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

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Scott Reid

Thank you, Professor Cotler.

We'll now go back to Mr. Sweet.

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Colonel, thank you again for your testimony. I forgot to mention first up—I did so that last time you were here—thank you very much for your service too, as one of our good friends and allies to the south.

1:45 p.m.

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

Col Wesley Martin

Thank you, sir.

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

I want to ask you about the RAND Corporation and Human Rights Watch. They've had some testimonials regarding grave human rights abuses that happened at Camp Ashraf.

Can you speak to that issue as well?

1:45 p.m.

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

Col Wesley Martin

I can.

Here is the RAND report I was referencing earlier. All the yellow tabs that we see on it mark where I found discrepancies in what the RAND report was saying.

When they were developing this RAND report, they did not talk to General Geoffrey Miller, they did not talk to Bill Brandenburg, they did not talk to Lieutenant General Jack Gardner, or Brigadier General Dave Phillips, or me, or Julie Norman, and the list goes on of who they did not talk to. They talked to a very limited number of people and, as mentioned, they used a lot of cyclic information.

When I was there, one day I got a report from the State Department saying that they have a secret training camp going on here where they're training Iraqis. I mounted up the marines and said we're going into that camp. Then a marine lieutenant and I went in, with the rest of the marines mounted up, machine guns ready to fire. The marine lieutenant and I went forward and we found out that it was where Iraqi workers were able to sleep at night to avoid being caught by Mahdi Army or Badr corps and being executed.

All these rumours I would dispel, but the State Department would not take those rumours off their record. Rather, they would maintain them—even the killing of the Kurds. I gave State Department—Jay Zimmerman and Steve Epstein, in Washington, D.C.—the letter from the foreign minister. They validated it with him, and it came out. He said, yes, I wrote that letter; they did not attack the Kurds. And yet the State Department still sees it, and it's still in this RAND report. And I gave them that letter two years earlier.

RAND usually does very good work. Unfortunately, they took a lot of cyclic information in this one.

Interestingly.... I love this one, from the RAND report: ...very few legislators in the West actively endorse the MeK or even know much about the group. An analysis requested by the Joint Chiefs of Staff during O[peration[ I[raqi] F[reedom] found that the MeK’s support in Congress was not significant. Individual members who appear to view the MeK in a positive light tend to be energetic opponents of the I[slamic] R[epublic of] I[ran] or have significant numbers of Iranian-Americans in their districts. Others are simply misinformed.

So according to RAND, any congressman who speaks favourably of the MeK either totally hates Iran, is out to please the voters, or just doesn't know what they're talking about.

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Is it the same thing with Human Rights Watch?

1:45 p.m.

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

Col Wesley Martin

I'm sure they did it for Human Rights Watch, yes. Was it 2009?

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

I don't have a date in my notes here right now.

1:45 p.m.

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

Col Wesley Martin

I should have helped you there, sir. I'm sure it is.

May 15th, 2012 / 1:50 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

One thing, which I may let you freely elucidate on, that is really troublesome in your testimony is regarding this growing relationship between al-Maliki and Iran. We've done an in-depth study; in fact, the members around here quoted from that study last night when we had a take note debate in the chamber regarding human rights in Iran. You seemed to indicate in your testimony that the State Department or the White House really is not cognizant of this, or consciously ignores it but hasn't taken any action in that regard, even though the President of the United States has spoken very strongly, saying that he's ready to take action and is keeping all of his options open with respect to Iran.

You're also politically savvy. Can you give us some indication of why this is going on?

1:50 p.m.

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

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

It has to be more than just the history of Madeleine Albright.

1:50 p.m.

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

Col Wesley Martin

Oh, it is, and when I look at the way the United States is handling this right now, especially the executive branch, it reminds me of that open mike that President Obama didn't know was live, when he started talking to the Russian president. He's handling this the same way: if we don't pay attention to Iraq and how it's deteriorating, then, come November, it will not be an issue.

Iraq is deteriorating very seriously. I received an intelligence report yesterday from a close friend of mine who is in Iraq—and he is an Iraqi. He wrote:Iran is the king of Iraqi politics now. American officials should and must know the sad fact. Also they should tell American people the truth about what's going on. The al-Maliki government is starting to melt down, but he is still the Minister of Defence. He is the Minister of Interior and he has his six brigades of military assigned especially to him. He is using that to gain more and more power.

The last time I was here, Maliki was trying to work with Moqtada al-Sadr and give him 1,500 positions in the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defence. However, that break has been even greater. Maliki is now arresting people in his own party and, as he did with Tariq Hashimi and Mutlaq, he's getting rid of all his opposition, and he's doing it with the blessing of the United States and ignoring….

Moreover, I also mentioned when I was last here that when military came in and brutally beat down people in Tahrir Square, Hillary Clinton called for an investigation. I thought, great, she's going to investigate what happened in Tahrir Square, Baghdad. No, she was talking about Egypt. Both countries have liberty squares; they both have Tahrir squares. She focused on Tahrir Square, Egypt. She also called for an investigation of the brutal death of Gadhafi; but what about the death of Saddam, which was a lynching? Her department ignored U.S. military warnings that this was going to happen, and then when it did happen, her department, under Condoleezza Rice, backed out and let the military take the blame.

She doesn't talk about the secret hidden prisons inside Iraq and about people who go missing. Right now, Maliki's only major opposition is Barzani, in terms of a regional concern. Barzani came to the White House to speak to President Obama, who told him, “You just need to work it out. Give it time. We don't have time”. So two weeks ago, Barzani met with Moqtada al-Sadr, trying to figure out how they could try to work together to save the government and the country from Maliki.

Ten years ago, Maliki was a street vendor in Damascus. About nine months ago, his son went around buying up properties in the Emirates and Damascus and every other place. Maliki claims he's worth only about $10,000. He's worth several hundred million dollars. I made the comment one time that we sent Al Capone to jail for income tax evasion and too bad we couldn’t do that with Maliki. The man is taking control. I'm waiting for the day for him to be sitting in front of their parliament, smoking a cigarette or cigar while names are called out and people are removed from the room and immediately executed. I don't see him doing this as badly as Saddam did. Saddam literally smoked a cigar while it was happening, but Maliki is basically doing the same thing, and the U.S. government is blessing him. I call it an open-mike situation.

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Scott Reid

Thank you.

Monsieur Jacob, s'il vous plaît.

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Jacob Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Colonel Martin, in your opinion, what are the next concrete measures that the international community or the Government of Canada should take in order to introduce a sustainable solution for the residents of the Ashraf and Hurriya camps?