CIA recruiting Saddam’s secret police

By Julie Hyland
26 September 2003

The Sunday Times has reported that the CIA is recruiting former agents from Saddam Hussein’s notorious security forces in Iraq.

According to the newspaper, “American forces have launched a covert campaign to recruit former officers of the Mukhabarat, Saddam Hussein’s infamous secret police, who were responsible for the deaths and torture of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis.”

It reports that dozens of these sadistic and brutal murderers are now employed by the US “for help in hunting resistance groups” within Iraq, as well as “identifying and tracking down Iraqis suspected of spying for Iran and Syria, the neighbouring countries most hostile to Washington”.

The Times interviewed one such new recruit, Mohammed Abdullah, who had spent 10 years in the Mukhabarat and eight in military intelligence. Abdullah confirmed that he had been working with the CIA since May, for which he is paid $700 a month.

“We are under strict instructions not to publicise our work with the Americans, but dozens of former Mukhabarat officers have already been recruited,” he said. “They need us. The Mukhabarat was one of the best state security organisations in the world.”

Abdullah’s new job description is to help identify Iraqis, described as Baath party loyalists, who “could be worth questioning”. In truth, this means tracking down anyone that could be involved in the ongoing and growing resistance to the US and British occupation, as it is now routine for the coalition to brand any acts of opposition to its illegal takeover of the country as the work of Saddam Hussein loyalists.

With the Mukhabarat, however, the US is actually working with some of the staunchest defenders of the former dictator. In his interview, Abdullah is at pains to stress his allegiance to the old regime. “Saddam was highly intelligent and he loved his people. He was a strong leader and the mistakes he made were the fault of people around him who gave him poor advice.

“Everyone now is saying they hated Saddam. They are lying. But I don’t see anything wrong in working with the Americans. I want to help rebuild my country and I must adapt to these changes.”

Abdullah no doubt finds it easy to accommodate to the new Iraqi regime, as in all fundamentals the puppet administration imposed by Washington differs little from Hussein’s regime. It too is based upon the suppression of the democratic rights of the Iraqi people, reinforced through terror and intimidation.

According to Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for the Independent newspaper, 1,000 Iraqi civilians are dying each week, either at the hands of the occupation forces or as a result of the general social disintegration and disorder caused by the US and Britain’s illegal war. The journalist reports that US and British forces are now involved in a guerrilla war, reminiscent of France’s bloody war in Algeria during 1954-62 during which the French army sought to maintain its bitterly resisted occupation through torture, assassinations and secret executions.

It is to similar ends that the CIA is now recruiting from amongst Hussein’s butchers.

The Times reports that US forces are particularly interested in those members of the Mukhabarat that specialised in counterintelligence against Syria and Iran. The paper reports that one such agent, “Khalid”, a Mukhabarat man for 25 years, had turned down an offer of work by the CIA.

The former agent told the newspaper that he had a three-hour meeting with a CIA officer who had questioned him on his work with Iraqi double agents. He had declined to work with the CIA, however, because he felt it would be a “betrayal” of his country.

“Khalid” confirmed that he was part of the Fifth Section of the agency that had specialised in dealing with those accused of working for Syria and Iran. The accused “were given electric shocks or were attached to a reinforced fan and left to spin for an hour from the ceiling,” he told the Times. “They were severely beaten with batons, and sometimes relatives would be beaten in front of a suspect to force him to talk.”

Whilst the US is not prepared to allow the Iraqi people to have any say or influence over the running of their country, it is perfectly willing to recruit elements of the former state apparatus to enforce its diktats. Such is the character of the “liberation” and “democracy” ushered in by the US/British invasion.