By Staff Writer, Iran Probe
Thursday, 10 August 2017
Thank you very much. Hello every one, you know the three thousand two hundred people who were in Ashraf before the attack in 2009 had many friends and you heard from many friends from America and other countries but in America we had a small working group of about ten people, Governor Ridge who you'll hear from later, General McCasey, Louise Ferry the head of the FBI, Rudy Giuliani Howard Dean, and a number of generals, General Shelton, General Casey, General Conway. And we work for seven years to try to get the Ashraf people free out of Iraq. But I wanted you to know there are two people who deserve extra credit from all of the group. Number one is Bob Torricelli. Let the record show Bob Torricelli was our chief negotiator with the State Department. Went to Albania four separate times and was the one who convinced the State Department to allow all three thousand out in rapid-fire succession.
Bob Torricelli deserves a great debt of thanks. He did not do it for credit, he did not do it for praise, he did it because like I am like all of a small group we began, devout believers in the goodness and the talent that was in Ashraf and we couldn't let those good people die. So let’s hear it for Bob Torricelli.
Secondly, there's someone here today who isn't going to speak tonight but is spoken to this gathering on a number of occasions and he was as important as even Bob Torricelli was in moving the people from Ashraf out of Ashraf, out of Liberty to Albania and that was Colonel Wesley Martin. Colonel Martin was the glue held group together he worked every single day he worked to make sure that this happened. So those of you who do not know Colonel Wesley Martin, he was a commander at Ashraf. A stationary commander in Ashraf for several years and has been the single person who has made our efforts successful.
Now, I want to talk a little bit to the people of Ashraf that are in Albania and all of you, this was a difficult fight when we took over the MEK was on the terror list. Nobody wanted to touch anybody from the MEK. No country was reaching out and saying bring your people here. Regardless of what was happening in Iraq, nobody was willing to give them asylum. So our group got together and we worked awfully hard day and day to work with the United Nations people work with the State Department and finally, we got them delisted. And by the way, Newt Gingrich says he's a history professor and we can learn from history so I want to mention a little history by the way who did that delisting? Who is the secretary stated that did the delisting? Let the record shows Hillary Clinton and who did Hillary Clinton work for? She worked for President Barack Obama.
Now, when the State Department helped us get three thousand Ashrafis to Albania, Bob Torricelli will tell you and anybody who was in on that will tell you that it was because of the work of the secretary of state in the United States John Kerry. And I am here asking you a question, who did John Kerry work for? Barack Obama. So let's be clear about this the three thousand people who are in Albania because of Hillary Clinton John Kerry and a lot of Americans Democrats and Republicans alike who are all up their sleeves and work hard because we believed in those people we believed in their goodness we believed in their talent we believed in their energy we believed that they could be the cornerstone to building a free Iran.
And now, the next step is to free Iran and you all know down deep that regime change is up to the people of Iran and that means you. That means the people who are in Albania, that means Iranian dissidents all around the globe and that means Iranian dissidents in Iran, in Tehran, in all of the different cities. But the United States has to stand firm and stand behind this movement and I believe we will, not only will we because we do believe in freedom and we do admire people who fight for their freedom are willing to die for their freedom, we will stand behind you because it is also our self-interest because we know a free Iran ruled by Madam Rajavi mean to the Middle East it will mean peace and security. It will mean an end to extremism, it will mean an end to Iran being a hotbed for terrorism and it will mean that women will no longer be persecuted. It will mean that Iranian women and men who have the right to vote. It means that Iran will have an open society that understands its religious heritage but also understands that religion can't be the sole driver of the government. Those things are in our interest as Americans. So I want to close by telling you two things.
As mayor of Philadelphia, I had the great opportunity to take the great American city there was on its back and turned its destiny around، that was wonderful. As governor, I had a chance by signing my name on a bill that raised the minimum wage four thousand dollars a year. I gave over four hundred thousand people a four thousand dollars a year raise. I put in a bill that made sure that every child in Pennsylvania was covered by health care, every child in Pennsylvania. Those were all wonderful accomplishments, but in my public career, I have never felt a better feeling, knowing that my work and my energy somehow contributed in some small part to getting the people of the Ashraf out of Iraq to safety. I never felt prouder of anything I have done in my public courier.
This was a total award, to see those faces on the screen tonight that's a total award, you don't have to thank me. It’s wonderful. it's a great feeling and we are freedom loving people and when Maryam Rajavi went over and faced that sign here the memorial saying the price of freedom, in Philadelphia, there's a park called Washington Square Park, there are two thousand dead colonial American soldiers under the ground in Washington Park and there's a monument and it says “here lies evidence that the price of freedom isn't free”. We all know that Americans died for their freedom but so did members of the MEK and I pledge to you today as Maryam Rajavi is watching this on television I want her to understand that Americans, Republicans, Democrats, independents. Americans,
…Americans from red states, blue states we all stand behind her because all Americans have one thing in common and we know we fought for our freedom, we know our freedom is precious, we know it takes sacrifice, we know it takes courage and we're behind you because you're fighting for all the same things. thank you.
Governor Ed Rendell, former Governor of Pennsylvania. Ed Rendell served as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 2000 presidential election and he is nicknamed "America's Mayor" by Al Gore when he was Mayor of Philadelphia Mayor of Philadelphia in 1991 in 1991