Patrick Kennedy – We need action now on getting the military out of Camp Liberty

Patrick Kennedy – March 24, 2012 Paris – Thank you, David.  Thank you very much.  Appreciate it.  Every time I see that video, you know, my heart goes out to both the people of Camp Ashraf but also their family members, including you, Madam Rajavi, because of all the suffering that you have endured because of these repeated attacks on you.  So when you speak about what happened just the day before yesterday where armed Iraqi police were intruding on the women’s housing, were trying to break in to the women’s section of Camp Liberty, imagine what it must be like for those residents of Camp Liberty who not more than a year ago on April 8th, witnessed what we just saw.  Imagine how you would feel if you saw armed police who were the same police and military that attacked you and killed your family members a year ago trying to break in to your home.

So Madam Rajavi, you have heard how U.S. officials are being investigated because of their outspoken advocacy on behalf of the people of Camp Ashraf.  I think the real investigation should not be on Homeland Security Director Ridge, Attorney General Mukasey, FBI Director Freeh.  The real investigation needs to be on how it is that the United States, which committed to the protection of the people of Camp Ashraf, could allow this continued harassment, this continued bullying, this continued assault on the people of Camp Ashraf as now being demonstrated by the way they’re being treated in Camp Liberty.  That’s where the real investigation begins. [applause]

 And I think it’s perhaps good to recall in spite of what the critics say, rather than listening to their words let’s listen to their actions.  Remember when the Iraqi regime of Nouri al-Maliki said to Secretary Gates just before the attack in July of 2009 that the people were safe, and then what happened?  The Iraqi military attacked.  Remember when the Iraqi regime met with other U.S. officials and Secretary Gates just prior to the attack on April 8th of 2011.  They said, “Don’t worry, the people will be safe.”  Only to be followed by an attack and a massacre of the people of Camp Ashraf.  So Madam Rajavi, I can understand families of the people of Camp Ashraf, I can understand how you might not want to believe when it was said, “Don’t worry, it’s going to be alright.”  Because it was said before and there was a massacre in 2009 of July.  It was said before and then there was a massacre of April 8, 2011.  Now we need action from you Mr. Kobler, we need you to act on getting the military out of Camp Liberty.  [applause]

We also need to make sure that we don’t hear more words from the United States about how they would like to see a nuclear-free Iran.  If they really believe what they’re saying, then why don’t they delist the PMOI/MEK and allow the main opposition group, which is committed to a nuclear-free Iran, to be able to organize and overthrow the mullahs in Iran? [applause]

So what we need to understand today is we want action, no more words.  We don’t want to be told by Martin Kobler that everything is alright in Camp Liberty and we don’t want him to say, “Well it housed 5,500 Americans, 44 sq kilometers,” when you want to transfer 3,400 Ashrafis to a space that’s only 0.6 kilometers.

The easiest way for the State Department to do what it says it wants to do is to delist because at the end of the day you will never have the rest of the world be able to open the arms of refugees if they’re still being called terrorists.  Now in the United States we had the McCarthy era and that was a time in American history where if you called someone a communist then that was the way to alienate them and marginalize them.  Today, the equivalent of the McCarthy era is calling people terrorists when there is no justification that they present for them being maintained on the terrorist list.  And as Mayor Giuliani can attest, United States national security, the world’s international security depends on us getting it right.  So either they’re terrorists or they’re not terrorists.  But you can’t say that the main opposition group to the biggest threat to international security, which is the mullahs in Iran and their intent to build a nuclear weapon, you cannot say that they are the leading terrorist state and then oppose the people who want a free, democratic and nuclear-free Iran.  You cannot have it both ways. [applause] [chanting]

I want to conclude by saying how nice it is to be with all of you.  But I know all of our thoughts are with the people in Camp Liberty who are being treated as prisoners not as refugees.  And it’s with them that we need to be in solidarity because their fight is all of our fight and that’s the fight for human dignity to treat every single person as we ourselves would want to be treated.  No we should not be attacking them; they are unarmed, defenseless refugees.  And until the United States changes its policy, we need to keep up the fight on their behalf.  Thank you very much. [applause]

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