|Honorable Marc Ginsberg – We have to realize the Danger People at Camp Ashraf Face|
|Friday, 06 April 2012 00:00|
Washington D.C., April 6, 2012 - So here we are, ladies and gentlemen. Any fellow Americans and fellow community organizers, I want you to know that I paid my own Metro fare here today. (Applause.)
I wanted to tell you why I'm here, I'm here because there are incredibly well talented, devoted Americans on this dias who have sincerely offered their assistance, their commitment, their intellect and their support for what is essentially something that is completely within the halls of justice, the right of people to live freely, they deserve our support
I want you to know that I do not stand here as a former diplomat but as a card carrying member of the proud democratic party, I'm here as someone who started my career knocking on the doors on behalf of the democratic party of President Kennedy, the democratic party of President Carter, the democratic party of President Clinton and indeed the democratic party of President Obama, I am here because we are not here for partisan reasons. We are here because we understand the importance of this being a bipartisan initiative that has the support of Americans who understand justice, freedom and dignity not tainted bipartisan politics.
I am standing here as a protégé of Senator Edward Kennedy who gave me my start in this country as a person who was the chairman of the refugee subcommittee and on whose staff I proudly served.
Senator Kennedy taught me and I traveled with him to the most squalid refugee camps around the world and he always said to me something that stayed with me throughout my 30 years servicing as the Democrat foreign advisor to each and every democratic, in the final analysis we Americans must stand for what we believe in. It is easy to let politics and excuses get in the way of what is just.
I can guarantee you that if Senator Kennedy was alive today, he'd be standing in Camp Liberty demanding justice right now for those people.
He would not have been intimidated by threats or accusations or misinformation and he would have advised us not to be afraid of threats, intimidations or the fear of injustice. When Ed Rendell, my fellow Democrat, stood proudly before you years ago, committed himself to this cause, and when I was on travel and saw what had happened to him in the newspapers, I said, I must stand here with him because what he's doing is right.
I am not now talking just to you. I am talking also to my dearest friends who I care about greatly in this Obama administration and from whom I have spent time, over 30 years working together. Whether they work in the Treasury Department or the State Department. The courts of this country will decide ultimately the fate of the MEK's de-listing or not.
But with good Americans whose names are being impugned because of their commitment to things they believe in. I do not consider that to be the way any president Obama, Carter, Clinton would have stood up and agreed with, neither should they and neither should the president; neither should the president of the United States not face what essentially is an inconvenient truth.
But for the fact that many in this administration had hoped that a policy of engagement with Iran would have yielded results, but for that fact, I guarantee you the MEK would not be even an issue of de-listing or not today. But for the fact that this administration has regrettably lost an ability or at least believes it has lost an ability to leverage what residual support it may have with the Maliki regime in Iraq, the MEK would be de-listed.
Yesterday the president of Kurdistan was in Washington. Mr. Barzani met with the President of the United States as well as the vice president and he conveyed an important message that should not be lost on my colleagues because it applies to the members of the MEK, to the leaders of camp Ashraf, to the citizens who are there in Camp Ashraf as well as to the Kurds and the Sunnis in Iraq, that there is a dangerous deterioration of human rights, civil liberties and dignity in Iraq and it's not merely affecting the people of Camp Ashraf but also the current vice president of Iraq as well as the Kurds who are seeking their own freedom as well. Shame on the government of Iraq that thinks that they can somehow commit more injustice to the people of Camp Ashraf and this administration. This administration must understand that while it may have had the best of political intentions, the best of foreign policy intentions, to try to resolve critical important foreign policy considerations, that the humanitarian crisis that faces the very good intentioned people of those camps, I'm not talking about card carrying members of a now listed terrorist organization. I'm talking about men, women and children who deserve better than what we have given them.
If Senator Kennedy knew that only one person was being processed per day by the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees, he would be calling the United Nations High Commissioner on the phone and demanding that they expedite that procedure so that these people could be expedited out of this country. Where is the call coming out of this administration to the UNHCR?
His son, Patrick Kennedy, the former congressman, has come before you often. You can accuse Patrick Kennedy of many things, but you cannot accuse him of not knowing wrong when he sees it and the right that must be corrected and he has stood before you as a son of the late Senator Kennedy asking the administration the hard questions that it needs to respond to.
So let me add the following: To my friends in the administration, where on the office of foreign access control list is there any listed organization represented here today that somehow or other should be sanctioned? I'd like to see any name of any representative in this room on that list because they cannot produce it.
Number two, I would like to ask my friends in the legal advisors office of the State Department, why did they not, as part of their brief that they responded to the court mandamus order, did not provide the courts the information they claimed that they had in their possession that would compel them to keep the MEK listed.
Number three, why are they leaking inflammatory and inappropriate information about the rights of the people sitting up here today to speak their minds even if they were being paid to leave their offices and to spend time before you. Are they trying to shoot the messenger because they don't like the message?
Number four, I believe my friends in the administration have got to come to the realization that the people of Camp Ashraf are in danger. That the situation in Iraq is deteriorating by the day. That these people as Alan Dershowitz indicated, deserve to have the full faith and protection of the United States given the contractual obligation that we entered into.
Finally, all of you who are out here today who traveled at your own expense to come here and to applaud these people deserve to be treated with the same dignity, with the same support, with the same commitment as any one of us who stood up, whether it be at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or any Christian organization who pointed out that the government in Iran, a terrorist state sponsor of terrorism, is the only country, only country that should be the focus of our enemy at this point in time and not anyone in this room who wants the freedom and dignity and restore the freedom and dignity of the Iranian people.
I want to say with all of my heart and sincerity that I was advised by my friends in the administration not to be here today. They suggested that I would regret the fact that I came here because this is too controversial, too difficult an issue, too sensitive a program, too complicated a matter. As if somehow we all just got off the turnip truck. I think that it was said best by my friend Mitchell Reiss who said, I think that our friends in the administration have just got their facts wrong that if they cannot decide that the Haqqani network is a terrorist organization, then I'm not sure they know themselves what a terrorist organization is.
I want to close by saying as I leave here to go home for my own passover, that we Americans, whether we are Jews, gentiles, or members of the Muslim faith, we know that we're dealing with controversial issues. We know that the relationship with Iran and Israel and the United States is reaching a critical point, that the inhabitants of Camp Ashraf and MEK are caught up in a very complicated more important to many people, a more important series of issues. Nothing, however, nothing means matter to me more than to the memory of Senator Kennedy and the life and humanitarian suffering and to the human rights of the people who you are here representing today that should be job one and everything after that will fall into place. Thank you.
Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites