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BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners

freda underhill 17 Jul 04 - 09:22 AM
freda underhill 17 Jul 04 - 09:53 AM
M.Ted 17 Jul 04 - 11:44 AM
artbrooks 17 Jul 04 - 03:12 PM
freda underhill 17 Jul 04 - 06:09 PM
freda underhill 17 Jul 04 - 11:46 PM
artbrooks 18 Jul 04 - 01:06 AM
The Fooles Troupe 18 Jul 04 - 01:17 AM
Hrothgar 18 Jul 04 - 05:57 AM
White tiger 18 Jul 04 - 06:46 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 18 Jul 04 - 07:09 AM
Metchosin 18 Jul 04 - 07:16 AM
Bobert 18 Jul 04 - 09:26 AM
freda underhill 18 Jul 04 - 07:31 PM
freda underhill 18 Jul 04 - 07:36 PM
DougR 18 Jul 04 - 07:49 PM
GUEST 19 Jul 04 - 06:12 AM
GUEST 19 Jul 04 - 06:14 AM
GUEST,Frank 19 Jul 04 - 10:30 AM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Jul 04 - 06:24 PM
Metchosin 19 Jul 04 - 06:58 PM
Wolfgang 20 Jul 04 - 05:37 AM
DougR 20 Jul 04 - 04:22 PM
Peace 20 Jul 04 - 10:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Aug 04 - 06:29 PM
freda underhill 24 Sep 04 - 10:48 PM
dianavan 25 Sep 04 - 02:32 PM
Strollin' Johnny 26 Sep 04 - 06:08 AM
freda underhill 26 Sep 04 - 07:31 AM
freda underhill 26 Sep 04 - 07:42 AM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Sep 04 - 09:04 AM
dianavan 26 Sep 04 - 02:55 PM

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Subject: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: freda underhill
Date: 17 Jul 04 - 09:22 AM

Allawi shot prisoners in cold blood: witnesses; By Paul McGeough in Baghdad; July 17, 2004; Sydney Morning Herald

Iyad Allawi, the new Prime Minister of Iraq, pulled a pistol and executed as many as six suspected insurgents at a Baghdad police station, just days before Washington handed control of the country to his interim government, according to two people who allege they witnessed the killings. They say the prisoners - handcuffed and blindfolded - were lined up against a wall in a courtyard adjacent to the maximum-security cell block in which they were held at the Al-Amariyah security centre, in the city's south-western suburbs.

They say Dr Allawi told onlookers the victims had each killed as many as 50 Iraqis and they "deserved worse than death". The Prime Minister's office has denied the entirety of the witness accounts in a written statement to the Herald, saying Dr Allawi had never visited the centre and he did not carry a gun. But the informants told the Herald that Dr Allawi shot each young man in the head as about a dozen Iraqi policemen and four Americans from the Prime Minister's personal security team watched in stunned silence. Iraq's Interior Minister, Falah al-Naqib, is said to have looked on and congratulated him when the job was done. Mr al-Naqib's office has issued a verbal denial.

The names of three of the alleged victims have been obtained by the Herald.
One of the witnesses claimed that before killing the prisoners Dr Allawi had told those around him that he wanted to send a clear message to the police on how to deal with insurgents. "The prisoners were against the wall and we were standing in the courtyard when the Interior Minister said that he would like to kill them all on the spot. Allawi said that they deserved worse than death - but then he pulled the pistol from his belt and started shooting them."

Re-enacting the killings, one witness stood three to four metres in front of a wall and swung his outstretched arm in an even arc, left to right, jerking his wrist to mimic the recoil as each bullet was fired. Then he raised a hand to his brow, saying: "He was very close. Each was shot in the head." The prisoners were against the wall and we were standing in the courtyard when the Interior Minister said that he would like to kill them all on the spot. Allawi said that they deserved worse than death - but then he pulled the pistol from his belt and started shooting them.The witnesses said seven prisoners had been brought out to the courtyard, but the last man in the line was only wounded - in the neck, said one witness; in the chest, said the other.

Given Dr Allawi's role as the leader of the US experiment in planting a model democracy in the Middle East, allegations of a return to the cold-blooded tactics of his predecessor are likely to stir a simmering debate on how well Washington knows its man in Baghdad, and precisely what he envisages for the new Iraq. There is much debate and rumour in Baghdad about the Prime Minister's capacity for brutality, but this is the first time eyewitness accounts have been obtained.

A former CIA officer, Vincent Cannisatraro, recently told The New Yorker: "If you're asking me if Allawi has blood on his hands from his days in London, the answer is yes, he does. He was a paid Mukhabarat [intelligence] agent for the Iraqis, and he was involved in dirty stuff." In Baghdad, varying accounts of the shootings are interpreted by observers as useful to a little-known politician who, after 33 years in exile, needs to prove his leadership credentials as a "strongman" in a war-ravaged country that has no experience of democracy.

for the full story, read on at:

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/07/16/1089694568757.html


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: freda underhill
Date: 17 Jul 04 - 09:53 AM

excerpts from another article by the same journalist:
Hard man for a tough country; Paul McGeough; July 17, 2004; Sydney Morning Herald

Iraq's interim Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, tells people he's a "tough guy". Witnesses allege his actions support his words. His enemies say he was an assassin for Saddam Hussein. Now Iyad Allawi is accused of personally executing prisoners. .. His Justice Minister is bringing back the death penalty; his Defence Minister warns he'll chop off insurgents' hands and heads.

…Surprisingly, few Iraqis professed to be shocked by the allegations. But why would Allawi do it? The answer is not so difficult in Iraq. If he could kill for Saddam when the former president was on the verge of power, wouldn't it come more easily if it would help Allawi cement his own grip on the levers?
…It took courage for the witnesses to speak. They were reluctant to speak until they had guarantees of anonymity; one of them even insisted that the Herald not reveal the chance element that intervened as he was located deep in suburban Baghdad. These men are afraid for their lives.

…When the highest-ranking US offficials in Iraq were appraised of the witness accounts 10 days ago, there was no outright denial. Allawi got to the top from the shadows of the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, the first and flailing Washington effort to put an Iraqi face on its occupation… he is said to have spent much time in Jordan and Britain - and in the US, where he spent a reported $US300,000($415,000) on New York and Washington lobbyists to enhance his image higher up the geopolitical food chain.

When the United Nations sent Lakhdar Brahimi to Baghdad in the northern spring to craft a new interim government, he called for neutral "technocrats and professionals" to guide Iraq to its planned January elections. But Allawi is a master of backroom political manoeuvring. He had to climb over the ferocious ambition of his arch rival, Ahmad Chalabi, and the reservations of Brahimi, who vented his frustrations at Allawi's emergence as the winner with his sharp denunciation of the departing US administrator, Paul Bremer, as the "dictator of Baghdad".

..The new Prime Minister was in league with Saddam in the late '60s and there is an assumption that he broke with the tyrant when he went to London in 1971. But various reports suggest that he remained on the Baghdad payroll at least until 1975. And the idea that the break was about principle is tempered by suggestions of a row over a sizeable wad of cash. A senior Jordanian official who met the new Prime Minister "dozens of times" before the US invasion was always worried about an Allawi ascendancy. He explained to the Herald this week: "He made it clear that he was going back to Iraq with vengeance; it was never going to be about a beauty of democracy, so much as a settling of scores.

"Think about it: it is the resistance that will be his downfall, so he thinks if he kills them, he will prevail." Early this year, a vivid article by one of the Prime Minister's former medical school classmates, Dr Haifa al-Azawi, published in an Arabic newspaper in London, was hardly noticed, despite what it revealed of the Prime Minister's character and qualifications. Describing Allawi as a "big, husky man", she wrote: "[He] carried a gun on his belt and frequently brandished it, terrorising the medical students." And of his medical degree, she wrote: "[It] was conferred upon him by the Baath party."

…..An unnamed Middle Eastern diplomat claim[ed] that Allawi was involved with a Mukhabarat "hit team" that ran to ground and killed Baath party dissenters throughout Europe. In 1978, the brutal world in which Allawi moved came home to him, literally, when he was attacked in his London bed in the middle of the night by a man brandishing an axe. This was the third attempt on his life and he spent a year in hospital, recovering from horrific injuries presumed to have been inflicted at the behest of Saddam. It was after this attack that Allawi began his long and close associations first with the British intelligence agency MI6 and then with the CIA, which still helps fund his Iraqi National Accord (INA) organisation.
In the early 1990s, as Washington and London began to take Iraqi opposition groups more seriously after Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, Allawi set up the INA. One of his early organisational associates was Salih Omar Ali al-Tikriti, who reportedly had supervised public hangings in Baghdad for Saddam. Juan Cole, a Middle East historian at the University of Michigan, wrote of a stinging assessment of the Prime Minister's leanings: "He is infatuated with reviving the Baath secret police, bringing back Saddam's domestic spies. Unlike the regular [Iraqi] army, which had dirty and clean elements, all of the secret police are dirty. If they are restored, civil liberties are a dead letter."

It sounds like Saddam-Lite in the making; and in it all there's an odour of the Arab authoritarianism that the Bush men say they came to eradicate.

The much more detailed article is at:

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/07/16/1089694565543.html


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: M.Ted
Date: 17 Jul 04 - 11:44 AM

I wouldn't be surprised if it is true, but I also wouldn't be surprised if it was a story planted to enhance his image as the kind of tough guy Iraq needs--Wouldn't be surprised if both were true--

Until Bush, the State Department's policy in the Middle East was based on a distinctly Orwellian balance of power--there were three powers: Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia--when one got too strong, the US supported the others against it--Saddam was a key element in this balance, because it was widely believed that only he could keep Iraq united--

We tend to see the "insurgency" as some sort of retaliation against the US--if you look at the targets of the daily bombings and attacks, however, most are not American--in fact, it looks very much like Iraq is falling into the pieces that Saddam used his brutal system to pull and keep together--

A brutal strong man might seem to some like the only solution, but it must be remembered that Saddam used his tactics to supress dissent before it got out of hand--there is no dissent now, there is civil war, and everyone is using the same tactics--


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: artbrooks
Date: 17 Jul 04 - 03:12 PM

Interesting, but I'd expect to see it on Al-Jazeerah, if nowhere else, if true.


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: freda underhill
Date: 17 Jul 04 - 06:09 PM

This story is by an Australian journalist who has been in Baghdad since the beginning of the war. He has interviewed eyewitnesses to the event. Sydney Morning Herald is a conservative Australian newspaper, on their website it is marked as a world exclusive.


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: freda underhill
Date: 17 Jul 04 - 11:46 PM

Greens leader Bob Brown is putting pressure on Prime Minister John Howard to respond to allegations that Iraq's Interim Prime Minister shot dead six people last month. Iyad Allawi has been accused of shooting seven Iraqi insurgents, killing six of them, in the week leading up to the handover of power from the United States last month.

Two unnamed people alleged to have seen the shootings have told Australian journalist Paul McGeough that Dr Allawi shot the insurgents in a courtyard adjacent to a maximum security cell in Baghdad. Dr Allawi's office has denied the claims. Senator Brown says he was horrified by the report.

He says he cannot understand why a man with Dr Allawi's history was appointed as Iraq's Interim Prime Minister. He says Mr Howard needs to explain why Australian troops are currently in Dr Allawi's service. "Allawi is a blood curdling individual," Senator Brown said. "He helped Saddam Hussein get into power, then turned on him.
"Saddam Hussein went after him and he's now in a position to wreak his own trail of havoc in Iraq."

A spokesman for Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says Australian authorities have no knowledge of the allegations.
He says if Fairfax has any substantial information, it should take it to the Iraqi authorities for investigation. But Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd, says Mr Downer should treat the allegations seriously.

"Such reports appear to me to be unbelievable," Mr Rudd said. "But because they are written by a credible journalist, Mr Downer's responsibility is to get the truth from the Australian Embassy in Baghdad and from the government of the United States. "It's important that these matters are clarified."

A written statement to Mr McGeough says Dr Allawi has not visited the prison and does not carry a gun. But McGeough stands by his claims. He says he cannot name the witnesses but says neither knows the other has spoken to him about the allegations. "The Prime Minister is said to have responded that they deserved worse than death, that each was responsible for killing more than 50 Iraqis each and at that point he is said to have pulled a gun and proceeded to aim at and shoot all seven," McGeough told ABC TV's Lateline.

"Six of them died. The seventh, according to one witness, was wounded in the chest [but] according to the other witness was wounded in the neck and presumed to be dead." Mr McGeough works for Fairfax newspapers and his claims have been published in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200407/s1156199.htm;Govt should explain Allawi claims: Brown


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: artbrooks
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 01:06 AM

So, 2 unnamed witnesses, among the 10 or 15 people who supposedly were present (other than the alleged perpetrator and his victims) gave this tale to a reporter. None of the rest have come forward, even though one presumes that there is cash available for a corroborated story. Neither the US anti-war media or the English-language Arab media have picked the story in the 3 days since it first broke on the 15th. Sorry, but it sounds too good (or bad) to be true to me. I remember how fast the photo of the Saigon police chief shooting the VC prisoner in the head went around the world.


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 01:17 AM

... and how slowly the news of the Mai Lai (sp?) massacre spread...


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: Hrothgar
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 05:57 AM

Why shouldn't he shoot people?

Why do so many people have this delusion that we can inflict democracy on people who have never had it, don't understand it, and quite possibly don't want it for precisely those reasons?

Let them have another brutal dictator. It's what they are used to. Remember, many of the locals who objected to Sod 'em Hussein were only objecting because they weren't in his clique.

This new head of government seems to have just what they need - strength and determination. If he's a softie, he won't last.

His major disadvantage is that he will be perceived as the creature of Dubya and his mates.


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: White tiger
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 06:46 AM

Artbrooks, why does "one" suppose that cash is available to witnesses? And since when has transmission on Al Jazeera been the test of whether a story is true?

The fact that such a sickening story has been run in a newspaper of international standing should be reason enough for the "coalition" to instigate a thorough enquiry. It shouldn't be difficult, and nowithstanding Iraqi soverignty there is a legitimate interest given that the perpetrator of this atrocity, if it happened, was under the protection of American military at the time.

Regime change is the only remaining basis - a weak one at that - for the invasion. If there is any vestige of truth in the SMH reports, one would be entitled to wonder if the regime has been changed in any significant way at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 07:09 AM

That last post was from me. Hadn't noticed my daughter had finished a Mudcat visit without logging out!


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: Metchosin
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 07:16 AM

all of which, if true, would come as no surprize to me, as I posted last year:

User Name: Metchosin

Thread Name: BS: Should Saddam comply with Resolutions? (126* d)

Posted: 19 Mar 03

"Troll, your idea of the US "setting up a democracy" in Iraq or Afghanistan, for that matter, has about as much chance as a snowball in hell. Democracy is not a suitcase. The best the US can hope for is to put in another dictator and be satisfied that at least he is your son of a bitch, rather than his own. I wish it wasn't so…but…"


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: Bobert
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 09:26 AM

"Meet the new bos, same as the old boss..."

But I'm sure all those dead people would agree that "Saddam was a bad man. They sho nuff would...

And the beat goes on.....

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: freda underhill
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 07:31 PM

Red Cross urged to investigate Allawi claims; By Tom Allard, Foreign Affairs Reporter; July 19, 2004;http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/07/18/1090089035896.html

The former British foreign secretary, Robin Cook, has urged the International Committee for the Red Cross to investigate witness claims that the new Iraqi prime minister, Iyad Allawi, shot dead six insurgents last month. Revelations of the accounts of the killings by chief Herald correspondent Paul McGeough at the weekend and the refusal of US authorities to deny them outright sparked concerns around the world.

........"These are dreadful allegations. It is vital that they are cleared up one way or another, and that needs an independent inquiry," Mr Cook, who quit the Blair cabinet over the Iraq war, told the British newspaper the Sunday Herald. "An international body such as the Red Cross would be best able to give authority to the investigation that the situation now demands." International Red Cross officials in Baghdad told the Herald last week they were still negotiating protocols with the new government to visit Iraqi-run jails. So far their officials had clearance only to visit US-run prisons.......

Labor's Defence spokesman, Kim Beazley, cautioned that the Middle East was a "giant bazaar of rumours". "You'd have thought if there's an allegation in this country, two anonymous sources would be regarded as rather thin to go to print," he told Channel Nine's Sunday program. "But this is an incredibly serious allegation. You couldn't just let it lie."

Mr Beazley said Dr Allawi had "hard elements" in his past - a reference to allegations he was an assassin for Saddam Hussein when he was in the Baath party and involved in unsavoury acts after he defected in the 1970s.

Labor's foreign affairs spokesman, Kevin Rudd, said: "Paul McGeough is a credible journalist ... I don't think therefore we can simply brush it to one side."

The Greens leader Bob Brown also hailed McGeough's credentials and called the claims "credible" and "stunning". "How long can Australian troops remain at Allawi's service? Allawi's record is chilling and was well-known to both Prime Minister Howard and President Bush."

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/07/18/1090089035896.html


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: freda underhill
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 07:36 PM

Iraqi PM vows to crush insurgents; Thursday, 15 July, 2004, BBC News

Allawi has made restoring security his priority Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has vowed to destroy insurgents behind a wave of deadly attacks in Iraq. Mr Allawi unveiled plans for a new intelligence unit, which he said would "annihilate those terrorist groups". The prime minister announced the new intelligence unit, the General Security Directorate, at a news conference in Baghdad. "We are determined to bring down all the hurdles that stand in the way of our democracy... terrorism will be terminated," he said.

The formation of the unit is the latest in a series of steps aimed at wiping out militants behind attacks that have killed hundreds of Iraqis in recent months. Last week, Iraq announced tough new security measures, including the right to impose martial law and curfews, set up checkpoints and detain suspects.

The BBC's Middle East analyst Roger Hardy says the prime minister has been quick to try to assert his authority and convince Iraqis that security is his top priority.


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: DougR
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 07:49 PM

I'm just glad he's a good shot. He is going to need all the protection he can get. As to those of you who are so quick to condemn the PM, how do you know these guys didn't piss him off!

Interesting that the mainstream press in the U. S. hasn't picked up on this story. How about The Guardian? Have they reported this story yet, McGrath?

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 06:12 AM

It is strange that it hasn't been picked up by most of the British and US press so far. I found only one Scottish sunday paper that referred to it. This despite the fact the former foreign secretary Robin Cook has been urging the International Red Cross to investigate the claims. It seems to have been largely contained in Australia who first broke the story, although reports are now seeping out to the rest of the world (including al jazeera).


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 06:14 AM

Now been picked up by NEWSWEEK


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 10:30 AM

If Bush gets in another term it could happen here.

It could be an extension of the Patriot Act.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 06:24 PM

Nothing so far in the Guardian - and it's as easy for you to check the paper as for me, Doug - Guardian online. Lots of American conservatives do just that, and there are a fair number of letters in the paper's letters page that reflect this.

Publishing them is the kind of thing that goes with being a paper with liberal sensibilities. And in this sense of the word, the right wing Conservative paper, the Daily Telegraph, shares the same kind of liberal sensibilities, carrying letters frrom people who disagree markedly with it's politics. (And carrying new stories regarless of whether they might embarass its political friends.)

I would imagine they'd both be looking into this story, and trying to check it out, and I'll be surprised if it doesn't reach the news columns here before long.

...............................

"I'm just glad he's a good shot." Of course, if being a good shot, and having an ability to deal effectively with people who piss him off, are all that really matters, it would have been simpler to leave Allawi's old mate Saddam in power.


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: Metchosin
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 06:58 PM

and a hell of a lot cheaper for the taxpayers.


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: Wolfgang
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 05:37 AM

The news of that were in the online-version of the German magazine DER SPIEGE some days ago. They are not now in the backlist. Usually all old news are in the backlist. If they aren't that normally means DER SPIEGEL doesn't trust the news it has published any more.

A question mark at the end of the thread title would have been preferable.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: DougR
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 04:22 PM

The story sounds highly suspicious to me. I cannot imagine that the major news companies wouldn't pick this up immediately if it was true.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: Peace
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 10:14 PM

Doug,

They seemed not to pick up the story when the old Iraqi head of government murdered prisoners, either. What's new?


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Aug 04 - 06:29 PM

Here's an update on this alleged incident - and at least it got a belated mention in an article in the Guardian last week. But it seems nobody outside Australia seems too interested in investigating it. Washington government press spokesman: "I think this is something that has been dealt with and discussed in Baghdad and here. Prime Minister Allawi himself has said there is nothing to these reports."

And here's another Iraq story that seems to have been kept out of the headlines pretty effectively. It's about some US troops who tried to stop torture of prisoners in Iraq, and who were ordered by their commanders to walk away - and there doesn't appear to be any doubt about the facts this time anyway: Ordered to Just Walk Away - from The Oregonian, August 7th, quoted by Paul McGeough in that other link I gave.


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: freda underhill
Date: 24 Sep 04 - 10:48 PM

by the way, Paul McGeogh had to flee Iraq after publishing that story. Here is an update from him on Alawi:

Next year's elections will not stop Iraq's insurgents when ordinary Iraqis are too scared to vote. The absurdity seemed to be lost on the US Congress - only three months into his job as Iraq's unelected Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi stood before them, revealing himself to be as artful with the truth as the American administration that went to war to put him in office. He had a throwaway line about the possible "imperfection" of the proposed January elections; hours later; the US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, was before a Senate committee, waving aside concerns that the Sunni Triangle might have to be excluded from the poll - which is to say that they were both dismissive of United Nations concerns that a lack of security might mean no vote at all.

And was it the independent and sovereign state of Iraq that was addressing the security issue? Ah, no ... "This is something the ambassador is working on," Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee as Allawi did the rounds of the US capital, introducing himself as "Prime Minister" as though his appointment had been dignified with a popular mandate. And if the country was in the grip of a security crisis, who was going to run the election or be ready to vote in only four months' time?

Allawi was certain that all would be in place, but his confidence was punctured when a member of his own electoral commission took time on the same day to tell reporters that it had only just begun to recruit the 70,000 staff it needed - without mentioning that they would become prime targets for the insurgency - and it had yet to send out, let alone get back, the forms necessary for collating data on individual voters in every household in the land. But even if there were an election, would people vote? "How can we go to vote [when] I'm afraid of just going to the police station?" a Baghdad electronics merchant asked a visitor.

"I want honest elections, but I'll not vote and I'll not allow my adult children to vote either - we are too afraid of explosions," a civil servant said. On his way to Washington, Allawi stopped in at the UN in New York where he pulled the same false promise that US officials were using last year to explain away what they assured us, back then, would be a short-lived insurgency. Telling reporters that the rise in the number and ferocity of the attacks by a "small" resistance force was proof of the weakness of the insurgency, Allawi claimed: "We think they are on the defensive ..."

Who are "they"? Washington has argued repeatedly that the insurgency is dominated by foreign Arabs - al-Qaeda jihadists and the like - and the remnants of the former regime. Allawi came in on cue: 30 per cent foreign; 60 per cent former regime; 10 per cent criminals, he said. Amazing that - not a single Iraqi nationalist among them.
But the latest estimates by US officers in Iraq are that as many as 20,000 fighters have the active support of about 100,000 Iraqis. Against that, the Iraqi Justice Ministry says that there are only 29 foreigners among several thousand suspected insurgents in its detention centres and US officials have told reporters that there are only 90 foreign Arabs among the 6000-plus detainees in its custody.

And who are "we", given that the commander of the Baghdad police district, Colonel Safaa Ali, has lamented the security challenge with American reporters: "We are taking on forces beyond our strength ... we cannot win." In a sense, the Allawi cameo appearance in the Bush re-election campaign was a closing of the Iraq circle - an unelected puppet was brought halfway around the world to prop up the official that we often refer to as "the leader of the free world" who also had put him in office.

The Americans and Allawi like to present the insurgency as a rump operation in remote centres like Falluja, but a graph in the Brookings Institution's latest Iraq Index shows that, far and away, the greatest number of US military fatalities between May and September this year were in Baghdad.

In New York and Washington, Allawi patted himself on the back for restoring order in 15 of 18 electoral districts, including Najaf, seeming to forget that his emissaries had twice failed to broker a ceasefire in the Shiite heartland. That was achieved by the ailing Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, the world leader of all Shiite Muslims, who has twice succeeded in derailing American plans for the future of Iraq and who now appears to be positioning himself to do it again.

Security blanket; September 25, 2004, Sydney Morning Herald


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: dianavan
Date: 25 Sep 04 - 02:32 PM

freda -

It is so difficult to find any truth in this tangled web of deceit and lies. I am so grateful to you for your information and your clarity. Allawi is not much different than Saddam except that Allawi is the "poster-boy" for so-called democracy. At least with Saddam, you knew who you were dealing with.

As to the claim that the executed had killed 50 Iraqis - where does that leave the U.S.?

...and if these prisoners had killed 50 Iraqis, shouldn't they be prisoners of war?

Its hard to believe that the U.S. who cannot even handle their own internal problems or international diplomacy should have the audacity to think that they can solve the problems of Iraq by waging war.

Can you tell me why Sistani is given so little power and authority? So far, he seems to be the most sane and, if given the choice, I think many Iraqis would listen to his advice (maybe even the majority). He doesn't seem to be anyone's puppet. Is is because he is Iranian born or is it because he isn't afraid to stand up to the U.S.?

d


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 26 Sep 04 - 06:08 AM

But is any of it true? There has been such a huge volume of mis- and dis-information showered down on us since this whole debacle was first mooted a couple of years ago (shit, is it only a couple of years? Seems much longer!) it's impossible to know who's telling the truth, or even if ANYONE is telling the truth. I guess, in the absence of much clearly verifiable information, a lot of people are attributing that rare commodity to whichever piece of 'news' suits their personal agendas.

Where Iraq's concerned truth is, as me old dad used to say, as rare as rocking-horse shit.


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: freda underhill
Date: 26 Sep 04 - 07:31 AM

Strolling Johnny, you have to make up your own mind by reading lots of different sources, including credible sources like amnesty international, the red cross, and first hand witness accounts. First hand witness accounts, where several witnesses confirm information independently of each other, and where there is supporting evidence are what courts, academics, and intelligence agencies use. Once upon a time most journalists used these sources too. Opinion pieces which state a view based on accusation and points of view are an accurate reflection only on the views of the person writing.

Paul McGeogh is a conservative journalist, the Sydney Morning Herald is a conservative paper.


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: freda underhill
Date: 26 Sep 04 - 07:42 AM

hi dianavan

I think Western governments are concerned that if a religious leader takes over, the country will be more isolated from the West, and there will be less chance for a democratic regime to emerge. There is an interesting article on Sistani at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A64131-2004Aug13?language=printer

(It Takes a Following to Make an Ayatollah; By Juan Cole; Sunday, August 15, 2004; Page B04)

Juan Cole is professor of Modern Middle Eastern and South Asian History at the University of Michigan. He maintains a Web log on Iraq, "Informed Comment" (www.juancole.com).


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Sep 04 - 09:04 AM

Stories that don't fit get left on the spike by the media frequently. Not on thebasis that they aren't true, but they need work to investigate and establish the facts one way and another and the people who could do that work are doing other stuff.

Plus, there's plenty of other stories to cover. After all, if it terned out the story wasn't true, that woudln't be a bnig story; if itturned ourt it was it'd be a very risky story. It's best to go carefully upsetting a Prime Minister who used to be a Baath hitman.


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Subject: RE: BS: New Iraqi Head of Govt Murders Prisoners
From: dianavan
Date: 26 Sep 04 - 02:55 PM

Thanks, freda, especially for this (ithelps me understand the situation a little better):

"If Sistani, who is under treatment for heart problems in London, were to die, a period of uncertainty in the Shiite leadership would ensue. He would almost surely be succeeded by one of the other grand ayatollahs in Najaf. There is a dispute in the Arabic press about which is the leading candidate. Some suggest that Najafi, who has expressed vehemently anti-American sentiments, is next in line. Another contender is Fayed, 75, who is said to reject the idea of clerical involvement in politics altogether, being more politically quietist than Sistani."

It would be risky to involve Sistani if his health is in danger. To replace him with Fayed would probably be a good move but he's pretty old, too. That leaves Najaf. Oh-oh!

Bad move on the part of the Americans to alienate these guys.

Bad move to install puppets. This will never end unless the U.S. starts to pay attention to the religious leaders in Iraq.

d


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