"Who stands to benefit from an attack on this anti-war NGO?"

Normally, I would be guarded about such a report. The fact that it was written by two people who I admire cancels this skepticism.

Naomi Klein and Jeremy Scahill report...

...who stands to benefit from an attack on this anti-war NGO?

On Monday, the Italian press began reporting on one possible answer. Sheikh Abdul Salam al-Kubaisi, from Iraq's leading Sunni cleric organisation, told reporters in Baghdad that he received a visit from Torretta and Pari the day before the kidnap. "They were scared," the cleric said. "They told me that someone threatened them." Asked who was behind the threats, al-Kubaisi replied: "We suspect some foreign intelligence."

Blaming unpopular resistance attacks on CIA or Mossad conspiracies is idle chatter in Baghdad, but coming from Kubaisi, the claim carries unusual weight; he has ties with a range of resistance groups and has brokered the release of several hostages. Kubaisi's allegations have been widely reported in Arab media, as well as in Italy, but have been absent from the English-language press.

Western journalists are loath to talk about spies for fear of being labelled conspiracy theorists. But spies and covert operations are not a conspiracy in Iraq; they are a daily reality. According to CIA deputy director James L Pavitt, "Baghdad is home to the largest CIA station since the Vietnam war", with 500 to 600 agents on the ground. Allawi himself is a lifelong spook who has worked with MI6, the CIA and the mukhabarat, specialising in removing enemies of the regime.

UPDATE: Listen to Democracy NOW! or read the transcript (I'll put this later...there appears to not be one right now).

Toward the end of the show, Jeremy Scahill is interviewed by Amy Goodman about the situation surrounding the kidnapping. It is especially powerful and enlightening to *hear the account instead of reading it. I'm more convinced of what Naomi Klein and he himself wrote after hearing him.


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