[R-G] The new, free Iraq may officially be in the hands of a former terrorist

usman x sandinista at shaw.ca
Thu Jul 8 17:46:13 MDT 2004

Born Under a Cloud of Irony
By Robert Scheer, AlterNet
Posted on June 29, 2004, Printed on July 8, 2004

The ironies are flowing thicker than crude oil in Iraq these days.

First, the United States surreptitiously turns over nominal control of the
country to a government appointed by outsiders – while leaving real power in
the hands of U.S. military commanders – and calls it an exercise in

And although the interim prime minister is a former member of Saddam
Hussein's Baath Party, who later conducted anti-Hussein terrorist operations
on behalf of the CIA – operations in which innocent Iraqi civilians may have
been killed – his anointment as leader of a "free Iraq" is being hailed by
President Bush as a great victory in the war on terror.

According to several former intelligence officials interviewed by the New
York Times this month, the political group run by interim Prime Minister
Iyad Allawi in the 1990s, but financed by the CIA, "used car bombs and other
explosive devices smuggled into Iraq" in an attempt to sabotage and
destabilize Hussein's regime.

With such a record, it is perhaps not strange then that Allawi, who built
his exile organization with defecting Iraqi military officers, is already
proclaiming the need to delay elections scheduled for January and impose
martial law. On Monday, Bush said coalition forces would support such a call
for martial law, presumably enforced by U.S. troops.

Allawi is also demanding that Hussein be put under his government's control
and tried quickly by an Iraqi court – probably a strategic move to seize
Hussein's strongman crown directly.

When Allawi was first picked for the prime minister post through an opaque
selection process ostensibly run by a U.N. representative, former CIA
Iran-Iraq analyst Kenneth Pollack justified the agency's earlier use of
Allawi as a terrorist with the comment "send a thief to catch a thief.' But
the question now is: Do you send a thief to build a democracy?

There has been little media follow-up to reports in early June that Allawi's
work for the CIA amounted to much more than trying to win hearts and minds.
Yet, what we do know is damning enough. In 1996, one of Allawi's top
officers and his group's self-proclaimed chief bomb maker detailed the
mechanics behind Allawi's murderous actions in a videotape subsequently
obtained by a British newspaper, the Independent. On the tape, he even
expresses annoyance that the CIA had shortchanged him on one job, a car
bombing, allegedly paying only half the agreed-upon amount.

According to one of the New York Times' sources, Allawi's group, the Iraqi
National Accord, was the only exile group the CIA trusted to unleash
violence inside Iraq under the agency's direction. In those days, car
bombings in Baghdad were thought to be a good thing, according to one U.S.
intelligence officer who worked with Allawi. "No one had any problem with
sabotage in Baghdad back then," he said, adding, "I don't think anyone could
have known how things could turn out today.' Now, Allawi has made control
over his old rival Hussein a loud demand of his appointed government, which
sits in uneasy reliance on 135,000 U.S. troops and must answer to the
world's largest American embassy in all important matters.

Such a plan must be tempting for the United States. A show trial under
Allawi would be designed to get Hussein out of the way as quickly and
quietly as possible, which might save the U.S. some embarrassment. After
all, in an open, unbiased trial the old dictator, if he still has his wits
about him, could talk about his cooperation with the Reagan and Bush
administrations during the 1980s, when he committed many of the alleged
crimes – including the use of poison gas – for which he will be brought to
trial. He might even discuss his two visits back then with Donald H.
Rumsfeld. But even though a fair public trial might prove uncomfortable for
our government, Hussein is a prisoner of war captured by the United States,
and Washington is responsible for his treatment under international
standards. We have no right to turn him over to the tender mercies of a
former CIA-financed archrival. That is simply an abdication of
responsibility that violates international law.

There is no good argument for not trying Hussein under international law, as
has been done with former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic. A fair public
trial would reveal the crimes of Hussein as well as the machinations of
those U.S. officials and agencies that aided him.

© 2004 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/19088/

"The proletarian is dead. Long live the housewife!" Claudia von Werlhof

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