|Governor Ed Rendel – We Have Got to Stand With Ashraf|
Paris, June 23, 2012 - Thank you. Thank you all very, very much. Thank you! [laughs] Thank you. You know, I’ve been involved in the effort to ensure liberty, freedom, justice, and safety for the residents of Ashraf for a year now and during that time my own state department has told us many things, the world community, that are untrue and that are misrepresentations, but the first thing I heard from a friend of mine, he said, “The State Department called me and said, ‘You should not get involved with the PMOI because they are a small cult organization of no more than 2,000 people.’” [applause] There are 2,000 people in the first four rows here tonight. [applause] And it is great to see all of you and when I first was asked to become a part of this effort, to join some other great Americans fighting for the residents of Ashraf, I did a lot of research. I read a lot of things on both sides of the issues and I saw the tape of the April 20, ’11 massacre and I didn’t have to see anything else or read anything else to know that I wanted to get involved in trying to protect the residents of Ashraf, particularly [applause] particularly when I learned that my country, the United States, had signed a contract with each and every resident of Ashraf that if they gave up their weapons, which they did, that we would offer them and guarantee them protection and I looked at that tape of the April 20, ’11 massacre and I didn’t see one American soldier protecting anybody. In fact I saw the Iraqi police using American weapons, American trucks, and American vehicles to kill innocent people, including eight women, and that was enough for me.
Now [applause] I’ve said over and over again the Iraqis have created this problem. There never was a reason for the Ashrafis to leave Camp Ashraf. If they wanted to have the Ashrafis leave the country to immigrate to other lands, it could have been done in Ashraf and had it been done in Ashraf, my guess is the immigration process would have been months ahead of where it is today and yet for whatever reason the Iraqi government insisted that we leave Ashraf and we promised, the U.S. and the UN promised that this would be done in a fair and expeditious way and the residents of Ashraf cooperated. Convoy after convoy after convoy went even though the Iraqi government failed to live up to any of its promises.
You know, you’ve heard a lot about the MOU and I have in my hands the MOU. Since we only have five minutes, I’m not going to read you the MOU, but I want to read you one part of it. “The government of the Republic of Iraq shall facilitate and allow the residents at their own expense to enter into bilateral contracts with contractors for the provision of life support and utilities such as water, food, communications, sanitation, and maintenance and rehabilitation equipment. The government shall allow residents to move their individual assets from Camp New Iraq into Camp Liberty. The government of the Republic of Iraq shall allow the entry of an adequate number of vehicles for transportation within the camp.” That’s what was signed by the UN and the government of Iraq. This is the MOU. You know what this MOU is worth? The Iraqi government hasn’t lived up to any tenet of this MOU. We can rip it up. [applause]
And over and over again, the Iraqi government has prohibited the residents of Ashraf as they move to Liberty from having basic humanitarian things. The residents have their own air conditioners. The Iraqis won’t let them move them. The residents have their own generators. The Iraqis won’t let them move them into Liberty. The residents offered at their own expense to hook up Liberty’s water to the city of Baghdad’s water system. The Iraqis won’t let them. The residents want to build shade and put shade trees in. The Iraqis won’t let them. Why? Does it violate some strategic or military objective of the government of Iraq? No. The Iraqi government is doing it to be cruel, to be mean, to set up an emotional atmosphere that will drive the good residents of Ashraf to do some things that they may not want to do.
We have got to stand with Ashraf. The Ashrafis in Liberty and in Ashraf have to know that we are with them, have to know that they’ve got your support, but have to know that they’ve got our support. I am ashamed of my government. My government has failed to protect the residents of Ashraf. [applause] My government [applause] my government has failed to delist the PMOI, not withstanding the fact that England and the European union did just that. We have not done it. And my government has failed to be fair. You hear comments from the state department putting all the blame for any road block on the residents and not on the government of Iraq. It’s time for us—the United States—to stand up. It’s time for us to do our job, to honor our commitment. It’s time for the United Nations to act like the United Nations and get this process moving and get the residents of Ashraf to other countries. [applause] And I have one last message. We Americans, and many of us have been dealing with the State Department on a weekly basis. We have these phone calls and we go over all this stuff. We Americans appreciate the words of support that we get from our European friends, but they’re just words. What we need and what the residents of Ashraf need is for the nations of Europe to stand up one by one and say, “We will take the residents of Ashraf into our country.
One by one, each country. [applause] The countries of Europe, the countries of Europe cannot use as an excuse, the countries of Europe cannot use as an excuse that the U.S. has not delisted the MEK, because they didn’t use that as an excuse when they went ahead and delisted the MEK on their own, so they can’t use that as an excuse now. Everybody has to stand up and be counted. We’ll take X number of Ashraf residents into our country. We’ll take X number of Ashraf residents into our (company). And we’ve got to make sure that that total exceeds 3400, so we can make sure that the residents of Ashraf leave Iraq, become citizens of the world. It is time for every country to stand up and be counted, to not be afraid to do the things that they have to do to get this process going and to give justice to the residents of Ashraf. Thank you all very, very much. [applause]
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