The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Monday, July 19, 2004

The Allawi execution story

The Sydney Morning Herald seems to have broken the story on Saturday (I'm catching up!), with hed Allawi shot prisoners in cold blood: witnesses and lede:
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.

Needless to say, I have no intention of getting into jury questions arising: I merely flag the story as one whose reporting may prove to be of interest.

One or two points:

This comes after the promise of incendiary revelations from Seymour Hersh about Abu Ghraib (July 15) - of which (a little) more later.

The piece has a quote (from the New Yorker) from rent-a-quote Vincent Cannistraro (or Cannisatraro, according to our crack investigative journalist from the SMH).

The journo says that
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.

This is evidently meant to add to our comfort about the witnesses' credibility. I think we'd need to know a little more of how the journo came to identify the guys, and got to meet them. (The appearance of manna from heaven would remind one of Ahmed Chalabi, natch!)

The fact - according to the piece - that the witnesses were proud of Allawi's hands-on law and order initiative seems to be intended to add verisimilitude (it's evidence against interest if they think summary execution is the way to go, but nevertheless make disclosures liable to bring the system - if there is one - to a halt).

Let's see how the story pans out.

[Other pieces here and here.]


An Atrios piece bemoans the lack of US media coverage (linking the exceptions).

One has, of course, to beware of a double-standard, applauding journalistic rashness and restraint according as it suits one's partisan book.

Campaign Desk, for example, has what looks like an egregious piece of scandal-mongering from the New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller (July 15) on the question whether Dick Cheney is manoeuvering to drop himself from the ticket. Had the object of this speculation been the presumptive John Kerry, the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party would have been duly incandescent. As it is, I don't get the impression of a tidal wave of revulsion from the blogospherical Left at Bumiller's latest effort.

Funny, that...

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