Presenting survivors and hostages as perpetrators of Ashraf massacre to escape consequences of crime against humanity
Call on United Nations to conduct an impartial probe and introduce and try operatives and commanders of September 1 massacre
Nuri al-Maliki, during his visit to U.S. has taken a ludicrous report with him as the outcome of the work of the “investigative committee” regarding the massacre and mass execution in Ashraf so as through deception and histrionics confront international rage and abhorrence against the September 1 massacre and reign in extensive protests from U.S. congressmen and senators and their calls on the U.S. President to tie military aid to Maliki to the release of the seven Ashraf hostages and the guarantee of security and PMOI rights in Camp Liberty.
According to reports and documents that has reached the resistance from inside Iran, the outcome of “Maliki’s investigation” is replete of Goebbels-like lies with the sole objective to wash Maliki’s bloody hands. Through demagoguery, he plans to change the place of henchman and the victim and to drive home the ludicrous scenario of Ghassem Soleimani, commander of the terrorist Qods Force, to Americans; presenting the hostages and the 42 PMOI members who are the survivors of the massacre as the perpetrators of September 1 assault.
Time and again previously, the Iranian Resistance had warned the UN Secretary-General in NCRI statements number 65, 73 and 77 and in the letter of September 30 that the outcome of the investigation conducted by Government of Iraq shall only pave the way for another massacre urging United Nations and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to assume the responsibility for conducting an investigation into the massacre and mass execution of September 1 and additionally urged the U.S. government to bring the perpetrators of this great atrocity to justice through the UN Security Council.
1. In NCRI statement no. 77 (October 7, 2013), the Iranian Resistance disclosed: “Reliable evidence obtained from inside the Iranian regime which can be presented to any international court reveals that agents of Jamil Shemeri, Head of the Diyala Police in Iraq, has been ordered by Maliki and the Prime Ministry’s committee tasked with suppression of Ashraf to offset an impartial and independent investigation on the crime against humanity which occurred in Ashraf by stage shows and false reports produced by the so-called committee of investigation. This aims at helping the instructors and perpetrators of this crime such as Maliki, Faleh Fayaz and Major General Shemeri and other criminals to escape the consequences of this crime against humanity. Investigation by Maliki government is planned to represent most ridiculously the victims as perpetrators of massacre in Ashraf.”
2. The report taken by Maliki to United States claims that contrary to PMOI statements, the “investigation” committee found no handcuffs in Ashraf and no handcuffs have been shown to the committee either. This is while UNAMI’s representative who went to Ashraf in the afternoon of September 1 took pictures of all the crime scenes and victims, many of whom had been executed with their hands tied. Despite the insistence of this UNAMI representative, none of the Iraqi agents accompanied him to the camp. Given the high ambient temperature and the advice from the UNAMI representative, at late hours, all corpses were transferred to a hall that was cooled by air-condition to prevent rapid degeneration of the bodies.
3. On the next day, Deputy Special Representative of Secretary-General visited Ashraf and on September 3 UNAMI declared: “Inside the camp, the delegation witnessed 52 bodies in a makeshift morgue. All the deceased appeared to have suffered gunshot wounds, the majority of them in the head and the upper body, and several with their hands tied. The delegation also saw several damaged buildings, including one burnt, and was shown quantities of explosives.”
4. Maliki’s report claims that Ashraf residents have not given the investigative committee the films they have taken. This is while the majority of the films taken from crime scenes were stolen by Iraqi forces to destroy the evidence. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi declared on September 19 at the UN Headquarters in Geneva: “Hours of video footage taken with mobile phones and cameras of Maliki’s forces and Iranian regime’s agents storming of Ashraf is available. Iraqi forces confiscated cameras from the hands of those who were executed. We demand the Iraqi government release these mobile phones and cameras that it confiscated from martyrs and wounded persons.” Only a small segment of pictures that the assassins could not make time to take with them remained in Ashraf and they were all published and are available on U-tube and accessible to all. Even this small segment unmistakably shows that Maliki’s special forces were the operatives of the Ashraf massacre.
5. Report alleges that residents refused to allow Iraqi forces enter and register the incident. This is another fabrication. Following the massacre, Iraqi forces under the command of Brigadier General Khalis, Jamil Shemeri’s deputy, entered Ashraf and visited all locations to destroy the evidence, including taking away the explosive materials. Residents only, for obvious reasons, conditioned visit of Iraqi forces to the place where the 42 survivors were to them being accompanied by a UNAMI delegation.
6. Maliki’s “investigation” alleges that the 42 remaining residents had established defensive positions with sandbags and hence they had prior information that something specific is to happen, but they did not inform the Iraqi officials. This statement only reveals Maliki’s ghastly intents. Given the numerous criminal attacks by Iraqi forces against Ashraf, in the weeks prior to September 1, Ashraf residents, time and again, informed U.S. and UN of Iraqi forces’ intention to attack.
7. Maliki’s report ridiculously writes: “There has been a clash inside the camp between those who wanted to return to their country and those who wanted to stay in the camp. Reason is that they have not given the true number of residents remaining in the base and Iraqi officials were given the number ‘82’ while it became evident that there were more people.” But, all UN documents and statements by U.S. officials put the number of those remaining in Ashraf at 100. Kobler’s letter of September 6, 2012 to residents stipulates that 100 would remain in the camp to safeguard the remaining property and Special Envoy of the U.S. Secretary of State told the French news agency on October 3, 2012: “He said some 200 members of the group had been authorised by the Iraqis to remain in Camp Ashraf until the end of last month to sell off vehicles and property but that 100 were due to leave shortly. Asked whether there was a deadline for the last group of 100 to leave, he said there was ‘no time limit’.”
8. Maliki’s report claims that planting of explosive material in Ashraf that caused millions of dollars in damages was the work of residents themselves and writes: “All kinds of explosives were in the base. This demonstrates that residents of this base had ill intentions towards the sovereignty of our beloved country Iraq and they have hidden all evidence and facts that show the conditions of this incident.” Such nonsense is while on April 2009, Iraqi officers searched Ashraf with K9 dog units for several days for this purpose and then, in an official and written document, declared that there are no weapons or explosive materials in Ashraf.
9. Mr. Taher Boumedra, former UNAMI Chief of Human Rights and UNAMI Advisor on Ashraf, in his testimony at the British House of Commons on 11 September 2012, speaking on the April 2011 massacre, said: “I went to Ashraf; I did the body count and went back to Baghdad. Together with the US Ambassador Butler, we went to the Chief of Staff of Al-Maliki, together with his National Security Advisor and Political Advisor plus the Office of Human Rights within the Prime Minister’s Office. I showed them the file and I said to them there are 36 bodies, 36 people killed, and they looked at each other as if I’m fabricating the story. I showed them the film. They didn’t want to see it. I requested an inquiry; they said to me we will do the inquiry our way. What is their way of inquiry? I sat down with them in the Prime Minister’s office and they showed me a number of grenades pictures and some light weapons, pistols and Kalashnikovs that there are weapons in Camp Ashraf and those weapons have been used to kill the Ashrafis themselves... Those pictures, I know that they were not properly done, it was just a picture you could collect from any resource, but never mind. Those pictures were used and distributed to the embassies in Baghdad, together with some statements, those statements were the statements of security forces who were involved in the incident, in the attack and that was the investigation made by of the Government of Iraq.”
10. This report asserts that at the time of the attack “Residents of the camp presented no complaint letters and did not inform the protective force and the police center of the attack for legal action to be taken”. According to testimony by eyewitnesses, Mr. Rahim Tabari, residents’ legal advisor who was also killed in this attack and was the known liaison to Iraqi forces and Jamil Shemeri, tried to call them from the very first moments of the attack, but contrary to the normal routine, they refused to answer. History log of his mobile phone shows these calls. His body, with a phone in hand, also shows that even when he was being shot by coups de grace, he was still trying to call the Iraqi forces. Hossein Madani, another legal advisor to Ashraf residents, although wounded, informed UN officials in Baghdad at the outset of the assault, but badly wounded only moments later was killed by being shot in the head. Concurrently, residents’ representatives informed the U.S. government of the attack through various means and in less than an hour from the start of the assault, the most senior officials of this government learned of the attack and stressed that they would contact Iraqi officials on the subject. However, until noon September 1, Iraqi officials were denying any incident in Ashraf to give adequate time to complete the massacre and abduct the hostages.
11. On September 11, 35 senior US officials, including 10 Generals, five military officers who were responsible for the protection of Camp Ashraf, Congressional leaders and former Presidential candidates, cabinet secretaries and ambassadors wrote an open letter to Secretary of State John Kerry: “Asking the Iraqi government, which committed these atrocities, to perform an impartial investigation and make those results public is absolutely ludicrous. But we do not even have that pretense of objectivity. Prime Minister Maliki simply ignores the requests and accepts weak US and UN responses as a green light to commit further atrocities. This history of this Iraqi sponsored genocide and all of the facts we know confirm that additional massacres are imminent”.
12. Vice-President of the European Parliament and President of the International Committee in Search of Justice composed of 4000 parliamentarians in U.S. and Europe, in a letter on October 24 to Mrs. Ashton, presented conclusive and unequivocal evidence that the September 1 assault had been organized by Maliki and that the hostages are under his control urging Mrs. Ashton to work for an international investigation. He wrote: “Any unbiased examiner would clearly and without any doubt come to the conclusion that the direct responsibility of this attack lies on the shoulders of Maleki... one of the key lessons in criminology is to find out the motive for the committed crime. Since the Iranian regime was instrumental in Maleki’s becoming the Prime Minster for the second term and since Maleki desperately needs the Iranian regime’s support to become the Prime Minister for the third time, the motive for him to commit this crime against the PMOI is vividly clear. Furthermore, if he really was innocent in this attack he would have made efforts to provide the minimum security for the residents of Camp Liberty in the past 54 days since the attack. However, Maleki has vehemently opposed and prevented all efforts to provide a minimum measure of safety for the Camp. He has prevented the delivery of the T-walls to the camp. He has denied delivery of helmets, bullet proof jackets, and medical supplies... to the residents. It is very clear that Maleki’s mandate is to eliminate the PMOI.”
13. Mr. Stevenson, President of the Delegation for Relations with Iraq in the European Parliament, declared on September 3: “We urge the EU, the member states and Baroness Ashton to pressure Iraq to release the 7 hostages who were kidnapped on Sunday and to form an international fact finding committee for an independent and thorough investigation without the influence of Iraq and with the presence of lawyers and representatives of the residents and victims. We believe that Europe can play a very important role in this regard.” This request was supported by 150 other representatives of the European parliament as well.
14. An investigative and comprehensive report of 70 pages, prepared by a group of U.S. jurists and scholars, after studying all evidence of the crime, video footages, and conducting interviews with the 42 survivors of the massacre, that was subsequently presented to the United Nations on October 30 says:
“This report, which is based on reliable evidence, confirms the direct involvement of the Government of Iraq in the attack. Beyond the changed story of the Iraqi Government, the report’s authors have come across no evidence to suggest there was any other actor involved in the massacre other than the Iraqi Government. For this reason, there must be accountability… the UN and US must break their silence and hold the Government of Iraq to account for its commission of these acts.
“Based on the evidence, the Government of Iraq has committed numerous violations of international law. Violations include crimes against humanity under customary international law, which is binding on all states, and provisions of three treaties to which Iraq is a party—the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), and the Fourth Geneva Convention…. the UN should conduct an independent and impartial investigation. Iraq has said it will conduct its own investigation, but it is clear from Iraq’s past actions that it is not capable of independently investigating the facts, especially if the conclusion is self-incriminating."
15. The report added: “Since taking over control of Camp Ashraf from Coalition Forces in 2009, the Iraqi Government has stationed over 1,200 soldiers and police officers in and directly outside Camp Ashraf. Tahar Boumedra, former Chief of the Human Rights Office at UNAMI, recently testified about this before the UN: ‘Ashraf is [a] highly fortified camp where nobody…[can]…penetrate into the camp without the active preparation and support of the Iraqi Police and Army.’ Boumedra’s conclusion is supported by the statements of two former US military officials, Brigadier General (Ret.) David D. Phillips and Colonel (Ret.) Wesley Martin, both of whom have personal experience working in Ashraf".
The report among other factors indicates the followings:
• Colonel Nahad, the commander of the RDF forces, was at Lion’s Gate as the Attackers made their way into Ashraf.
• As the Attack was underway, two UNAMI representatives, Mohammed al Najjar and Francesco Motta, were in touch with General Jamil (Commander of the Diyala Province police), who reported to them that nothing was going on in the Camp.
• The Attackers entered the Camp with the direct and unequivocal assistance of Iraqi policemen.
• The Attackers, who were speaking Arabic with an Iraqi accent, wore uniforms virtually identical to those worn by the Interior Ministry’s Golden Division.
• The police already stationed inside the Camp were watching from a high vantage point with binoculars as the attack was being carried out.
• The Iraqi police failed to answer numerous phone calls when those in Ashraf tried to reach them for help. Until this day, the Iraqi police had always efficiently answered their phones.
• Because of delays getting clearance from the Iraqi police, UNAMI representative Amer Wghad Al-Qeisi was not able to enter the Camp until 2pm, at which point the police refused to accompany him beyond Tulip Square.
• The massacre is consistent with Iraq’s prior attacks against the Residents pursuant to its policy to expel them from the country.
Once again the Iranian Resistance stresses on this legal, logical and rational principle that suspect in crime should not participate in the investigation into that crime, let alone conduct and direct it, and it once again calls on the UN Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct an independent and comprehensive investigation into the September 1 massacre and to bring the culprits to justice and not to allow Maliki and Khamenei to cover up this great crime against humanity and permit great criminals to evade justice and pave the way for a yet greater massacre.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
November 1, 2013