Monday, February 23, 2009

Some say the American/Iraqi secret-informant network is to be disbanded (UPDATED)

Qatari paper AlArab quotes sources who say the Maliki administration is preparing to disband the network of secret informants that was set up by the Americans right after the invasion, and that has been responsible for the assassination and unjust imprisonment of thousands of Iraqis, based on material and sectarian motives of the informants, described as the dregs of society. But at least one Iraqi politician wonders whether management of these people has in fact been turned over to the Iraqi government, or whether it is still run by the Americans. (See the italicized section below)

The main named source for the assurances about imminent disbanding of this network is Baha Al-Safara, an adviser to the Iraqi human rights committee (I think this refers to the Parliamentary committee on human rights*), but the journalist also says "a number of parliamentarians have told AlArab that they have received assurances from Prime Minister Al-Maliki that he will put an end to that controversial organization".

The journalist notes that a spokesman for the Baghdad law-enforcement program said last week that dozens of false informants had been referred to the courts for trial, "where there was sufficient evidence that their information was not true, that it had deceived the security agencies and resulted in the infringement of the rights of citizens," adding that "the law requires that these informants be referred to the courts."

The article by journalist Othman Al-Mukhtar concludes like this:
A large number of Iraqis and those involved in civil rights in Iraq and politicians have welcomed this recent turn of the government toward ending this phenomenon [of secret informers] and a member of the Iraqi communist party, Ali Al-Aali (?) told AlArab that it is incumbent on Iraq to get rid of the filth of the occupation, including the hated system of secret informants. And he wondered whether the occupation had turned over this dirty band to the government, after having recruited them and trained them to serve its interests, and whether the government now pays them the wages that were set for them by the occupation, or whether it is the United States that continues to pay them even now. (My italics)

In past years, the Iraqi resistance and the AlQaeda organization announced the killing of a number of people they described as scouts for the occupation and condemned them as apostates from Islam on the basis of documents showing their cooperation with the American army.

It is estimated that the number of secret informants ranges from 100 to 300 in each city, depending on the nature of the city and the extent of relations with the American army and the Iraqi government. They have been supplied with modern communications equipment and vehicles to facilitate communications with them. It is expected that the coming weeks will be decisive for them, with many supporting the Maliki government to ending its dealings with them and an accounting of the abuses, according to Iraqi parliamentary sources who emphasized to AlArab that they had assurances from Prime Minister Al-Maliki that he would put an end to thise controversial setup.


* I am behind the times. Actually, this probably refers to the newly-created Iraq Human Rights Commission. By sheer coincincidence, the creation of this commission has been fostered by the same Carole A. O'Leary as mentioned in the prior post, in her capacity as project director for the American University Global Peace Center's Iraq Human Rights Commission Project. (See the link in the update to the prior post). It is, as they say, a small world, so readers will not be surprised to know who funded that:
Professor Carole A. O’Leary leads the team of AU human rights experts working with Iraqi stakeholders to establish an independent Iraqi Human Rights Commission, under a grant from the US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.


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