?
I don't know exactly what's wrong with it, but it's something that has to be changed. I will tell you my suspicion, because I've been working on this for three years and I don't understand it, and this is so simple to me, so easy to analyze and so easy to understand. That this organization is an organization that is trying to achieve what is best for us, best for Israel, best for the United States. Why this resistance?
I guess there are different reasons, but I'm going to tell you what I think my reason is. I believe that the President and this administration still believe they can talk to Iran. I believe they still harbor the very dangerous illusion that people used to harbor in the build up to the second World War, that you can talk to these people, you can charm them, you can negotiate with them, you can be reasonable with them. Some people find it impossible to realize that you can't project on to other people the way you look at the world and the way you were brought up and the values that you have.
And then some people have a very hard time staring at absolute evil and understanding that it actually exists. There are really evil, irrational horrible murderous people that have inhabited this world and that inhabit the world and several of them are now sitting in control of the government of Iran.
Mr. President, I would no longer write any more letters to the Ayatollah. I can't imagine how ridiculous it must be to the people in Iran when they get a Dear Ayatollah letter from you. What a joke.
If we need any other indication, all the other attempts with the Dear Ayatollah and the Dear Ahmadinejad letters, I don't know exactly how they are addressed, the indication has been very, very clear, go to hell. So let's just grow up and realize, they don't want to talk to us. And the more we appear to be begging them to talk to us, the more we convince them that they are weak, the more we convince them they can take advantage of us, the more we convince them that they can push us around. Haven't we learned that?
It's 100 years of making that mistake. It's several wars of making that mistake. Evil people understand only one thing, bullies only understand one thing, strength, resolute determined powerful strength. That backs them off.
Ahmadinejad in particular, but the Ayatollah as well have told us they want to destroy Israel. They threaten to block the River of Yarmouth, they have participated in the killing of many Americans including during the war in Iraq. They are, by far, without any doubt, and without any contribution contradiction, the biggest state sponsor of Islamic extremist terrorism in the world that has accomplished the killing of Americans and many other people and put us under threat right now. Let's take them at their word.
Why are we having trouble believing they may actually believe these things and are doing these things? And why in the world would we even consider the possibility that this world could be safe if they had nuclear weapons? This is not the old Soviet Union, or China, or the United States.
Patrick's uncle, among the other very significant things he did during his presidency, he guided us through the Cuban Missile Crisis. All of us of our age will remember it as a time at which we all thought we were going to go to nuclear war. Why didn't we go to nuclear war? Because ultimately e had rational people on both sides. Ultimately, even though Cruchef was a very bad man and a dictator and an oppressor, he was a rational man and he didn't want to destroy himself and destroy his country. He was not an insane, religious maniac. He was a lot of things, but he wasn't that. So faced with the possibility of a nuclear conflict the United States of America, he backed down and understood that you couldn't do that. And then we can look of our examples later on in the Cold War, with the Soviet Union, with China. All through that era, which many of us lived through, it was better never get into the hands of irrational hands, better not to get into the hands of people that can't be persuaded by mutually assured instruction. Well there is every reason to believe, and they have given us every reason to conclude, that Ahmadinejad and Khamenei many are irrational people. What do they have to say or do to convince us that they are dangerous?
So the United States of America has to make every effort, put every option on the table, and be willing to do anything necessary to stop them from becoming a nuclear power including, if necessary, the use of military force.
There is a leak that is all around the place that MEK assisted the Israeli government in assassinating one or two of the nuclear scientists in Iran. The MEK has unequivocally denied this. The leak is based on a report from a funky Ayatollah, a complete liar and criminal, and it is supported by two unknown people in the State Department who committed felonies if they confirmed the rumor true or untrue. Whether the rumor is true or untrue, if these two people in the Pentagon, or rather in the State Department, confirmed this rumor, then they are people that should be going to prison, they are felons. I don't know how we evaluate this other than to say that whatever proof there is, it's coming from liars.
So I don't know how to evaluate any better than that except to say, either one of two possibilities. It's not true, in which case we move on. If it is true, than the group who was doing this and trying to overthrow the government of Iran and trying to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power, it seems to me they should be part of the new addition of Time Magazine and become person of the year. You tell me how they are any different than the lovers of freedom that had to resort to violence to overthrow Mubarak. They were person of the year. Or the people in Libya today that had to result to violence and had to overthrow Gaddafi, or the people in Syria today who had to result to violence to protect themselves against Assad. How are they any different? If there are people in Iran trying to overthrow the regime in Iran, why don't they fall in the same category as these other people? And by the way, Iran is much more dangerous than Mubarak, Ahmadinejad, or Assad. Much more dangerous to Israel and much more dangerous to my country, the United States of America. So what's the solution? There will be many who speak on all the details of this.
Let me just briefly tell you what the solution is. Solution number one is: There must be a clear understanding that Iran cannot become a nuclear power. Anybody helping us prevent Iran a nuclear power is a friend of the United States, a friend of peace, a friend of freedom, and a friend of democracy. It may be too far gone to reverse it all and say, forget moving people out of Camp Ashraf, and do the relocations from Camp Ashraf. I think that would be the best solution. However, if you are going to continue with Camp Ashraf, then I implore our State Department to put pressure on the United Nations and on our ally, the government of Iraq, to allow two or three of us, they can pick any of us, two or three or four of us, to go take a look at it and then certify it's a reasonable, sensible place or that it's a prison camp. We are willing to take the trip anytime. I don't need a lot of sleep, I sleep on airplanes. I can be there in twelve hours or fifteen hours. I won't spend a lot of time. We'll use our own money, they won't have to spend their money. You pick any three or four of us.
And finally, unfortunately, at the core of all of this that gives some support and creates tremendous confusion is the continued designation. Why is the State Department waiting so long? What is it, two years now that they have been delaying in making this decision? This is not a terrorist group. These are terrorism experts. I know another fifty just like them who have been at these meetings and these groups. They know terrorism. You know, like that old Supreme Court decision about obscenity. I hate to make the comparison but maybe it's a good one. Judge Fried will know this one. I think it was Potter Stewart. You can't really define obscenity, but I know it when I see it. These people know terrorism when they see it. This group is not a terrorist group. Lift the designation and let's have our country on the right side.
Thank you very much.
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