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IRAQ WAR -
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Iraqi Death Squad Executes American Journalist

Posted in the database on Sunday, August 07th, 2005 @ 20:17:29 MST (879 views)
from Another Day in the Empire  

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It wasn’t very smart for Steven Vincent, an American writer and blogger who fancied himself a new Jack Kerouac, to run around Basra, Iraq, telling it the way he saw it. In fact, such foolhardy behavior cost Vincent his life. According to the New York Times, Vincent’s murder on August 2 “was the first time an American journalist has been attacked and killed during the war. A handful of American journalists have died in vehicle accidents or from illness.” In fact, as it now appears, Vincent was the victim of a death squad. “Suspicion for this killing,” writes Patrick Martin, “focuses not on Al Qaeda or Sunni-based insurgents, but on the police of the Shiite-based administration installed in Basra with the support of US and British occupation forces.”

As the Los Angeles Times reported, one of Vincent’s abductors was “an Interior Ministry employee,” and a witness was told it was the “duty” of the U.S.-installed puppet government to grab people off the street and murder them. “A few hours later, the journalist’s body was found dumped by a road outside the city, with multiple bullet wounds to the head. He suffered bruises to his face and shoulder, had been blindfolded and his hands were tied in front with plastic wire.” Smells like democracy to me.

Vincent’s mistake was reporting “how militias linked to … Shiite parties had attacked students, harassed women deemed in violation of strict Islamic codes of conduct, threatened local journalists, and carried out the political assassination of as many as 1,000 people, mainly Sunni Muslims, in a three-month period. He criticized the British military, the ultimate authority in Basra, for not cracking down on these activities.”

In other words, it appears the “Salvador Option” is in full swing, killing not only scads of Iraqis but American journalists as well.

Following the “Salvador Option” model, “one Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads,” wrote Michael Hirsh and John Barry earlier this year, “to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, according to military insiders familiar with the discussions. It remains unclear, however, whether this would be a policy of assassination or so-called ’snatch’ operations, in which the targets are sent to secret facilities for interrogation. The current thinking is that while U.S. Special Forces would lead operations in, say, Syria, activities inside Iraq itself would be carried out by Iraqi paramilitaries.” If eye witness accounts mean anything, Steven Vincent was assassinated by a paramilitary led by the Interior Ministry.

In May, the Detroit Free Press reported how a refashioned Iraqi intelligence service (or Mukhabarat in Arabic) “is not working for the Iraqi government—it’s working for the CIA,” according to Hadi al-Ameri, an Iraqi lawmaker and commander of the Badr Brigade. The Detroit Free Press continues:

The Iraqi official said the CIA recruited agents from the SCIRI, the Dawa Party, the two main Kurdish factions and two secular Arab parties: the Iraqi National Congress led by Ahmad Chalabi and the Iraqi National Accord led by Ayad Allawi, who later became the interim prime minister. This group, the prototype for an Iraqi intelligence group that represented Iraq’s diversity, became CMAD: the Collection, Management and Analysis Directorate.

When the U.S.-led occupation authority ceded power to the semi-sovereign interim government last June… the CMAD was split, with roughly half the agents going to the new Interior Ministry and the rest going to work on military intelligence in the Defense Ministry. Both ministries’ intelligence departments are led by Kurds, the most consistently U.S.-friendly group in Iraq, and report to the Iraqi prime minister. (Emphasis added.)

A “Salvador Option” pattern is now emerging in Iraq and it is targeting not only the Sunni resistance but American journalists as well. In El Salvador during the 1980s, members of the Salvadoran security services—including National police, National Guard, and Treasury Police—were trained as death squad goons by the CIA. “The CIA and military advisers have helped organize, trained, financed and advised Salvadoran army and intelligence units engaged in death squad activities and torture. Information from two well-informed sources in Salvadoran government,” writes Ralph McGehee, a former CIA employee, citing the Christian Science Monitor (5/8/1984). “Many of 50,000 Salvadorans killed in 1981-85… attributable to death squad activity.” In fact, the creation of Iraq’s CMAD follows a close parallel to similar paramilitary organizations devised in El Salvador.

“It is widely accepted, in the mainstream media and among human rights organizations, that the Salvadoran government is responsible for most of the 70,000 deaths which are the result of ten years of civil war,” writes David Kirsch for Covert Action Quarterly, Summer 1990. “The debate, however, has dwelled on whether the death squads are strictly renegade military factions or a part of the larger apparatus. The evidence indicates that the death squads are simply components of the Salvadoran military. And that their activities are not only common knowledge to U.S. agencies, but that U.S. personnel have been integral in organizing these units and continue to support their dally functioning.”

The New York Times article on the abduction and execution of Steven Vincent mentions how “Mr. Vincent had been working on a story about the role of police officers in the recent assassinations of former Baath Party officials,” but does not speculate on who may have killed the journalist, even though the Los Angeles Times mentioned an eye witness to the abduction who saw an Interior Ministry employee at the scene. Of course, if the journalists at the New York Times were worth their salt, they would have tracked down the Detroit Free Press article documenting the CIA links to the Interior Ministry. But then we cannot expect the New York Times to arrive at such conclusions.

Incidentally, Vincent was no friend of the Iraqi resistance. “He denounced all armed resistance to the US occupation of Iraq as the work of ‘Islamo-fascism’ and right-wing ‘death squads,’ and, according to the New York Times, ‘even compared his trips to Iraq to the tours taken by journalists covering the rise of fascism in Europe during the Spanish Civil War,’” an obvious absurdity for even a causal student of history. Even so, the abduction and execution of Steven Vincent is ample evidence that the CIA-Rumsfeld Pentagon black op created reactionary government of Iraq will liquidate anybody who gets in their way, be they resistance or potential allies such as Steven Vincent.



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