I would like to thank not only the members and staffs of members of Congress who are here but also those who have traveled near and far to be here this morning on this extraordinarily important event.
My name is Mark Ginsburg, I just want to say a few words of why, before we get into the program that our program is going to be short but critical.
We hope you'll stay because it'll end as quickly as we can. There are members of Congress who are voting. They will come in and as they do come in we'll accord them the opportunity to speak.
You're going to hear from a very distinguished number of Americans who care deeply about the situation affecting the people who live in Camp Liberty and those who survived the attack at Camp Ashraf and of course who come here from around the country who care deeply for the humanitarian crisis that's been created.
I started my career as a staff member in Congress and was proud to come here today as a former staff person who had the privilege of working for Senator Edward Kennedy who was chairman of the Senate subcommittee on refugees.
I served also in the White House, in the State Department as an Ambassador for President Clinton, as Al Gore's Deputy National Security Advisor and on his Presidential campaign. So I have intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the U.S. government.
I understand the important critical nature of the humanitarian crisis affecting the people who have survived the attack in Ashraf and who are the responsibility of the world and the responsibility particularly of the United States government.
I want to start out by saying that we are gathered here too many times. For those of us who've started this long journey with you, who are compassionately committed to the cause that you believe in, a free, independent, and democratic Iran.
The one thing that is important to understand is a difference between the aspirations of what we want in Iran and the humanitarian crisis that cries out for resolution for those innocent people who are refugees in Camp Liberty and who deserve to be free and who deserve to be relocated in a homeland where they can be safe and secure and reunited with their families.
There is no doubt that the fact that they are still in effect imprisoned, in Iraq should be unacceptable to those of us who have had the privilege of working in Congress and in the U.S. government.
From the moment that the attack took place at Camp Ashraf September 1st, there has been with all intensive purposes, within the confines of the United States State Department a determination not to impute any responsibility or obligation on the government of Iraq despite every ounce of evidence to the contrary.
That attack was a dastardly crime against humanity that was committed by and on behalf of the government of Iraq against the innocent people who were there merely to protect the possessions at Camp Liberty under the very eyes of the United Nations.
In any other circumstance, there would be such an outcry by the United States government against that attack that we would have demanded that people held responsible.
That there would be an absolute obligation or an investigation but officials in the State Department say, "oh no, oh no, it wasn't the government of Iraq that was responsible for that dastardly attack, oh no it was not the government that was taking orders from the mullahs in Iran that orchestrated that attack."
And yet the evidence has slowly but securely piled up. One ounce of evidence after the other has now turned into and irrefutable conclusion that the government of Iraq was indeed responsible for the attack and more importantly the taking of 7 hostages that the State Department under the guise of a deputy assistant secretary, Mr. McGurk, claims are no longer in Iraq.
I have had my quarrels with my colleagues in the State Department in the past. Good people can disagree over policy. Good can have all sorts of different views about what's in the best interest of U.S. foreign policy. What's missing in this discussion by the State Department is not what is necessarily good for US policy. Oh no. On the contrary what we are hearing is only what is good for Iraq's foreign policy.
Somehow or other, our State Department has got into it's unfortunate belief that the United States has far more to gain, than to engage in a cover up of the facts involving the attack at Camp Ashraf. They are denying repeatedly that the 7 hostages who were taken are no longer in Iraq.
Mr. McGurk has appeared before several committees of Congress to repeatedly try to refute any evidence to the contrary in an effort to protect and avoid placing any responsibility on the government of Iraq.
Yet just yesterday, no less than independent, and I underline a respected independent organization that is highly respected around the world, Amnesty International issued an urgent report that essentially confirmed what we have been saying from the day that the attack occurred and those hostages were taken. That is that the hostages are still in Iraq.
So I ask Mr. McGurk a question: I as a former United State Ambassador would want to at least protect the integrity and reputation of the United State government and not engage in further subterfuge in order to protect a government that is not necessarily aligned with the United States interests in trying to resolve this humanitarian conflict.
Wouldn't you Mr. McGurk at least now recognize, wouldn't you want to at least accept the fact that no less than an independent and respected organization as Amnesty International is denying your constant accusations that those hostages are no longer in Iraq and indeed prepared to confirm that they have independent evidence that those hostages are in Iraq.
I call on you Mr. McGurk to come up Congress and apologize to the American people for continuing to peddle the fiction that they are no longer there. I also want to say the following about the safety and security of those in Camp Liberty.
When Secretary Clinton, my good friend, indicated that she wanted the people to leave Camp Ashraf and move to Camp Liberty, she committed the United States government to assure their protection.
She committed the United States government, if people would peacefully leave Ashraf and move to Liberty, that United States government would do everything possible to protect their safety and security until they were relocated. Unfortunately the bureaucrats in the State Department are not adhering to Mrs. Clintons pledge to the people in this room, to the American people, and most importantly to the people at Camp Liberty.
The attack on September 1st was not just an attack on Camp Ashraf. It was an attack on the very family members of those at Camp Liberty. When I met just a few weeks ago in Paris, with the members of the families that still have families in Ashraf, sons who have not seen their mothers and fathers, sisters who have not seen their brothers or sisters, it's a humanitarian crisis. It is not tied to negotiations in Iran in its nuclear deal.
Mr. President and my friends in the White House, it is not tied to Mr. Maliki's problems that he's created back in Iraq for himself. This is not tied to conjecture over what has happened in Iran, in Iraq, or anywhere else. This is a humanitarian crisis demanding a humanitarian resolution.
The safety and protection of the people in Liberty deserve to be protected and the American government has an obligation to ensure that they are protected and expediently relocated as refugees that are protected under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for whom they are supposed to be protected as well.
The facts ladies and gentlemen are very clear. Do not get caught up in the legacy of retribution and anger in the United States government over the fact that they may or may not approve the policies of the MEK.
That is not the issue here. The issue is truth. The issue is truth versus lie. The issue is whether or not in the end United States government is going to fulfill its pledges. There's only one word to describe the pattern of conduct that I've seen from my colleagues in the State Department.
It's a disease that in some respects, we in the State Department have long never wanted to be accused of. No ambassador or diplomat ever wants to be accused in engaging in what we refer to as clientitis.
That is almost the Stockholm syndrome equivalent of diplomacy of worrying more about the government that you were assigned to be stationed in or to do the work for rather than the U.S. government.
I keep getting the unfortunate feeling that some of my colleagues in the U.S. government have developed a bad case of clientitis with respect to Iraq.
Mr. Maliki came here to Washington a couple of weeks ago. He met with members of Congress and those members congress 2 to 1 said to him the following: "Mr. Prime Minister we know that you have major problems in your country.
We know that there's a terrible escalation of sectarian strife. We know that you came here to ask for America to give you more support. But we also will want to remind you of the following: we are going to hold you accountable for the safety and security of the people at Camp Liberty and those who survived the attack in Camp Ashraf.
We are not going to permit you to receive additional military assistance until you assure us that T-Walls that need to be placed in Camp Liberty are placed, and certainly there are not enough to protect those poor refugees right now.
Number three, Mr. Maliki we are not going to accept any explanation that you are not responsible for the attack that occurred on Camp Ashraf. You are going to have to do better than what you came to Washington to tell us."
So Mr. McGurk my message to you is very simple: You can do better. You can be more open and more honest with us about the facts. To Mr. Maliki: I'm sure that members of Congress, of which I am not one, will continue to convey to him the important message that they will not accept one more life harmed in Liberty until they are relocated.
I want to close by just giving you a personal observation about my own view of these things. I care deeply for refugees. It has been within my 40 year career here in Washington. There are good people in the State Department working night and day to relocate these people to find a safe haven for them in a 3rd country. Mr. Jonathon Weiner who's the resettlement representative under Secretary Kerry is doing everything he can but has been given in effect a terrible task. Because the bureaucrats have tied both hands behind his back. In every effort that he engages in to expedite their resettlement.
It's important for all of us, not because you are here merely to hear someone like myself. It's important for you to understand the crisis of confidence that affects U.S. government foreign policy of fulfilling its obligation to these poor people who only want safety, freedom, and security not just in another country but also here in the United States.
The President of the United States has on his desk a document that would take the first number of those people from Liberty into the United States. Mr. President you should sign that document.
Mr. President those people deserve to come here as refugees without any constrictions or restrictions on their political rights or the future of their beliefs. It's not asking much. It's not asking much from the U.S. Government to fulfill its . All we are asking the U.S. Government to do is face facts, accept evidence, do not engage in falsehoods, and do your duty.
Thank you very much.
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