Alleged 'Plotters' Arrested in Baghdad
The New York Times is reporting that 35 Iraqi officials from the Ministry of Interior had been arrested in a move to thwart a Ba'athist plot. It is also getting top billing on Drudge. The story was first carried by the Iraqi media.
Of course, I'm always happy when Ba'athists get busted.
But one of the lead conspirators is supposed to be Gen. Ahmad Abu Ragheef (spelled "Abu Raqeef" in the story) who serves as the head of internal affairs at the ministry, weeding out the corrupt cops, the militia members and Al-Qaeda infiltrators.
I've met Gen. Abu Ragheef on a number of occasions, he's a nice man, from a prominent family, who is as far from Ba'athist conspiracies from anyone I know. He also seems to be squeaky clean, and performs his job properly, which is why he's made so many enemies. He was arrested by U.S. troops not too long ago on trumped up charges, and I wouldn't be surprised if these latest accusations turn out to be more of the same.
The Interior Ministry put out a statement denying the arrest of Abu Ragheef, or that he was involved with the group that was arrested. Thanks also to the commentator who pointed out that the Times later corrected its story about Abu Ragheef's arrest.
Not only that, but it seems that Abu Ragheef is a member of the committee investigating these arrested officers, so whoever told the Times that Abu Ragheef was one of the arrested officers must have been actively spreading disinformation. Thus the Times' source may be connected to the conspirators. Ba'athists had developed, and continue to operate, sophisticated disinformation channels that target foreign journalists (...Michael Ware comes to mind...), so it won't be much of a suprise if that is how and why Abu Ragheef's name got into the story.