Friday, July 16, 2004

Allawi personally executes six insurgents

There is a story this morning out of Australia that the Iraqi Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, performed a summary execution of six insurgents just a week before the handover. The report comes from Australian journalist Paul McGeough. The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age both have the same report and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has an interview with McGeough about the story here.

This is a pretty explosive story as it indicates a return to Saddam style rule in Iraq. But it is important to remember that there are a lot of ugly rumors flying around these days and McGeough admits as much in the ABC interview. He went with this story because he found two witnesses to the event that he tracked down independently and who gave almost the exact same story. I say "almost" because of two small details: (1) neither witness could identify the exact day of the event and (2) they give conflicting accounts of injuries received by a seventh prisoner who was allegedly shot by Allawi but did not die. The latter could be excused as simple confusion, but I am troubled by the fact that neither of them can recall the exact day of the event.

Now maybe this kind of thing is not so shocking to these witnesses that the day of the event wouldn't stick in their minds. McGeough said that they seemed pretty blasé about the whole matter and may have even supported Allawi's actions. But it is precisely this kind of confusion about minor details that our establishment news organizations would use as an excuse not to report this story.

I hope this story doesn't drop into the memory hole. Even despite my misgivings about it, the fact that McGeough was able to find two witnesses who closely matched in their stories yet appeared not to know about each other is significant.

Update:   Oh wait, I forgot. Martha Stewart was sentenced today. Where are my priorities?

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