Press Release January 30, 2012
In a 20 January 2012 letter addressed to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, twenty one (21) former senior United States officials and Generals have called for the immediate protection of members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) now residing in Camp Ashraf.
The signatories include Secretary Andrew H. Card, Jr., General James Conway, Ambassador Dell Dailey, Governor Howard Dean, Professor Alan Dershowitz, Director Louis J. Freeh, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Director Porter Goss, Ambassador Bob Joseph, Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, Admiral James A. Lyons, Jr., Col. Wesley Martin, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, Brig. General David Phillips, Ambassador Mitchell B. Reiss, Governor Edward Rendell, Governor Tom Ridge, John Sano, General Hugh Shelton, Senator Robert Torricelli, and General Chuck Wald.
These former USA officials are intensely concerned that the US is failing to uphold its legal and moral obligations to ensure the safety and security of the residents of Ashraf, who have now been given refugee-eligible special status. All residents are currently protected under Article 4 of the Geneva Convention. The US has promised to protect each of the 3,400 residents. And each resident has been screened by the FBI and not found to be engaged or intending to engage in any terrorist activity. The residents are supposed to be relocated to the former Camp Liberty for refugee processing out of Iraq.
The UN negotiator, Ambassador Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, has yet to secure the safety and security of the residents at Camp Liberty in his negotiations with the Iraqi Government. The Iraqi officials are designing Camp Liberty as a prison-like camp rather than a UN refugee processing center, and pressuring the UN into accepting its substandard and inhumane confinement facilities.
Ambassador Kobler previously assured Camp Ashraf residents and the US in December that Camp Liberty would be ‘ready’ in one week for habitation, that the Iraqis agreed not to arrest or involuntarily expatriate to Iran any of the Camp Ashraf residents, and that the previous 31 Dec. 2011 ‘deadline’ for forcibly closing Camp Ashraf was extended. The Iraqi government has subsequently and publicly contradicted Ambassador Kobler’s (two) assurances and Camp Liberty remains completely unready for refugee relocation.
The residents of Camp Ashraf have been denied their right to take vehicles, personal property and basic living equipment with them to Camp Liberty. The Iraqi Government has built large concrete walls around the tiny area (immensely smaller than what Ambassador Kobler initially advised) of Camp Liberty reserved for the residents, who will not be allowed any freedom of movement whatsoever once interned inside this prison-like facility. Unfortunately, Ambassador
Kobler signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Iraqi Government without approval of the residents, while he had promised not to do so.
Highlighting the ongoing legal and moral responsibility of the US Government to guarantee the protection and welfare of all 3,400 Camp Ashraf residents, the 21 former senior US Officials and Generals (including the former Attorney General, FBI Director, Secretary of Homeland Security, CIA Director, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Commandant, Governors and others) once again are calling upon the US Government to immediately remove MEK from its Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list.
These former senior US Officials and Generals comprise the best qualified and most experienced counter-terrorism experts in the world. Based on their study and personal interaction with the MEK, they have unanimously concluded and publicly stated that the MEK “is not a terrorist organization and there is no rational factual or legal basis to maintain it on the FTO—where it was placed in 1997 as a political accommodation to the regime in Iran, NOT because it ever engaged in any terrorist activity or had an intent to do so against the US.”
Indeed, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi , the MEK leader, exemplifies and proclaims on behalf of her supporters all of the humanitarian and UN-championed rights which the US had made its essential foreign policy principles, including freedom of religion, non-violence, democratic and elected government, gender equality, free markets and the rule of law.
The US State Department was directed in July 2010 by the US Court of Appeals—DC Circuit to “reconsider the listing of MEK on the Department’s list of foreign terrorist organization.” That order was issued “because the record presented to the court was inadequate to sustain such a listing,” the letter said. To this day the State Department has ignored the Court and persisted in unreasonable obfuscation and delay, bordering on contempt of court. Both the regime in Tehran and the Iraqi Government have used this unjustified FTO designation as a “license to kill” the residents of Camp Ashraf, who were violently attacked by Iraqi forces in July 2009 and April, 2011, resulting in scores of deaths and grave injuries to hundreds of unarmed and defenseless residents. The continuing and baseless mis-designation of the MEK as a terrorist organization also makes it very difficult for most countries, including the US itself, to accept these residents into their countries,
The 21 former senior US Officials and Generals are alarmed at the continuing failure of both the UN and US to accomplish the safe relocation of the 3,400 MEK members from Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty, where they will be treated with dignity, liberty and protection, and processed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and safely relocated out of Iraq.
Finally, these former Officials and Generals call for the Secretary of State, and the US Ambassador to Iraq, James Jeffrey, to become personally and directly involved in the stalled talks with the Iraqi Government, representatives of the residents of Ashraf, and representatives of UNHCR, to provide for a quick, comprehensive and safe resolution of this crisis. In the absence of such a resolution, these former Officials and Generals believe that a humanitarian disaster of Srebrenica proportion could occur, which would greatly damage and embarrass both the UN and the Obama Administration.