19 July 2004

Say hello to the new boss

Just like the old boss:
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.
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."

Sydney Morning Hearald 17 July 2004

The story isn't getting picked up by much US media, natch, but Holden at Atrios is on the case.

Update: more on the story:

[Morning Hearald journalist Paul] McGeough cites the opinion of former CIA case officer, Reuel Marc Gerecht, who told the New Yorker: "He [Allawi] was a very effective operator and a true believer. 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."

In the first three weeks of the interim government, Allawi's unelected and despised administration has assumed the power to impose martial law, ban demonstrations and monitor citizens' phones and email. He has declared his intention to recruit the military and intelligence operatives of Hussein's regime and this week announced the formation of a secret police agency to "annihilate" opposition. He is already being contemptuously referred to in Baghdad as "Saddam without the moustache" or "America's Saddam".

Far from denouncing the Bush administration for establishing a US-protected police-state in Iraq, commentary over the past week in the New York Times and the Washington Post has lauded Allawi for his reputation for sadism and ruthlessness ....

So I was wrong: our press isn't ignoring the story.

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