Iraq : Saddam trial : hypocrisy & cover up


Richard Moore

    Iraqis blame Hussein for the deaths and torture of hundreds of
    thousands of citizens during nearly three decades in power.
    But he will face charges concerning a single incident, the
    execution of 143 men and boys from the predominantly Shiite
    Muslim town of Dujail, 35 miles north of the capital.
     ...Prosecutors allege that Hussein ordered the killings as
    retaliation after gunmen fired on his motorcade in the town on
    July 8, 1982, in an attempt to assassinate him.

Cover up:
It turns out that most of Saddaam's crimes were committed
while he was a protege of the CIA. The famous 'gassing of the
Kurds' occurred as 'collateral damage' in an exchange between
Iran & Iraq, during the decade-long U.S.-sponsored war between
those two countries.  Saddam's WMDs, back when he did have
some, were supplied by the U.S. and its allies.  Hence,
Washington needs to be careful to limit the charges against
Saddam, lest U.S. involvement be exposed in the world press.

When U.S. troops suffer losses at a roadside bombing, they
routinely take revenge by wiping out any handy nearby
civilians, as we saw in this recent report:
   Thus U.S. forces, if justice were to be done, should be in the
dock right beside Saddam. Similarly, U.S. forces use torture,
just like Saddam, using in some cases the same prisons. And
never did Saddam come even close to killing a many Iraqis as
the U.S. killed using sanctions, and in the current illegal

This trial is in the tradition of the Stalin-era show trials, 
and has no more validity than those did.


Hussein Faces Tribunal Today In First Trial for Actions in Iraq 

By Jackie Spinner 
Washington Post Staff Writer 
Wednesday, October 19, 2005; A01 

SULAYMANIYAH, Iraq, Oct. 18 -- Almost two years after U.S.
forces captured a disheveled Saddam Hussein hiding in a hole
in the ground on a farm near his home town of Tikrit, the
former Iraqi president will appear Wednesday before a
five-member panel of his countrymen in the first criminal case
brought against him and seven Baath Party associates.

Iraqis blame Hussein for the deaths and torture of hundreds of
thousands of citizens during nearly three decades in power.
But he will face charges concerning a single incident, the
execution of 143 men and boys from the predominantly Shiite
Muslim town of Dujail, 35 miles north of the capital.

Prosecutors allege that Hussein ordered the killings as
retaliation after gunmen fired on his motorcade in the town on
July 8, 1982, in an attempt to assassinate him.

In addition to the executions, which occurred three years
later at Abu Ghraib prison, more than 1,500 townspeople were
arrested, prosecutors allege. Many were banished to desert
prisons where families were crowded together in windowless
cells for years. Bulldozers plowed over the fertile groves of
orange and date palm trees that provided the primary
livelihood for Dujail's residents.

Unlike Balkan leaders who have faced war crimes charges in a
U.N. court in The Hague, Hussein will appear before the Iraqi
Special Tribunal, a body established in December 2003 by
U.S.-led occupation authorities. It will use a mixture of
international law and Iraqi criminal law in conducting the

The transitional Iraqi parliament, elected in January, has put
its stamp on the court process. It approved minor revisions to
the law that created the tribunal, but those changes will not
go into effect until they are published in an official paper
of record.

In a rare telephone interview on Tuesday, Hussein's sole
attorney, Khalil Dulaimi, said his client would not get a
"fair or honest trial at all." He questioned the legitimacy of
the court.

Dulaimi said he was informed of the trial's start date only on
Sept. 25. "I need at least three more months to be prepared
for the trial," he said. Speeding up the trial was intended
"to confuse the defense and deprive it from full
preparations," he added.

"Psychologically, I am prepared and will go with full
confidence," he said. But "it will be a show trial only."

In a report issued two days ago, Human Rights Watch raised
concerns that the tribunal was not being impartial and
independent. The report noted that the U.S. government had
spent $128 million on investigations and prosecutions of
members of Hussein's government.

The first trials before the tribunal will be "a litmus test
for whether it is up to the task of delivering justice," the
report stated. "Fair trials are not only the entitlement of
defendants. They are also a prerequisite for acknowledging the
experiences of hundreds of thousands of victims of the former
regime in an open, transparent and publicly accessible way,"
it said.

Jaafar Mousawi, the tribunal's chief prosecutor in Hussein's
trial, said the lawyers and judges intend to reply on
Wednesday to accusations that the tribunal does not have
proper jurisdiction because it was formed by the U.S.
occupation authority.

"They have the right to say what they want," Mousawi said of
the critics, "and we have the right and the power to reply. We
are confident of what we have in this case, the evidences with
the defendants' statements and documents with their

Asked what was going through his mind on the eve of the
trial's start, Mousawi said he was "excited to achieve

The other defendants in the case are Barzan Ibrahim, Hussein's
half brother and the head of Iraq's intelligence service until
2003; Taha Yassin Ramadan, Iraq's vice president until 2003;
Awad Haman Bander Sadun, former chief of Hussein's
Revolutionary Court, which sentenced many of the Dujail men to
death; Abdullah Kadhim Ruweid, a senior Baath Party official
in Dujail who is accused of rounding up the local residents
after the assassination attempt; Mizher Abdullah Ruweid, his
son; and two other senior Baath Party officials in Dujail, Ali
Daeem Ali and Mohammed Azawi Ali.

If convicted, all could face death by hanging. Under one of
the revisions approved by the Iraqi parliament but not yet
formally implemented, any sentence would be carried out within
30 days of a final appeal decision. That means Hussein might
never be tried for other crimes of which he has been accused,
including the campaign against the Kurds that killed at least
180,000, the deadly suppression of Shiite uprisings in
southern Iraq following the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the
invasion of Kuwait.

Sources close to the tribunal have said that the proceedings
that begin Wednesday will probably last only a day or two
while the tribunal addresses motions and technicalities.
Hussein's defense is likely to request a recess to provide
more time to prepare, the sources said, and the tribunal will
probably grant it. The sources expect the recess to last
several weeks, perhaps until the first of the year.

When the trial resumes, the prosecution would begin outlining
its case, calling witnesses and presenting evidence. That
phase could last several months, the same sources said. But
few expect it to drag out for years.

The trial will be held in the fortified Green Zone in a
courtroom built specifically for these proceedings within
Hussein's former Republican Palace compound. The marble-lined,
chandelier-hung courtroom has a screen to protect the
anonymity of some witnesses, according to the Reuters news
service. Hussein and his seven co-defendants will face the
five judges, though it is not clear if the judges' identities
will be revealed. The tribunal will allow televised coverage.

U.S. and Iraqi security forces are on high alert for the
trial, which some people anticipate will encourage renewed
violence following Saturday's relatively quiet constitutional

Asked if he thought the Hussein trial would spur insurgent
attacks, Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari said: "Iraqis in
general are not sympathetic to him. I don't think they will
shed any tears."

Luai Baldawi, editor in chief of al-Mutamar newspaper in
Baghdad, said most Iraqis were eager for the trial to begin.
"Hussein represented all Iraq; that is why Iraqis put all the
responsibilities to what happened to Iraq on Hussein," Baldawi
said. Nonetheless, Iraqis seem split over the fairness of the
process, he said.

In the Mansour neighborhood of Baghdad on Tuesday, residents
reflected that sentiment. "There should be an Iraqi court to
try Hussein," said Muhanned Abbas, 30, who was buying gasoline
from a black-market vendor. "The special tribunal is formed by
the Americans and will not try Hussein as the Iraqis want but
as America wants."

Mohammed Othman, 45, a pharmacist, said that no matter what
the outcome, the trial would not change anything. "Hussein is
gone," he said. "There would be no difference if he is tried
or not. We should focus on how to build our country and how to
be united. We should forget about the past and focus on the

Correspondent Ellen Knickmeyer and special correspondents Omar
Fekeiki, Bassam Sebti and Naseer Nouri in Baghdad and Salih
Saif Aldin in Dujail contributed to this report.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company 


"Apocalypse Now and the Brave New World"

List archives:

Subscribe to low-traffic list: