Two points to keep in mind: (1) most of Saddam's crimes were committed while he was being supported by Washington; (2) the crimes of which he is accused are all minor compared to what the U.S. and Brits are now doing in Iraq on a daily basis. rkm -------------------------------------------------------- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4477908.stm Saddam trial hears first witness A former Iraqi intelligence officer has given the first witness testimony in Saddam Hussein's trial, which has resumed after a six-week break. Wadah Ismael al-Sheik investigated the 1982 assassination attempt which triggered the alleged massacre in Dujail upon which the trial is based. The trial has been adjourned for a week, until 5 December. A defiant Saddam Hussein and seven co-accused were in court. All eight deny charges of murder and torture. The prosecution says 148 people, mostly men, were killed in the largely Shia town, some 60km (35 miles) north of Baghdad, after a failed assassination attempt against the former leader. In his video testimony, taped before his recent death from cancer, Mr Sheikh said about 400 people were detained after the ambush, which was estimated to have been carried out by between seven and 12 assailants. A day after the attack, whole families were rounded up and taken to Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, he said. A year later they were moved to another detention centre in the south of the country, Mr Sheikh added. Defiant defendant Mr Sheikh noted that Saddam Hussein had decorated intelligence officers who had taken part in the operation. He also spoke of Saddam's former Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan, saying that he had ordered the destruction of orchards in Dujail, where the gunmen who attacked the convoy had hidden. The testimony came after Saddam Hussein made another defiant appearance in the specially built courtroom in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone. The eight defendants, who could face execution if convicted, entered the courtroom one at a time and took their seats. Saddam Hussein was the last to be called. There was a long wait before he finally emerged, dressed in a dark suit and white shirt. Heated exchange On the orders of Chief Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin none of them were wearing shackles or handcuffs. During his previous court appearance Saddam Hussein initially refused to recognise the authority of the judge before eventually entering his not guilty plea. The trial is a farce and can only serve to give him a platform from which to claim martyrdom William Allen, Belfast, N Ireland He was similarly argumentative on Monday, complaining about the fact that he had to climb four floors to the courtroom because the lift was broken. He also objected to being escorted up the stairs by "foreign guards". In a series of heated exchanges with the judge he also complained about the fact that his guards had taken his pen away, rendering him unable to sign the necessary court papers. "I will alert them to the problem," Judge Amin said in response. Saddam Hussein fired back: "I don't want you to alert them! I want you to order them. They are in our country. You are an Iraqi, you are sovereign and they are foreigners, invaders, and occupiers." Safety fears At least four defence lawyers failed to turn up, although Saddam Hussein's lawyer did attend. It is not clear why the missing lawyers did not appear nor which defendants they represent. Defence lawyers had threatened to completely boycott Monday's proceedings, following the assassination of two of their colleagues and death threats against others. But they later withdrew their threat after undisclosed promises were made regarding their security arrangements. Just before the trial began at least one mortar was fired into the Green Zone where the trial is taking place, the BBC's John Leyne in Baghdad says. Former US attorney general Ramsey Clark, an outspoken critic of the trial, was seated alongside the defence team. Mr Clark, 77, who flew in from the Jordanian capital Amman on Sunday, said he wanted to protect Saddam Hussein's rights. "A fair trial in this case is absolutely imperative for historical truth," he told Reuters news agency. The left-wing activist, who held office in the 1960s under President Lyndon Johnson, has previously described the special tribunal as a creation of the US military occupation. Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/middle_east/4477908.stm Published: 2005/11/28 12:32:50 GMT © BBC MMV -- -------------------------------------------------------- http://cyberjournal.org "Apocalypse Now and the Brave New World" http://www.cyberjournal.org/cj/rkm/Apocalypse_and_NWO.html Posting archives: http://cyberjournal.org/cj/show_archives/?date=01Jan2006&batch=25&lists=newslog Subscribe to low-traffic list: •••@••.••• ___________________________________________ In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.