(Extensions of Remarks - June 21, 2005)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1299]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

[[Page E1299]]



                        HON. THOMAS G. TANCREDO

                              of colorado

                    in the house of representatives

                         Tuesday, June 21, 2005

  Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring to Congress's 
attention the following letter from COL David Phillips ``Griffin-6'' of 
the 89th Military Police Brigade, sent on May 27, 2005, to Mr. Kenneth 
Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, regarding Human Rights 
Watch's recent report on human rights abuses within the Mujahedin e-
Khalq (MEK).

       ``I am the commander of the 89th Military Police Brigade 
     and in that role was responsible for the safety and security 
     of Camp Ashraf from January-December 2004. Over the year long 
     period I was apprized of numerous reports of torture, 
     concealed weapons and people being held against their will by 
     the leadership of the Mujahedin e-Khalq. I directed my 
     subordinate units to investigate each allegation. In many 
     cases I personally led inspection teams on unannounced visits 
     to the MeK/PMOI facilities where the alleged abuses were 
     reported to occur. At no time over the 12 month period did we 
     ever discover any credible evidence supporting the 
     allegations raised in your recent report. I would not have 
     tolerated the abuses outlined in your report, nor would I 
     have sanctioned any acts on the part of the MeK/PMOI to hold 
     people against their will. Each report of torture, kidnapping 
     and psychological depravation turned out to be 
     unsubstantiated. The MeK/PMOI in fact notified us on a 
     routine basis of people who desired to leave the organization 
     and then transported them to our gate. At your request, I can 
     explain in detail specific allegations and the subsequent 
     investigation by my units. To my knowledge, as the senior 
     officer responsible for safeguarding and securing Camp Ashraf 
     throughout 2004, there was never a single substantiated 
     incident as outlined in your report.
       I am very familiar with the leadership of the MeK/PMOI and 
     personally know many of the 3000+ protected people. I've 
     visited male and female units on a routine basis. Sometimes 
     these visits were announced, but most frequently they were 
     unannounced inspections. My subordinate units would randomly 
     select billets, headquarters, warehouses and bunkers for no-
     notice inspections. Not one time did they discover any 
     improper conduct on the part of the MeK/PMOI. Also, the MeK/
     PMOI never denied entry to any of their facilities.
       I believe that your recent report was based on 
     unsubstantiated information from individuals without 
     firsthand knowledge or for reasons of person gain. I 
     personally spent a year of my life in Iraq with the 
     responsibility for Camp Ashraf. I have very extensive first 
     hand knowledge of the MeK/PMOI and the operations at Camp 
     Ashraf. My comments are based on a full year of on location 
     experience. I look back with satisfaction knowing that my 
     unit did an exemplary job and maintained the safety and 
     security of not only the coalition forces at Ashraf, but also 
     the 3000+ protected people.
       I have spoken to large groups of MeK/PMOI members and have 
     also had one on one private conversations with individual 
     members. At no time did any member, ranging from young male 
     and females to the very senior leadership, ever report any of 
     the type conduct outlined in your recent report.
       Iraq was very dangerous throughout 2004. In my opinion, 
     Camp Ashraf was the safest place within my area of 
     responsibility. There was not one incident or combat injury 
     to my forces at Camp Ashraf. I personally felt safe even when 
     surrounded in a room by hundreds of Mujahedin. We always had 
     open dialog and debated difficult subjects. I was 
     exceptionally impressed with the dedication of the female 
     units. These units were professional and displayed strong 
     support for freedom, democracy and equality for women. The 
     dedication of these female members was inspirational. In the 
     entire year only four female members asked to depart the MeK/
     PMOI. In one case a young woman requested to leave the MeK/
     PMOI, but first wanted to complete her responsibility as a 
     singer in one of the holiday festivities. One of my 
     subordinate commanders encouraged her to depart immediately 
     as opposed to returning to her unit. She emphasized that she 
     wanted to participate as a singer in the festival and would 
     then depart from the organization in order to return home to 
     her mother. Several days after the festival we were notified 
     by the MeK/PMOI that the young woman was ready to leave and 
     we picked her up at a hotel type facility. The other three 
     females also voluntarily departed the MeK/PMOI. I never 
     discovered a single incident where a female or male was held 
     in the organization against their will. I observed a total 
     freedom of choice on the part of the members to either remain 
     or depart from the MeK/PMOI.
       As I previously mentioned, I was very impressed 
     specifically by the all female units. I would like my own 
     daughters to someday visit these units for the cultural 
     exchange. Were it not for the ongoing insurgency throughout 
     Iraq, I would sanction my daughter to travel to Camp Ashraf 
     and meet these very dedicated and professional female members 
     of the Mujahedin e-Khalq.
       Thank you for taking the time to read my comments as your 
     report was a direct affront to the professionalism of my 
     units. We maintained the safety and security of Camp Ashraf 
     and can look back in years to come knowing that we made a 
                                              Col. David Phillips,
      ``Griffin-6'', 89th Military Police Brigade.''