Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Chomsky replies re Allawi executes six

Prof. Chomsky,

Do you have any comment on the Sidney Morning Herald article shown on ZNet today claiming that Iyad Allawi exectued six suspected insurgents in an Iraqi police station?

Would you say that ominous positive reaction throughout Iraq is mainly due to the incredible lack of security provided by the occupying forces? In other words, this barbaric act was welcomed as a positive step when all the people know is constant violence?

James O'Shea

Posted: 24 Jul 2004 02:27 PM

Reply from NC,

I read the article, and it looked convincing. There hasn't been a particularly convincing denial. It wouldn't be particularly surprising. Just check his background: Saddam's secret police, British intelligence, CIA, alleged terrorist acts against civilians in Baghdad.

Assuming press reports to be generally accurate, the most ominous part is that the stories about the execution seemed to elicit a fairly favorable reaction in much of Iraq.

Noam Chomsky


It seems some want to use a level of proof higher than is commonly used for news stories. The report looks profesionally researched. I think there is solid reason to at least report the allegation. The US press has not done so. The reporter was interviewed about his report:

MAXINE McKEW: Paul McGeough, thanks for joining us.

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?


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.

And they've laid it out very carefully and very clearly as to what they saw.

MAXINE McKEW: You haven't identified these witnesses but why have they felt free to talk about such an extraordinary story?

PAUL McGEOUGH: Well, they were approached through personal connections and as a result of that, they accepted assurances.

They were guaranteed anonymity, they were told that no identifying material would be published on them and they told what they saw.

MAXINE McKEW: And just take us through the events as they were accounted to you?

PAUL McGEOUGH: Well, I'll take you through what the two bits of pieces of what the two witnesses said to give you the full chronology as I understand it.

There was a surprise visit at about 10:30 in the morning to the police centre.

The PM is said to have talked to a large group of policemen, then to have toured the complex.

They came to a courtyard where six, sorry seven prisoners were lined up against a wall.

They were handcuffed, they were blindfolded, they were described to me as an Iraqi colloquialism for the fundamentalist foreign fighters who have come to Baghdad.

They have that classic look that you see with many of the Osama bin Laden associates of the scraggly beard and the very short hair and they were a sort of ... took place in front of them as they were up against this wall was an exchange between the Interior Minister and Dr Allawi, the Interior Minister saying that he felt like killing them on the spot.

It's worth noting at this point in the story that on June 19, there was an attack on the Interior Minister's home in the Sunni triangle in which four of his bodyguards

Iraq's interim PM executed six insurgents: witnesses

passserby claims, "Btw, these allegations were ignored not only by the US media -- they were ignored by everyone -- if you google for "allawi shot prisoners" the only hits you'll get will be coming from "activist" sites like counterpunch, repeating the allegations in the australian paper (but almost always as facts though -- a rather telling detail.) No solid media outlet reported that though."

That isn't true. United Press International reported it, The Washington Times picked it up and Newsweek also reported on the allegation.
In Scotland, the award-winning Sunday Herald ran its sister-publication’s copy, as did the New Zealand Sunday Star Times, the Irish Examiner and Canada’s Toronto Post. The London Daily Mail and South Africa’s Sunday Mail (same ownership) ran a story with a similar lead, although the denial comes right up front. Greetings From the Memory Hole: Our Media kills a Troubling Story that the Rest of the World Saw
Allawi began his career in the killing business in the 1960s on behalf of Saddam Hussein; but in 1978, he switched to the CIA after Hussein tried to kill him. In 1991 Allawi co-founded an anti-Saddam, CIA-front organization, the Iraqi National Accord (INA), which the New York Times described as “a terrorist organization.” A number of European papers routinely refer to Allawi as a “former assassin,” or in similar terms.

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