Friday, July 16, 2004

Flogging the Allawi Story

That is exactly what I am doing.  Paul McGeough reported in today's Sydney Morning Herald that Iraqi PM Iyad Allawi carried out the summary execution of six Iraqi detainees (with one left wounded, bringing the count of victims to seven) in Baghdad just days prior to the power handoff.
Why is it important?
  • Human beings were allegedly murdered in cold blood.  The victims were detainees who were denied due process.
  • Our tax dollars should not be used to support a murderous thug.
  • The War on Iraq was based on lies.  The assertion that the people of Iraq are better off now than they were under Saddam evaporates in the face of this accusation.

Why is the story credible?

  • McGeough names the place that the alleged summary executions occurred, Al-Amariyah security centre in the southwestern suburbs of Baghdad.
  • The story names three of the seven victims, Ahmed Abdulah Ahsamey, Amer Lutfi Mohammed Ahmed al-Kutsia, and Walid Mehdi Ahmed al-Samarrai.  Unless these were "ghost detainees", with their names and the place of detention we should be able to find out if these three men were in the security center in late June.
  • As McGeough writes, "The two witnesses were independently and separately found by the Herald. Neither approached the newspaper. They were interviewed on different days in a private home in Baghdad, without being told the other had spoken."  I'd call that careful reporting.

What is the official US response?

Two sentences, in response to the author's e-mail message to Ambassador John Negroponte:

"If we attempted to refute each [rumour], we would have no time for other business. As far as this embassy's press office is concerned, this case is closed."

That is a non-denial denial, and not a convincing one at that.  The case is closed after a single inquiry?  John is off of his game.


Important links:   Paul McGeough's original story in the Sydney Morning Herald, and an interview of McGeough recorded today by the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC).

Update:  Bloomberg picks up the story.