Evidence of meeting #38 for Subcommittee on International Human Rights in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was ashraf.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Wesley Martin  Colonel (retired), Military Police, United States Army, As an Individual

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Thank you very much.

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Scott Reid

Mr. Marston.

1:25 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Colonel, it's good to see you back again.

Your last testimony before our committee was very persuasive, and since then we've had other testimony on this file. So I'm going to ask you some very hard questions, because I think the questions need to be resolved.

On December 13 we had an official from Foreign Affairs who told the committee that the MeK had been actively involved in committing several terrorist attacks in the past, including assassinations, hostage taking, hit and runs aimed at government buildings in crowded cities where civilians were caught in the crossfire.

Now your testimony before us—and I know your testimony has great conviction behind it—was that the MeK, the people in Camp Ashraf, are largely an innocent group of people who have been, for not very clear reasons, repeatedly attacked by the Iranian government and their secret police.

But, again, since our last meeting we've had news reports—and I presume you're aware of these—that have emerged concerning what they call deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists that were carried out by the MeK in a very dramatic way. The assailants were riding motorcycles and attached magnetic bombs to the sides of a car. They also said there were five Iranian nuclear scientists killed since 2007 and that a missile research and development site may have been destroyed.

Also, the reports are indicating that training of these people was provided by the U.S. and the Israeli secret police—which seems to be a theme that we hear from time to time from certain circles—and that they have coordinated, armed, and financially supported these groups. What's your reaction to that, because I think it opens a whole different view of the situation and needs to be addressed?

1:25 p.m.

Colonel (retired), Military Police, United States Army, As an Individual

Col Wesley Martin

Right. To peel back the onion one layer at a time, there was revolution going on inside Iran involving Communists, the Mujahedin-e-Khalq, and the supporters of Grand Ayatollah Khomeini. These three elements were all fighting against the Shah. What the United States especially tries to do is to ignore the fact that in 1953 it was the U.S. CIA that backed a very violent overthrow of the leader then and put a very brutal person in charge, the Shah. So a war was raging in that country during that timeframe, and then there were splinter elements from there.

I do know about the blame for the killing of the three American officers and three Rockwell employees. When the Shah's police captured the people responsible for doing it, they all stated they were from the Marxist PMOI. Now, there were battles between the government forces and even after Khomeini took power, within the MeK. That's where Mr. Rajavi's first wife, Ashraf, was killed in one of those attacks.

1:25 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Can I interrupt you just for a second?

1:25 p.m.

Colonel (retired), Military Police, United States Army, As an Individual

1:25 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

The testimony we had, though, said that this was something that had happened closer to now. So that's why I thought I would give you the opportunity to—

1:25 p.m.

Colonel (retired), Military Police, United States Army, As an Individual

Col Wesley Martin

I appreciate it. I know that testimony and I challenge it again, because from the time that Saddam gave them a place to be in 1986 as a military force—and that's why I emphasize the National Liberation Army of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq—they were oriented in a military manner toward the opposition, in all honesty, much like the Continental Army was during the American Revolution. They were fighting a war.

On the recent accusations that they were behind these attacks in Iran, I've heard the same accusations directed toward Israel. The Iranian government has a very capable propaganda machine, maybe not as good as Adolf Hitler had under Goebbels, but it is very, very good. And even when the Saudi ambassador plot was discovered, the Iranian government came out and tried to blame the People's Mujahedin for this act, and the U.S. government this time immediately stood up and said no, it wasn't them, but the Iranian government. There is a very strong disinformation campaign going on. And when anything bad happens inside Iran, the people who are automatically blamed are either Israel or the MeK.

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Or the Bahá'ís....

1:30 p.m.

Colonel (retired), Military Police, United States Army, As an Individual

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

They were the national scapegoat for a long time, but from the point of view of this kind of situation, that's why I thought it was important to allow you the opportunity to clarify it because these news reports are fairly recent.

If we accept this disinformation from somebody, it would sound like the agenda for whoever it would be to prevent them from being delisted.

1:30 p.m.

Colonel (retired), Military Police, United States Army, As an Individual

Col Wesley Martin

I do appreciate the question, and there is another reason. When the report on Iran was done by the United States, I found that what that report had listened to quite often had been news releases. And as members of government, you've all been victims of bad reporting. If somebody took every adverse article about you and printed it in a consolidated document as a fact, you would feel like the most hideous person around.

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

You'd have trouble getting re-elected. But the point was, it would have been easy to propose these questions to you as an accusation, and I want to quite clearly put them out there. I believe in tabling things like this because you have to clear things up, and if there is a distortion, then it should be addressed.

1:30 p.m.

Colonel (retired), Military Police, United States Army, As an Individual

Col Wesley Martin

Yes, sir, and I sincerely appreciate it. Because, you're right: they are out there.

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

I heard the bell.