How is the Iraqi nation gaining intelligence?

This is what Iraq has become; a police state relying on taxi drivers:

Taxi drivers the world over are renowned as a bountiful source of gossip, sometimes dubious, sometimes not, gathered in large part via what they overhear from passengers. And in Baghdad, afflicted by a deadly insurgency and deep political instability, there is a special importance to some of the things that taxi drivers overhear.

Now, it appears, the country’s intelligence services have realised how much information can be gathered just by sitting in the driving seat of a cab – with the result, according to Baghdad’s cabbies, that undercover security agents have gone into the minicab trade and are stealing away all their customers

“There’s no doubt it’s the secret police,” said Amer al Husseini, a 29 year-old driver working in the Kadhimiyah neighbourhood. “All of a sudden you’ll see lots of new taxis in Kadhimiyah and none of us know any of the drivers. That’s how you can be sure it’s the security looking for information about some terrorist group.

“They go around, picking up passengers and trying to find out what’s going on. It’s might be good for the secret police but it’s bad for us real taxi drivers because they take all the business.”

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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