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 hurriya.

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

David Sweet Conservative 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 Conservative 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.

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Conservative 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 Conservative 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 Conservative Scott Reid

Thank you.

Monsieur Jacob, s'il vous plaît.

May 15th, 2012 / 1:55 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Jacob NDP 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?

1:55 p.m.

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

Col Wesley Martin

Is there a technical problem?

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Scott Reid

I'm sorry, Mr. Jacob, I will ask you to repeat your question.

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Jacob NDP Brome—Missisquoi, QC

I am going to ask my question again.

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Scott Reid

It's my fault.

1:55 p.m.

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

Col Wesley Martin

Okay, sir, I apologize.

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Jacob NDP Brome—Missisquoi, QC

There is no problem.

In your opinion, what concrete measures should the international community or the Government of Canada or both take in the way of coming up with a sustainable solution regarding the residents of the Ashraf and Hurriya camps?

1:55 p.m.

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

Col Wesley Martin

First, I apologize again. When we were stationed in Korea, we used to speak and then we would get direct translation, so I was looking for who was translating. I'm sorry.

I appreciate the question. Right now I feel there are two things that are very critical. One is that the Canadian government delist the MeK, bring it off the terrorist list. When I was in Iraq, I was very proud to serve with them and have them on my flank when I was the commander of Ashraf. I know they're not terrorists; they were trusted allies. Even before I worked with them at Ashraf, two years earlier, when I was the anti-terrorism officer of the whole country, I did an assessment of all the threats that were facing all coalition forces. I was able immediately to recognize them as not a threat, as people who were working with General Karpinski at the time. She told me herself. We had an opportunity. It's not a terrorist organization; it needs to be removed from the list.

I know we all want to respect the decisions of the United States and work with them, but this time the United States is wrong. We need to get it off the list.

Second, as many people as possible should be hosted in our countries. I have 30 acres in western New York. I figured that in my house and everything I have there, I could easily support a dozen. I am willing to take 12 MeK members in myself, where I live. I would encourage the western European, Canadian, and U.S. governments to do the same thing. Let's bring them all out. If those arrest warrants are valid, al-Maliki can go ahead and extradite them back, but I know they're not valid. I know that the one Spain has on al-Maliki for the attacks on Ashraf is valid. But I do know that the arrest warrants for the MeK will prove not to be valid. We cannot allow these warrants to be executed, because the people in turn will be executed, most likely in Tehran, sir.

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Jacob NDP Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Thank you.

Toward the end of your statement, you said that the time had come to put an end to the appeasement policy toward the Iran fundamentalist regime, and that it was time to support a humanitarian intervention. What would you have to say, practically speaking, to Canada and to the international community?

1:55 p.m.

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

Col Wesley Martin

Sir, what we need to do right now for those 2,000 at Camp Ashraf is to put at end to the situation they're in, the squalid conditions they're living in. We have to get them immediate assistance, get them the water they need, get them relief from the heat, get them insecticides, and take that little camp and remove them from it.

There's something very disturbing that also came in from that intelligence report I got from inside Iraq. Al-Maliki is looking at suddenly moving them further to the south, maybe towards the Diwaniyah area or farther down to Nasariyah. We have to make sure they are able to get medical supplies, which are being denied, and that they get all of the other resources they need for immediate life support. Then let's bring them out. I guarantee you, if they are brought out, the people who criticize them now will be amazed at how hard-working they are, how dedicated they are to the same principles we have.

I often point out that my own government, the executive branch, says these people have Marxist-Leninist beliefs because they believe in equality between those in power and those who are not. They believe clerics should not have total rule over the congregations and cannot be the sole interpreter of the Koran. Those were the three founding principles of the MeK. I don't find them offensive. I don't find them representative of Marx and Lenin; to me they are more representative of Madison and Jefferson.

People would be amazed at how their ideals are so close to ours, if we did the humanitarian thing and brought them out, sir.

2 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Jacob NDP Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Thank you very much, Colonel Martin.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

2 p.m.

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

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Scott Reid

Thank you, Mr. Jacob.

This brings the questions to a conclusion.

Colonel Martin, we're very grateful that a you were able to come here. Before we wrap up, is there anything else we've missed that you'd like to leave with us?

2 p.m.

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

Col Wesley Martin

I appreciate everything you're doing. I would like to close by saying that if at any time you would like me to return, or if you would like General Phillips to come, we will come back. If there is work that can be done to help remove the MeK from the foreign terrorist list and I get a call 48 hours out, I will be here. I know that it's the same thing for General Phillips: We will meet with anybody, any place you desire.

Finally, let's remove the MeK from the terrorist lists of both our countries. And let's bring them out of Iraq and do the right, humanitarian thing.

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Scott Reid

Thank you very much, Colonel.

[Applause]

2 p.m.

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