August 12, 2004


The Sydney Morning Herald’s Paul McGeough is peeved that US officials won’t drop everything so they can investigate his killer Allawi stories:

They did nothing in the wake of last month's Herald report of eyewitness allegations that the interim Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, murdered six prisoners; and they refuse to act on a Red Cross report on systematic abuses at half-a-dozen Baghdad police stations, including the Al-Amariyah police centre where Allawi is alleged to have carried out the summary executions in the days before Washington gave him control of the country.

Authorities apparently require something a little more substantial than the vague and contradictory statements of two men as relayed by a declared opponent of the war before they begin investigating claims that the Prime Minister is a serial killer. Imagine! But not McGeough; despite having no more evidence of Allawi’s crimes now than he did when the SMH first published his fanciful story, the award-winning reporter declares him guilty:

It seems that if you have Washington's backing, you can get away with murder.

Posted by Tim Blair at August 12, 2004 10:28 AM

"It seems that if you have Washington's backing, you can get away with murder" ---

Wow.Here I am just idly wishing bad things to happen to many members of the LLL,when all I have to do is somehow get the OK from Washington and I can run amok at will.
Who knew?
This could tilt the world situation overnight.

Posted by: dougf at August 12, 2004 at 10:58 AM

The myth of Allawi's multiple murder of insurgents, like the myth of Hussein's illegal WMD-cache, was probably allopwed to grow by the alleged perps in order to create uncertainty in the minds of local enemies.

As Blix put it "Beware of the Dog" signs are cheaper than actual dogs.

[Boring BUSHLIEEDENRONHALLIBURTOIILLLL!!! stuff removed. -- The Management]

Posted by: Jack Strocchi at August 12, 2004 at 11:05 AM

It's been 4 weeks since "Walkley Award winning journalist" Paul McGeough reported that the Prime Minister of Iraq, Iyad Allaw had murdered six suspected insurgents at a Baghdad police station. McGeough was informed by two eye witnesses that Allawi had shot each young man "in the head as about a dozen Iraqi policemen and four Americans" looked on. Subsequently, none of these eighteen witnesses has spoken out and as far as is known no other media organisation has been able to locate and speak with them. In fact no one has been able to confirm any of the details contained in McGeough's report.
if it isn't the job of those outside of journalism to determine how journalists operate, who then is responsible if journalists don't do the hard work of examining their "facts" and justifying the decisions they make. By publishing, without any apparent check on their veracity, McGeough's version of events, the Fairfax orgainisation has undermined the credibility of the "Walkley Award" and failed miserably in their obligations to maintain a responsible press.

Posted by: Noel McGrath at August 12, 2004 at 11:08 AM

Maybe Paul McGeough can get John Kerry to investigate Allawi. After all with Kerry's colourful background, he may well have been a crimes investigator. And who could deflect hard-hitting questions from anyone wearing a lucky hat!

Posted by: Lofty at August 12, 2004 at 11:09 AM

We still haven't heard from that other reporter you pointed to, Tim. Why isn't McGeough calling on that guy/woman to come forward? Why isn't the Herald naming the other reporter?

Posted by: superboot at August 12, 2004 at 11:19 AM

Good to see that Jack Strocchi is still refighting the justification phase of the Iraq War. Even his thread-hijacking skills are still superb and truly enviable.

How's that registration scheme coming along, Andrea?

Posted by: PW at August 12, 2004 at 11:24 AM

Iraq will get democracy, that's good enough. As for WMD, everyone thought Saddo had them so stop pretending you didn't.

As for the prisoner executions, most people on the street in Iraq say they don't believe it but they wish it were true.

Personally, I think the best thing Allawi could do is order the mass execution of those 1200 Sadr followers they captured, and that's for starters. Like I've always said, mass graves aren't a problem so long as the right people get put into them. Imagine if we could have put Lenin and his hundred or so bolshevik deciples into one befor they got started, wouldn't that have been nice? Certainly nice for the 80 million people those filthy, commie, cock-sucking murderers subsequently did in.

Terrorise the terrorists, kill the killers, torture the torturers, slaughter them, no mercy, wipe that filth out, Allawi, we're all depending on you.

Posted by: Amos at August 12, 2004 at 11:40 AM

Can't agree with you all the way Amos, since a legitimate government is expected to observe a rule of law and not a rule of men. There are reasons for it, as Thomas More explained to the rather dimwitted Will Roper in "A Man For All Seasons." And I say that as one who has a lot fewer compunctions about energetic action on terrorism than most people I know.

In your example of Lenin, however, you hit on a good point. Executing Lenin and his consiglieri could have been done well within the law by the Provisional Government of Russia in the summer of 1918. The Bolsheviks under Lenin's prodding started a coup against the government which was put down. They were not prosecuted, because the dim bulbs of the PG had a "No enemies on the left" attitude while being excessively paranoid about enemies on the right. So they let Lenin and Trotsky go free. When the shoe was on the other foot the latter did not hesitate to kill any leftists who got in the way. Tis a pity such a good chance was missed.

Posted by: Michael Lonie at August 12, 2004 at 11:55 AM

Like I've always said, mass graves aren't a problem so long as the right people get put into them.

Oh I see. So the problem with Saddam was not that he comitted mass murder, just that he didn't murder the right people.

Posted by: Rex at August 12, 2004 at 11:57 AM

Who's gonna declare open season on polling SMH readers a'la Fox viewers to see how many now hold "wrong" ideas?

Posted by: bargarz at August 12, 2004 at 12:02 PM

Actually, the US has investigated the allegations - as the State Department press briefing on 3 August. shows. What information that has been provided - as thin as it is - has been checked out, and found seriously wanting. Altho' if the great crusader was able to produce his alleged witnesses, they'd be happy to listen:

QUESTION: I'd just like to ask, has the United States Government or the State Department made any attempt to ascertain the truth or otherwise of reports that Prime Minister Allawi, on or about the third weekend in June, while the Coalition Provisional Authority was still in charge in Iraq, executed six prisoners, shot seven in front of witnesses reported to include U.S. Security personnel? If not, will you do so, given the serious natures of the charge, claims by two independent witnesses to an Australian journalist and, as I said, the claim that American personnel were present?

MR. BOUCHER: I think this is something that has been dealt with and discussed in Baghdad and here. Prime Minister Allawi himself has said there is nothing to these reports. I think he's responded very directly when asked about them. We have said before we have no information to indicate such an event had taken place, and that's where I stand at this point.

QUESTION: But my question was whether you had done any investigation, in the sense there were Americans allegedly present.

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know who those Americans might have been. I don't know if any of the Armed Forces or other units in Baghdad might have done some sort of investigation, but I'm told the U.S. Government has checked and that we don't have any information that would indicate those reports are true.

QUESTION: So you are satisfied there is absolutely no truth to those reports?

MR. BOUCHER: We have nothing to indicate those reports are true. I'm not going to rephrase it. I tell you the extent of our knowledge, but that's the extent of our knowledge

QUESTION: But you're not making any effort to extend the extent of your knowledge?

MR. BOUCHER: I'd say we have checked on what information we do have and we don't have any information that would indicate those reports are true.

QUESTION: And you're not looking to make any further investigations to --

MR. BOUCHER: We're always open to any further information or investigations that might be done.

Posted by: Mike at August 12, 2004 at 12:21 PM

Um, isn't this guy (for now) the head of state of a sovereign nation? We may criticize this sort of thing if we see some evidence of it, but I don't see where the US has the authority to do anything to Allawi.

Posted by: Crank at August 12, 2004 at 12:39 PM

Sorry guys -- I've been half dead -- the new site is up, I just want to do some tweaking and domain propagating (or whatever the hell it's called) and all those other wonderful things. It'll be done by this weekend, unless Hurricane Charlie puts the power out.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at August 12, 2004 at 12:49 PM

PS: did some editing of Strocchi's comment, above. It looks much better now.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at August 12, 2004 at 01:04 PM

"Um, isn't this guy (for now) the head of state of a sovereign nation?"

More importantly, isn't this a nation at war with out of uniform combatants?

Summary execution is legal in those circumstances in many countries.

I think this issue divides the world in two. There are those who believe this is a "police" issue, and you have to have evidence to convict someone in a court of law. Those kind of people are very happy Milosovic is still breathing, no matter what his crimes are, because he is getting a fair trial.

Then there are those of who prefer the Ceaucescu / Mussolini approach to justice for evil people. Boom. I wish the 1944 plotters had succeeded in taking out Hitler. I'm glad someone assassinated Heydrich. I wish Hitler had been dealt with sooner. I wish Saddam had been terminated in 1991 with extreme prejudice.

Pick a side.

Posted by: Bruce at August 12, 2004 at 01:48 PM

> Can't agree with you all the way Amos, since a legitimate government is expected to observe a rule of law and not a rule of men.

I'd be a lot more impressed by such arguments if they were ever applied to left-wing govts or govts that weren't deposed by Americans.

I think that the principle suggested is a fine one, but given its selective application, it's more of debate stick than a principle.

Posted by: Andy Freeman at August 12, 2004 at 02:44 PM

A little OT, but an interesting point of history concerning the hitler assasination attempt.

Apparently in 1944 it was widely held by the allies that assasinating Hitler would not be such a great idea. The primary reason being, that by mid 1944 Hitler had assumed supreme strategic command of all German forces in the field. He was making such a balls-up of it they did not want to risk a more competent replacement that may have extended the war from its then inevitable conclusion.

Personally I think the Wiemar Republic should have offed the prick and his hairy mates after the failed Munich Pusch of 1922.

Posted by: Antipodean at August 12, 2004 at 02:46 PM

Hey, it was in the Sydney Morning Herald, it must be true! Or do they print lies because they are controlled by the Zionist fundamentalists?

What was McGeogh's award for, and who awarded it?

Posted by: Scott Wickstein at August 12, 2004 at 02:53 PM

It seems if you have a Walkely Award, you can get away with lying.

Posted by: Freddyboy at August 12, 2004 at 03:01 PM

This is a psycological war. The message being sent to the criminals is "you can bomb, kidnap, terrorise and murder, the government might arrest you, but then would hve diffuculty prosecuting, and the hand-wringing internationalist left will come out in full force to defend you. All in all, the risks of punishment are small, so go ahead and bomb, kidnap, terrorise and murder."

To the Iraqi people: "The murderers are amoung you and they know your names, the police are remote and can't even protect their own police stations. We can't punish the ones we catch anyway so you're on your own, keep your head down and don't be seen to assist the reconstruction, these thugs might be the new rulers of Iraq."

Now say they take those 1200 sadr scumbags, move them down with machine guns and bulldoze them into a mass grave. What message does that send?

For Christ's sake, can we just win the fucking war first befor we start bringing in the lawyers?

Posted by: Amos at August 12, 2004 at 03:04 PM

Tariq Ali retails this story as fact in a particularly stupid column for the Guardian today. No mention that Allawi has denied the rumour, no hint as to how very thin and dubious McGeough's grounds for the assertion are; it's a convenient story for the runt of a thesis he's hawking, so he simply refers us to McGeough's efforts with the recommendation that the man writes for the SMH and apparently once edited it, and expects readers to bow to the authority. It must be true!

Posted by: Mark at August 12, 2004 at 05:39 PM

Poor Paul. It seems like his story just didn't have the legs he expected. What should he do now? Hmm think think what does every lefty do when they are in trouble? Blame the US government of course - phew dodged that bullet.

Posted by: Rob at August 12, 2004 at 06:45 PM

Amos ,
Mow down those 1200 sadr scumbags with machine guns?
What would Paul or Margo say?
Not happy Amos!

Posted by: gubbaboy at August 12, 2004 at 07:56 PM

Carpet being laid,new web site up.
Life is looking good.

Posted by: gubbaboy at August 12, 2004 at 07:58 PM

Ok, I'll bite:

What the hell is a "Walkley award", and if you're in a hurry does it become a "Runley award"?

Posted by: mojo at August 13, 2004 at 06:43 AM

Walkley is the most prestigeous award for journalism,given every year.

Posted by: gubbaboy at August 13, 2004 at 08:27 AM

Prestige? Didn't the union give one to an SBS docu a few years ago that wasn't even in English and which none of the judges understood? It just happened to be about Howard's genocide against boat people, so it won at a canter.

Posted by: superboot at August 13, 2004 at 09:24 AM

[The insulting and frankly rather pathetic comment that was here has been removed by the Management, shot dead, and buried in the back yard.]

Posted by: Miranda Divide at August 13, 2004 at 10:43 AM

Probably true,I didn't say the awards were unbiased though. Are their any other awards for journalism?

Posted by: gubbaboy at August 13, 2004 at 02:44 PM

The Pulitzer comes to mind. But that has been awarded to Stalin apologists.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at August 13, 2004 at 03:34 PM