Mass grave behind the Amn Headquarters, 200 Shiaa buried.
It was during the siege of West Beirut that Bashir Gemayel decided to open a hatch to West Beirutis for those persons who wanted to flee to Tripoli (North Lebanon) or the Bekaa Valley. That was when the Iranian diplomats were kidnapped and slaughtered, together with 230 Lebanese Shiat Moslem. It was 15 years ago when the crime was committed. Two impenitent gamblers, Hobeika and Geagea, resorted to their usual roundabout ways, and were now accusing Israel of detaining them, and of seeking to exchange them for the Israeli pilot Ron Arad reportedly held in an Iranian jail.
Whatever the transgressions, and evasiveness, four Iranians were dead and buried under Eucalyptus trees cheek-by-jowl within the three-story War Council building housing Intelligence and Security Headquarters. Aboard the diplomatic car, as we later came to learn who were the dead, were the Iranian charge d’affaires, Mohsen Moussawi, two diplomats, Ahmad Kussliane and Kazem Anuan and the chauffeur, Taki Rastakar. Around noon the convoy set out crossing the first checkpoint between the two sectors of the capital. One hour later, they reached the “Barbara” checkpoint, the border passage between the Christian sector and the North, bolted by Samir Geagea, Commander of the Lebanese Forces of the North and his iron disciplined military men. The convoy was stopped, identities checked and the four men arrested. The Internal security forces were ordered to leave after a sharp altercation.
A few hours after the Iranians had been taken into custody, Johnny Abdo contacted Bashir Gemayel from the Army command in Yarze and informed him that the Iranian diplomats had not reached their destination. Their contact in Tripoli was anxious. No one knew their whereabouts since their stopover at the Lebanese Forces Barbara checkpoint. All Abdo offered to concerned advisors was a vague answer which was the standard information given in such cases.
H.K. had the upper hand on every big or small operations in the eastern regions. He was deputized by Bashir who was now busy with politics. H.K. was now the Chief of Intelligence and Security, the most important Division of the Lebanese Forces. H.K. used his position to detain the four Iranians. Once in custody, Geagea contacted H.K. at the Karantina Headquarters and asked him what he should do with them. The answer was short, “Send them over”. Captain Raji Abdo was the liaison officer between Samir and H.K. Captain Abdo was also the Chief of Intelligence and Security in the North and the Lebanese Forces officer who held the four Iranians up, questioned them and then personally escorted them, on orders from Samir Geagea, to Central Intelligence Headquarters at the Karantina (Mabna Al Amn), lying behind the Sleep Comfort Factory and Show Room.
There, Captain Abdo handed over the four arrested Iranians to H.K. Over coffee, they discussed developments and internal affairs. Once Captain Abdo’s mission had been accomplished, I walked him to his car and he drove back to his post at the Barbara Junction.
In 1986, George Sabbagh, also known as Abou Tony, and later as Abou Ayman in Zahleh took over. Abou Tony was a tough, cruel and ruthless fellow in charge of prisoners. He was the terrifying warden. He interrogated them and applied his most sophisticated torture techniques on them. George Yunes, alias Al Abouna, was the caterer and in his spare time participated in the torture “sessions”. “Al Amn” jailhouse, barely 200 meters from the Amn Headquarters, held the Shia Moslems and Iranian prisoners who all died under torture. During the Israeli invasion of 1982, some 200 Shiat were buried in ditches dug close to the Amn building. They were buried at the foot of eucalyptus trees and covered with limestone to speed up the decomposition of the cadavers and to eliminate nauseating smells.
After this incident, Stevie Nakkour, a very close friend of mine who was in charge of logistics dealing with building and construction, came up to me and told me in confidence that Paul Ariss pressed him to clean out all the ditches because the Iranians were buried there and it could trigger big trouble. The remains had to be dug up, carried and re-buried in the area of Wadi Al Jamajem (Valley of Skulls) on the road to Mazraat-Kfarzebiane and in the area of Maghawer near Ashkout. Two other unidentified men, because they still live in Beirut under wretched conditions, carried out the goolish mission with Nakkour.
I am sorry indeed to bring up such sordid details, but I have to do justice to the militiamen who, I stress, were at the beck and call of their chiefs, who never questioned orders, and who never asked for payment or consideration. Today, they live in fear and poverty under repressive and retaliatory measures currently utilized in Lebanon.
Also in 1982, during the Israeli bombing of West Beirut, I was instructed to kidnap Georgina Rizk, former Miss Lebanon, who had married a Palestinian leader, Hassan Salameh and had their son, Ali. Georgina Rizk had fled to her sister’s house in Ashrafieh. It was early in the morning. I took one of the boys with me in a large American car. We stormed into the house and forced her out in her nightgown, together with her little son, sister and another woman, a friend of theirs married to a top flight Palestinian officer.
I personally handed them over to H.K. personally in the Al Amn building. H.K, with Gaby Bustani and Assad Shaftari proceeded with the questioning which lasted late into the afternoon. Then they were driven back to West Beirut.
Today, in my lonely exile, haunted by memories, I am neither worried nor frightened that I personally participated in the assassination of some of the Shia Moslem prisoners. I carried out my orders as a soldier, kidnapped persons during the Israeli siege, out of anger and by rights, to avenge our innocent victims killed in cold blood, and in keeping with the line mapped out by our leaders