20 Bald-Face Lies, Courtesy of UN SRSG Martin Kobler

It is the final days of Martin Kobler’s mission in Iraq, and a week after the major gathering of Iranians in Paris. The important gathering was attended by 600 parliamentarians and prominent international figures from 47 countries, all of whom called for the prosecution of the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative to Iraq, Martin Kobler.

Kobler was complicit in crimes against humanity at Camps Ashraf and Liberty, and in the final days of his mandate in Iraq, he wrote a letter replete with lies.

In his letter, Kobler attempted to justify his criminal conduct over the past 20 months, in a bid to escape prosecution and set the stage for further massacres at Camp Liberty.

Kobler’s Terrible Record

  • Forcible eviction of PMOI members from Ashraf
  • 10 killed
  • 230 wounded
  • 8 dead due to a siege
  • 20 months of psychological torture of Ashraf residents
  • Misleading the international community
  • Enraged the Iraqi people
  • Working at Maliki’s pleasure
  • Kobler Condemned

    Speaking at the Paris event on behalf of 4,000 parliamentarians in the U.S. and Europe, Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras, President of the International Committee of In Search of Justice (ISJ) and the European Parliament Vice-President, said: “Inaction before murder is collaboration with the murderers, action is to participate in the crime and I wish one day Martin Kobler will be held accountable for his shameful behavior. But here dear friends don’t forget the devil generously rewards those who are on his side.”

    Kobler is terrified following the publication of the book “The Untold Story of Camp Ashraf” by Mr. Tahar Boumedra, former senior UN official in Iraq, who exposed Kobler’s ominous mission and conspiracy to destroy the opposition movement against the religious fascism ruling Iran.

    Under the circumstances, Kobler has deliberately ignored Iraq’s obstructions against providing minimum security provisions for Camp Liberty and denied the irrefutable realities on the ground, claiming that the Camp’s leadership is preventing the resettlement process to third countries, and has delayed the relocation of residents to Germany and Albania, violated the human rights of residents and restricted their movement inside the camp. He also barred them free access to the internet and mobile phones, prevented UN monitors from speaking privately with residents and insulted his personnel.

    Simultaneously, in an interview welcomed by the clerical regime’s media, Kobler repeated these same allegations (Tehran Times, June 29). In the same interview, the Maliki government’s spokesman Moussawi, parroted Kobler’s absurd statements, saying: “Baghdad also has concerns that MEK leaders are preventing residents from leaving. There is intimidation being practiced by some MEK leaders against their fellow people… Some MEK members are willing to leave the country, but they are being threatened by a minority preventing them.”

    The Iraqi government is shedding crocodile tears for the residents while it has to date murdered 60 residents in four massacres, wounded 1,300, and also tortured to death 14 others through a medical siege.

    Kobler’s June 28 letter comes after a series of farewell meetings and banquets with Maliki, National Security Advisor Falih Fayadh, Foreign Minister Houshyar Zebari, and Ibrahim Ja’afari, head of the pro-Maliki bloc.

    Having received many gifts from them as well as mutual expressions of regret over Kobler’s mandatory departure from Iraq, Kobler wrote these 20 lies:

    1. “The security situation in Iraq has deteriorated over the last months. I am concerned about the ongoing terror attacks all over Iraq. I have condemned them, including the attacks on camp liberty.”

    By these words, he attempts to blame the three rocket attacks on Camp Liberty on Iraq’s deteriorating security situation in a bid to whitewash the role of the Iranian regime and the government of Iraq as well as his own complicity in these attacks.

    2. That Kobler has condemned the June 15 attack is a thinly-veiled ploy to whitewash his own conduct. The government of Iraq was also compelled to condemn the attack. A genuine expression of condemnation by Kobler, who was responsible for sending the residents to Liberty prison, should have at least included condemning the role of the Iranian regime and the Iraqi government. Kobler, however, even refrained from using the customary diplomatic vernacular that the “government of Iraq has failed in protecting residents of Liberty.”

    3. He also refrains from admitting the obvious reality that five months after the February 9 rocket attack, the Iraqi government prevented the provision of the minimum security requirements for which the residents were willing to pay. These minimums (including the return of the T-walls, bringing small 2x2m2 bunkers into the camp, the transfer of protective helmets and vests and minimum medical equipment from Ashraf to Camp Liberty, granting permission for construction in Liberty, and increasing the Camp’s area) have been raised repeatedly with the U.S., UN and Iraqi officials.

    Ultimately, however, on April 16 and in the presence of Kobler’s representatives, the Iraqi government’s representative said that his government is opposed to providing these minimums. Yet, Kobler writes: “During my farewell visits I have asked the government of Iraq on the highest levels to fulfill your demands concerning t-walls, bunkers, sandbags and personal protective equipment (ppe)” and “I reiterated the demands in a letter to the national security advisor.”

    This is a blatant act of deception. If Kobler was truly interested in helping the security situation at Liberty, he should have declared that in failing to provide security for Liberty residents, the government of Iraq was in breach of its responsibilities consistent with the MoU, signed between the Government of Iraq and the United Nations and international law. Accordingly, Kobler should have sought the intervention of the UN Security Council to prevent another humanitarian catastrophe.

    4. Kobler claims that residents are not cooperating with the UNHCR for resettlement to third countries: “Of equal concern is the lack of cooperation of liberty residents with the UNHCR. During my farewell visit at the Iraqi House, UNHCR staff informed me about the lack of attendance of residents… I have repeatedly requested you to instruct the residents to show up at the ipn interviews. I would encourage you to go on with the cooperation with UNHCR to speedily resettle liberty residents to Albania and Germany. This process is too slow. Residents often agree to settle but only if all residents are able to leave the country…the responsibility is yours.”

    This is while the Camp’s leadership and PMOI are doing their utmost to use all quotas for resettlement in third countries. So far, no significant resettlement offer has remained unfulfilled because of the residents’ refusal, hesitation or delay. Speedy transfer to third countries was a big lie concocted by Kobler to force the residents to relocate to Liberty prison. He is now brazenly blaming the PMOI for the failure of his false promises. Testifying before Congress on April 17 and 18, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, said, “We have contacted countless countries [regarding the resettlement of Liberty residents]; we have been refused by countless countries.”

    5. Blaming the Camp’s leadership for the slow resettlement process to Albania and Germany is a disgusting fabrication. He is trying to overshadow his criminal role by engaging in propaganda concerning Albania’s acceptance of a number of the residents, something which he had nothing to do with. He knows full well that residents’ representatives have provided the UNHCR with five lists (a total of 400 names) for transfer to Albania. So far, only 71 have been transferred and the rest are waiting their turn.

    Regarding Germany, the residents’ representative provided the list of 100 people who have asylum from Germany, but not even one resident has been resettled. On April 16, Kobler stated that the following week 210 would go to Albania and 100 to Germany, asking PMOI not to obstruct the process. (Al-Arabiya TV, April 16, 2013)

    6. The fact that Kobler is attempting to blame the lack of resettlement on the halt in interviewing the residents is another big lie. Over 2,000 have already participated in UNHCR interviews, but to date only 3.5% have been transferred out of Iraq with no prospect for the rest. As such, how could the remaining 1,000 residents’ refusal to be interviewed disrupt the resettlement to third countries?

    After the deadly February 9 attack, the residents have declared time and again and written to the U.S. and UN officials that the primary and most urgent issue at Liberty is their collective security, which could be ensured by temporarily transferring all of them to the U.S., Europe or Ashraf. Until this is achieved, resuming the interviews and piecemeal resettlement would give the appearance of normalcy and ignoring the issue of security, which would pave the way for another massacre. The attacks (on April 29 and June 15 which left two dead and 70 injured) verified this concern. The full cooperation of the Iraqi government with the terrorist Quds Force in these attacks and the planning for further assaults, coupled with obstructions by government of Iraq in the provision of minimum security requirement has made the situation more perilous.

    7. Kobler’s choice word in this and other letters is, “the responsibility is yours.” By blaming the victim instead of the henchman, he is bidding to help the Iranian regime, the government of Iraq, and himself to evade responsibility for the failure of the project to transfer the residents to third countries, turning Liberty into a prison, and the slaughtering of the residents. He is trying to imply that the residents, the Camp’s leadership, and the PMOI must be blamed.

    8. Kobler writes: “I urge you to instruct liberty residents to accept every single also individual offer of third countries without conditions. I truly cannot understand that residents deplore the security situation on one side and refuse to leave the country on the other hand.”

    Regarding the phrase “instruct residents” to which Kobler has referred repeatedly in his letters, Mrs. Rajavi said on March 27, 2013 at the European Parliament: “They do not take orders, we can talk to them and advise them, but the decision is theirs… I have told Kobler many times that things are not resolved in our movement by orders. However, if he is very fond of the culture of giving orders and blind submission, then allow me to first order him in the name of humanity to stop the trade of blood and playing with the lives of human beings and compelling residents to surrender to the religious fascism and to immediately give his place to an impartial person who would not facilitate crime against humanity and forced eviction and who does not pile up 3100 refugees in a stove called Liberty under mortar and missile attacks without protective helmets and vests.”

    9. What Kobler cannot “truly understand” is something anyone without an ominous agenda can easily understand. Any dignified person living in the perilous situation at Liberty would certainly be worried about his/her brothers, sisters, friends and comrades before thinking of him/herself. Kobler speaks as if there hundreds of “individual proposals” for transfer to third countries have been presented to the residents and the residents have refused them. During this period, there have been limited cases of individual proposals and most have been accepted by the residents; only a few people have refused to accept the offers.

    10. Kobler writes, “UNHCR will from Sunday on substantially reduce its personnel, as residents are not showing up (at interviews) anymore… I will brief the EU and the US accordingly. These states are the main funders of the operation.”

    These repeated threats are worthless. Kobler speaks as though all the funds he has received from the EU, the US and even the Iraqi government in the name of the PMOI, have been spent on Liberty residents’ safety and security, and/or their transfer to third countries. That portion of the money not spent on other expenses, have been used for the forcible eviction of the residents from Ashraf to Liberty, and worsening the prison-like conditions of Liberty through the harassment of by his handpicked agents, such as Massoud Durrani.

    11. Concerning Ashraf, Kobler writes, “The GoI decided to go ahead with the property inventory soon. the committee of the property inventory is formed… the GoI further said that Ashraf residents rejected to receive the papers on the inventory and on the eviction. we made however clear to the government to resolve the process peacefully and in cooperation with Ashraf residents… I once again urge you to authorize us to convey to the government the names of the three lawyers or to communicate them directly to them. The conditions Mr. Torricelli put after his visit have been agreed on beginning of the year… also here the ball is in your court and the responsibility is yours.”

    These remarks smell of a conspiracy and blood. Otherwise, what is the point in evacuating Ashraf while neither the property issue nor the security of the PMOI in Liberty has been addressed? Kobler’s claim that he is interested in the “peaceful” resolution of the Ashraf issue is a big lie. If he was really interested in the peaceful resolution of this issue, he could have easily said that there was no point in the evacuation of Ashraf unless and until Liberty’s security and the moveable and immoveable property at Ashraf are addressed. By picking his words, Kobler is trying to hide his role in a possible massacre at Ashraf.

    12. Upon UNAMI’s suggestion, Senator Robert Torricelli, accompanied by Professor Steven Schneebaum, travelled to Iraq on January 1, 2013 to resolve the property issue. However, contrary to the prior agreement, Iraqi officials did not meet with him nor did they permit him to visit Ashraf and Liberty. In order to facilitate the pilfering of the residents’ property, Iraqi officials and Kobler insisted that Senator Torricelli commission the Iraqi lawyers to resolve the issue. On January 7 and 13, Senator Torricelli announced if Kobler were to formally and in writing and on behalf of the Iraqi government agree to his three conditions, he would put the Iraqi lawyers, who were acting as his advisors, in tough with the government of Iraq. Kobler not only refused to sign any of the three conditions, but in his letters (including that of February 24) he clearly demonstrated that the Iraqi government is totally opposed to the substance of at least two of the three conditions.

    13. That Ashraf residents have not accepted papers on the inventory and eviction is consistent with the legal frameworks and according to the quadrilateral agreement between the US government, Iraqi government, United Nations and Ashraf residents, and based on instructions by their legal representatives. The 100 residents in Ashraf are only assigned to protect the property. Senator Torricelli is the residents’ legal representative on the sale of the property. In his 18 May 2013 letter to the residents he wrote, “You are, hereby, advised that if at any time you are approached with such legal process, it should be referred to me as your Legal Counsel. As guardians of the property you have no authority to accept process or engage in negotiations on behalf of the rightful owners of the property at Camp Ashraf. As Counsel, Mr. Schneebaum and I have offered to meet and discuss resolution of all real and personal property issues with the Government of Iraq. Our offer to meet remains outstanding and properly lies with Counsel.”

    The residents presented a copy of this directive to Iraqi agents who had visited Ashraf. Concealing the truth by Kobler in his never-ending litany of lies is common knowledge.

    14. In concluding remarks regarding Ashraf, Kobler writes, “Also here the ball is in your court and the responsibility is yours.” On this matter, more than any other, Kobler bears responsibility. He was part of the premeditated crime against 3,200 asylum seekers and is an accomplice in the pilfering of their property, sending them to Liberty prison and killing field, and in plotting against them. He must face justice. His false allegations and ploys, similar to these letters and interviews, would quickly be rejected in any court of law.

    15. Kobler writes, “Finally, the abuses of human rights in camp liberty and restrictions imposed on liberty residents by the camp leadership continues to be a matter of concern. Monitors are still not in a position to talk to individual residents without supervision. I urge you to instruct the camp leadership to grant freedom of movement inside the camp, free access to Iraqi medical facilities, free and unsupervised internet access and unsupervised access to cellphones for every single resident.”

    In just one paragraph, he has included 7 lies, which can easily be investigated. This is an attempt to legitimize the Iraqi forces’ repressive interference in the residents’ daily life. He accuses the Camp leadership of human rights violations and imposing restrictions on the residents, instead of providing an explanation regarding two opinions issued by UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions that describe Liberty as a prison; preventing and depriving the residents of freedom of movement and minimum safety requirements and instead of explaining why his handpicked agents are engaged in the psychological torture of the residents.

    16. In the face of such false allegations by Kobler, the residents and their representatives have repeatedly asked for the details, time and location of such violations. But Kobler has never responded. Continuous calls by the Iranian Resistance and residents’ representatives to establish an international fact-finding delegation to investigate these claims have fallen on deaf ears. Kobler is guided by the axiom that “tell a lie that is big enough and repeated it often enough, and the whole world would believe it.”

    17. Kobler is asking for free and unsupervised access by all residents to the Internet and mobile phones. In doing so, he is trying to cover his tracks. Kobler knows the Iraqi government, despite the residents’ repeated requests, has not permitted them to purchase mobile phones and install even a single Internet line. The limited number of cell phones the residents took with them from Ashraf will gradually wear out, and there are no replacements. In their joint statement on 30 May 2013, signed by over 3,000 individuals (copies of which were sent to the UN and US officials), the residents wrote, “Mr. Kobler wickedly hides this fact that we have on numerous occasions requested that GoI allow us to purchase mobile phones for all residents in Camp Liberty and that it would provide us with internet connection for everyone, but not even one case has been approved.”

    18. The allegation that the Camp leadership has not granted open access to Iraqi medical facilities to the residents is merely aimed to cover up the tormenting to death of 8 patients due to lack of minimum medical supplies at Liberty and the lack of open access to medical facilities in Iraq for the residents at their own expense.

    The residents’ representative wrote to UNSG on June 10, “Kobler is dishonestly asking for the residents’ free access to the Iraqi clinic which they do have and he himself is well aware of it. Of course, Kobler is producing these letters for those who have no knowledge about the truth. He is a villain who skillfully inverts the truth. He is fully aware that this clinic does not have the minimum equipment such as suction apparatus, airway tube, laryngoscope set and endotracheal tube, D.C shock device, Adrenalin and Zantac injection, IVG.tube, CV Linen set and many other requirements that could be found in any small clinic. It was in the same clinic that three residents lost their lives and Kobler has a part in this murder for which he is liable to legal prosecution.” Repeated requests of residents for the transfer of minimum medical equipment from Ashraf to Liberty have been left unanswered and Kobler has neither taken any measures in this regard.

    19. That monitors cannot talk to the residents is another big lie. The residents’ representative wrote in the same letter of June 10 to SRSG, “Lack of access to individuals or various locations at camp or lack of possibility of private conversations with the residents or lack of possibility for the residents to go to various sections of the Camp are absolute lies. We have written to you on this regard repeatedly and have urged for dispatching a fact-finding mission. The best reason that these are lies is that the UNHCR and UNAMI staff are in the Camp on daily basis, in the morning and afternoon, and visit anywhere and talk to anyone they wish. Some pictures of UNAMI monitors while visiting Camp Liberty are attached. Whatever objective MR. Kobler pursues, the consequence of these lies is simply setting the stage for another massacre. If the Camp leadership and the PMOI, deprive the residents from their rights, the meddling and attack by Iraq would not only be legitimate, but also it would be necessary. Kobler understands this logic better than anyone else.”

    Concerning similar allegations by Kobler Mr. Struan Stevenson, President of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Iraq, wrote to UNSG on May 16, “I have worked closely with the PMOI for many years and receive daily briefings regarding Camp Liberty. These statements by Mr. Kobler could be used as justifications for another massacre. The reality is that the monitors have had free access to everywhere in the camp and have been free to talk to anyone in the camp. On various occasions in the past Kobler had falsely accused the residents of spreading their own garbage around the camp to make it look unhygienic. He had claimed that the residents purposely exploded the camp sewage lines and even that some residents had deliberately sand-papered off their fingerprints! His deceptions are becoming quite ludicrous. His unprecedented animosity towards the residents of the camps, prevent him from being the UN’s unbiased special envoy. In Srebrenica we were faced with negligence or cowardliness of UN officials, but here we are facing collusion, which could cost the reputation of the UN a great deal. I am afraid that Kobler, with his policy of collusion, could aid and abet another crime that would seriously impact on the UN, US and EU.”

    20. Kobler writes, “The monitors also told me that there a still acts of disrespectful behavior against them, like verbal abuses and spitting at them.” This is an absolute lie. To the contrary, the residents of Liberty and Ashraf and the Camp leadership and Iranian Resistance have exhibited the utmost respect for the UN personnel who are defending UN values and appreciate their efforts. By fabricating such lies, Kobler intends, as stated in NCRI’s April 14 response to similar lies, “to justify the actions of one of his handpicked agents in persecuting and harassing the residents, particularly the disabled patients when they rest, and acting as a messenger for the Iranian Intelligence Ministry as well as giving false reports against the residents.”

    The residents and their representatives have repeatedly exposed this allegation by Kobler and have explained that residents have not acted aggressively nor insulted any of the monitors. Kobler’s real mission has not been monitoring the situation of Liberty residents to ensure their rights consistent with humanitarian and human rights standards, but protecting the interests of the Iraqi government and the mullahs’ regime as well as the persecution and psychological torture of the residents.

    Kobler’s handpicked agent, who communicates the Ministry of Intelligence messages (as pointed out in April 11 statement of the National Council of Resistance of Iran), intends to create tension, provoke the residents in Liberty and to provide an excuse for suppressive measures against the residents by engaging in insulting behavior and harassing the residents.

    The outcome of Kobler’s mission on Ashraf is nothing but the forcible eviction of 3200 refugees who are protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention and their relocation to Liberty prison through deception, lies, distortion and fabrication. This has left 10 residents killed, 230 injured, 6 dead due to the inhumane blockade, psychological torture of 3200 people for twenty months, two missile attacks on Liberty on February 9 and June 15 of 2013, and misleading the international community with fabricated reports. Obviously, the families and lawyers of residents, together with defenders and supporters of Ashraf and Liberty throughout the world will not abandon the task of Kobler’s prosecution for complicity in crime against humanity.

    Reiterating that there is no doubt about Kobler’s ominous intentions in serving the religious fascism ruling Iran and its puppet regime in Iraq, the Iranian Resistance once again calls on the United Nations Secretary General and Security Council to form an international fact-finding mission to investigate Martin Kobler’s actions. This is the only way to prevent the recurrence of the bitter and bloody experience of Kobler’s mission in Ashraf or in Iraq or elsewhere.

    Shahriar Kia is a member of the Iranian opposition (PMOI /MEK). He is a human rights activist and political analyst on Iran and the Middle East.