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General Hugh Shelton: United States Must Stand To Its Commitments

General Hugh Shelton  –Convention for Democracy in Iran, Villepinte, Paris, France

Convention for Democracy in Iran, Paris, June 22, 2013 - Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Madame Rajavi and other distinguished guests, of which I am very honored to be among here today, ladies and gentlemen, and especially those friends of ours that are watching today from Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty, salâm. 

Today is a time for both celebration and for mourning.  Four years ago we worked together under the courageous leadership of Madame Rajavi using every tool at our disposal to get the wrongful designation of the MEK as a terrorist group removed and finally we won and today we pause to celebrate that monumental victory.

The right road is seldom the easy road and in this case it was the hard road, but we fought and we achieved victory.  But that victory was less sweet than it might have otherwise been, due to the fact that part of the delisting of the residents involved the voluntary move of the residents from Camp Ashraf to Liberty.  (And of) course our U.S. State Department quickly changed the name to Hurriya when they recognized that the place did not approximate any form of the word liberty. 

But with both the U.S. and the UN assurances for their safety, some 3,100 residents made that move to Camp Liberty in January of last year.  So now let us review the facts.  The United States, yes, the United States, not the European Union, not the UN, at this point has made two guarantees.  First, the protection of the Ashraf residents when they agreed to disarm in 2004 and secondly the United States guaranteed their safety when they agreed to move from Camp Ashraf to a concentration camp-like facility called Camp Liberty. 

The U.S. also promised to work hard to ensure rapid resettlement from the hell hole known as Liberty to other countries, including the United States.  That guarantee was delivered by Ambassador Dan Fried, Secretary Clinton's representative, who orchestrated what we now know was a deadly move to Camp Liberty. 

Today the United States is clearly in breach of this treaty and international obligations as well as written guarantees that the United States provided each resident in 2004 when the United States promised to protect them until their final disposition.

Today the Obama administration's shocking indifference toward the dire humanitarian situation at Liberty is downright shameful.  As an individual who fought for 38 years to protect the human rights and also provide an opportunity for freedom in such places as Vietnam, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq, it pains me to see my government turn its back and to display such indifference and most of all to ignore its commitment and its promises.  That is not the American way. 

And it's not like that we don't know that this is a catastrophe waiting to happen at the hands of an Iranian controlled Maliki government. 

The first rocket attack as we know occurred last February and the latest occurred just a week ago today.  But that's not the full story.  The sorry state of affairs at Liberty, lack of proper medical treatment, constant and continuous inhumane harassment at the hands of the Iraqis, preventing the delivery of foodstuffs, preventing the removal of sewage, and hundreds of other harassing techniques showed the Iraqi army and the Maliki government for what they really stand for.  Unable to win wars, it is a government and an army that excels in harassing women, children, and the infirmed. 

The United States must quit passing the buck.  Secretary Kerry, the buck stops with you and President Obama. 

And talking about buck passing, I noted in Secretary Kerry's statement issued just last Saturday, immediately after the rocket attack, he said and I quote, "We remain absolute.  The United States remains committed to assisting the government of Iraq and UNAMI and implementing the December 25, 2011 agreement to quickly relocate the residents of Camp Hurriya outside Iraq.  We must find a permanent and long-term solution that ensures their safety." 

Notice that he very quickly passed the blame to the United Nations, to UNAMI and to Iraq.  What about United States's commitment and promises?  He did not address those.  And so after 18 months of living in … conditions in so-called Camp Liberty, all the promises and commitments made by the United States, including the Obama administration stand still. 

Let's review.  All Liberty residents have been killed or injured in the so-called Camp Liberty where they have been resettled.  And to date the United States has accepted zero for resettlement.  So much for leading from the front. 

It's time for every country here today to take action, lest we all be guilty of contributing to a very significant humanitarian disaster.  We must open our doors and allow for the expeditious resettlement of the Liberty residents. 

To do otherwise is at worst case support a pending massacre and at best case support death by 1,000 cuts. We must all continue to pressure an ineffective UN and UNAMI and including the Secretary General to get personally involved and not send in another what in my opinion was a lackey like Kobler. 

The Obama administration needs to forego issuing Caspar Milquetoast comments like Kerry did and get tough with the Iraqis.  Quit calling for the Iraqis to identify the terrorists and call a spade a spade.  The Iraqis are either the terrorists or they are supportive of the terrorists. 

Either way the Iraqis must be held accountable for every action which takes place on their soil.  For Kerry and Obama, use your economic tool to get their attention and don't be afraid to use ultimatums. 

One thing we know about bullies is they understand either ultimatums or ….  The U.S. promises and commitments are still as valid today as the day that they were written and must be honored. 

Finally to the residents of Liberty and Ashraf, continue to hang tough.  The large gathering that we have here today from all over the world and the voices that you hear speaking today on your behalf, combined with Madame Rajavi's superb leadership are indicators that help is on the way. 

Then we can get on with the real business of getting the tyrannical and theocratic leadership of Iran replaced with a government based on the democratic principles laid out by Madame Rajavi.  Then and only then will we declare victory. 

Thank you very much. 


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Iraqi forces attack Camp Ashraf