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Allawi shot inmates in cold blood, say witnesses
July 16, 2004 6:47 AM   Subscribe

Allawi shot inmates in cold blood, say witnesses. 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.
posted by waterfrog (22 comments total)

 
Well, this is interesting all right, but I'd love to see some source other than an Australian (not that there's anything wrong with that!) newspaper. It seems that the central devil's-advocate question would be, if Allawi did this to "send a message," specifically to bolster the confidence of the police that he would protect them if they use strong-arm tactics against insurgents, then why would he subsequently deny outright that it happened?
posted by soyjoy at 6:56 AM on July 16, 2004


It was like this: "I deny this ever happened!!!" [wink, wink] The Australian press must have interviewed him on the phone.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:59 AM on July 16, 2004


Maybe he's using strong-arm tactics to deny his use of strong-arm tactics?
posted by DrJohnEvans at 7:05 AM on July 16, 2004


Considering the number of crazy-ass rumors that are supposedly floating around (from the article: 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.), this seems really doubtful. I mean, it's pretty far fetched, isn't it? "Allawi orders executions of several insurgents" would be one thing, but personally shooting them each in the head? I dunno.

There are real concerns about Allawi's aggressive tactics (with no legal protections whatsoever, a lot of innoncent people are going to get imprisoned or killed, without a doubt), but pulling in extreme and unsubstantiated rumors just confuses the debate.
posted by malphigian at 7:41 AM on July 16, 2004


If I was looking to bring street cred to my profile as an emerging Iraqi strongman, that's exactly what I'd do.

Saddam Hussein didn't start out his ascent scaring the piss out of people with that moustache. He executed his enemies personally, according to many accounts.

That's just good Iraqi image-building.
posted by sacre_bleu at 8:53 AM on July 16, 2004


This might be of interest:

Interview with Paul McGeough


Paul, as you've also made clear in your article, Prime Minister Allawi has flatly denied this story. Why then is the Herald so confident about publishing it?

PAUL McGEOUGH, 'SYDNEY MORNING HERALD' AND 'AGE' FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Well it's a very contentious issue. What you have is two very solid eyewitness accounts of what happened at a police security complex in a south-west Baghdad suburb.

They are very detailed.

They were done separately.

Each witness is not aware that the other spoke.

They were contacted through personal channels rather than through the many political, religious or military organisations working in Baghdad that might be trying to spin a tale.

posted by Masi at 9:04 AM on July 16, 2004


If I was looking to bring street cred to my profile as an emerging Iraqi strongman, that's exactly what I'd do.

Sure, but doesn't your street-cred then take a hit when you back away from it? Or does denying something everybody knows there's witnesses for just make you more badass, in the culture of Baghdad? I still can't get my head around the motivation, which is good, because I'll never be a candidate for running Iraq.
posted by soyjoy at 9:05 AM on July 16, 2004


He can't officially admit to it, because then the U.S. would have to deal with it. John Gotti always smiled when he denied being a Mafia don.

But do official denials stand upmost in Iraqi minds? The strongest current of information in Baghdad, one gathers, is not what's owned up to in the pages of Australian newspapers.

Rumors, word of mouth, are hefty currency there, if you read journalists' ex officio accounts. Note that many stories following an explosion or suicide bombing mention that local people have some wild-ass theory of responsibility (often alleging that the U.S. or Mossad set off a car bomb to target Iraqis).

Hey, all I know about the situation there is what I read. I'll admit it. But I do read widely, and in copious amounts.
posted by sacre_bleu at 9:12 AM on July 16, 2004


For instance, the indispensable Prof. Juan Cole points out:

Allawi was once a Baathist hit man in London who fell out with Saddam and then directed terrorist operations against Baghdad. Some reports suggest that one of his operations once resulted in the bombing of a schoolbus in which school children died.
posted by sacre_bleu at 9:17 AM on July 16, 2004


meet the new boss, same as the old boss
posted by dogmatic at 9:58 AM on July 16, 2004


whoa, this guy's badass. I was just listening to Robert Fisk report from Baghdad, and he says the security situation is so bad, that people are desperate for law and order, a return of the death penalty, and a massive war against both organized crime and the insurgancy. He was saying that that has replaced "get the Americans out of the country" as the main desire of the people that he knows and speaks to, at least, and that if Allawi could do one or the other, he would be the most popular man in the country.
posted by chaz at 10:13 AM on July 16, 2004


The Sydney Morning Herald is the same paper which printed that story back just before the Iraq War that one of Saddam's bodyguards had defected, and confirmed that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Since then, the SMH's credibility has been somewhere been nil and zip in my books.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 11:48 AM on July 16, 2004


meet the new boss, same as the old boss
Watch out, dogmatic, Pete Townshend might not like you using that lyric in this context. Expect to be called a 'big bully'.
posted by wendell at 11:50 AM on July 16, 2004


Saddam Hussein didn't start out his ascent scaring the piss out of people with that moustache. He executed his enemies personally, according to many accounts.
That's just good Iraqi image-building.


Oh, how marvelous. If this is true (and there's already little doubt that Allawi is an Orc from way back [1]) America's now on support for our second consecutive thug in Iraq.

Hope those thousands of dead Americans and Iraqis appreciate the changes we've made with their blood. Nothing like dying for noble causes....like the installation of a new leader who may be executing "suspects" without trial, just like good old Saddam. "Let freedom reign", indeed.

[1]. " But his role as a Baath Party operative while Saddam struggled for control in the nineteen-sixties and seventies—Saddam became President in 1979—is much less well known. 'Allawi helped Saddam get to power,' an American intelligence officer told me. 'He was a very effective operator and a true believer.' Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former C.I.A. case officer who served in the Middle East, added, 'Two facts stand out about Allawi. One, he likes to think of himself as a man of ideas; and, two, his strongest virtue is that he’s a thug.'"
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:51 PM on July 16, 2004


Well, yeah, he's thug, but he's our thug ... bought and paid for. How else was the House of Representatives supposed to grow the brass balls to tell Saudi Arabia off?
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:31 PM on July 16, 2004


I picture a tiny classroom where Saddam is teaching (at gun point by US troops) Allawi all his dirty tricks.

"Yes, and then you must break their small toes first and work your way up."

*scribbles notes*

"These Kurds are a problem, but a mortar campaign goes a long way"

*scribbles notes*
posted by skallas at 1:40 PM on July 16, 2004


...and confirmed that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Since then, the SMH's credibility has been somewhere been nil and zip in my books.

Here's another paper, then, that goes somewhere been nil and zip.
posted by soyjoy at 1:56 PM on July 16, 2004


One expects that Mr. Negroponte will arrange for the desks, chalkboards, attendance sheets &c. for the classroom Dr. Skallas visualizes.
posted by mwhybark at 3:17 PM on July 16, 2004


Soyjoy> It's one thing to print stories about Iraq' WMD and to have gotten caught up in the hubbub at the time (I myself believed at the time he had chemical, and perhaps biological, material) but the SMH printed an outright false story - no one else had even heard of this guy, so far as I can tell.

Anyhow, to get back on hand, I'm not questioning that there was, and possibly still is, abuse of prisoners by American soldiers. But, as I understand it, Mr. Hersh is making a fairly serious charge - that American soldiers sexually assaulted children systematically as one of several means used to coerce their parents into confessing. I see a lot of stories talking about how children were tortured to accomplish this goal (which itself is serious enough, don't get me wrong), but there doesn't seem to be any reliable corroboration at this point that American soldiers were in fact raping kids. Before I'm willing to accept that charge, I'd like more evidence brought forth by a reliable news organisation.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 9:55 PM on July 16, 2004


Wait, I got my wires crossed here. I'm a fucking tard. Apologies for the last post. Ignore the last paragraph of my post - it's been a long night, and I'm fairly drunk, and got confused between this thread and the kid-abuse one.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 10:42 PM on July 16, 2004


but the SMH printed an outright false story

Wow, AN outright false story?
posted by soyjoy at 9:10 AM on July 19, 2004


The NY Times has credibility to burn. And while they lost a lot of it over the Blair scandal, they've done a pretty good job trying to prevent it from ever happening again. The SMH never even printed a retraction so far as I can tell.

However, this whole argument is moot. Even if the NY Times has lost all of its credibility, that doesn't restore the SMH's.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 1:06 PM on July 19, 2004


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