Speech by Congressman Ted Poe of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives
September 27, 2013 – Mr. Speaker, not all is well in the world. In the 21st century, there is still a fight that must be fought against those bent on killing innocent people.
These people’s crime? Simply wanting to be left alone and live how they please. In the early morning hours of September 1, Iraqi gunmen raided Camp Ashraf.
Camp Ashraf is a camp out in the hinterlands of Iraq where members of an Iranian opposition group used to live after Iran started executing their Members. But 2 years ago most residents were forced to move to a new camp closer to Baghdad and out of over 3,000 people originally at Camp Ashraf, only about 100 remained in the camp on the morning of the attack.
By the time the sun came up, they had killed fifty-two unarmed residents and kidnapped seven more. I have seen footage of the attack. Unarmed civilians are running around trying not to get shot while the evildoers systematically gun them down. The evildoers were not trying to talk. They were trying to kill. And they succeeded.
A United Nations delegation conducted a visit to the camp the next day and verified that the 52 deceased had “suffered gunshot wounds, the majority of them in the head and the upper body, and several with their hands tied.”
These people were executed when they had not done anything wrong. They had no weapons. They did not pose a threat to anyone. They were murdered in cold blood.
To make matters worse, this isn’t even the first time that something like this has happened. Despite repeated assurances by the Iraqi government that they will be safe and protected, since 2012 alone, 113 members have been killed in five separate attacks.
It should be clear to all by now that the Iraqi government cannot be trusted to keep these refugees safe. I have traveled to Iraq several times.
On my last trip, I asked Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki to let me visit Camp Ashraf. He refused. It seemed like he had something to hide.
Mr. Speaker, there were 7 hostages taken on September 1. All we know is that they are somewhere in Iraq still. If we don’t find these hostages soon, it is almost certain that they will be killed in Iraq or taken to Iran and executed.
Our government must do everything in its power to secure their release. And that’s just the way it is.
Text of the speech is published in the Congressional Record