View Full Version : Saddam Captured While Hiding in a Hole

December 14th, 2003, 08:30 AM
From Rueters:

Saddam Captured While Hiding in Hole Near Hometown

Robin Pomeroy

TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. troops captured Saddam Hussein near his home town of Tikrit in a major coup for Washington's beleaguered occupation force in Iraq.

Grubby and bearded, apparently exhausted and resigned to his fate, the fugitive dictator was dug out by troops from a narrow hiding hole during a raid on a farm late Saturday, the U.S. commander in Iraq told a news conference Sunday.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we got him," a beaming U.S. administrator Paul Bremer said in his first, pithy comments.

"The tyrant is a prisoner."

Amid scenes of undisguised jubilation at U.S. headquarters in Baghdad, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez played a video of the 66-year-old ousted leader, in a heavy black and gray beard, undergoing a medical examination that appeared to include the taking of saliva swabs for DNA testing. Sanchez also showed a still photograph, apparently taken later, of a shaven Saddam.

Across the capital, gunfire crackled in celebration.

Joy greeted final proof that the man who terrorized his people for 30 years and led them into three disastrous wars was now behind bars and facing trial, even possible execution, at Iraqi hands.

"There were no injuries. Not a single shot was fired," said Sanchez, adding that Saddam seemed "tired and resigned."

It was a contrast to the end of Saddam's once powerful sons, Uday and Qusay, who went down guns blazing against an overwhelming U.S. force at a house in Mosul in July.

Troops acting on a tip-off surrounded the farm outside Ad Dawr, just south of Tikrit, the city where Saddam was born into a poor family of minority Sunni Muslims. He rose through tribal contacts and a taste for ruthless violence to dominate the Arab nationalist Ba'ath party, which seized power in a 1968 coup.

The soldiers finally tracked the fugitive down to the bottom of a narrow, man-sized pit, some six to eight feet deep, Sanchez said.


The arrest is a major boon for President Bush after seven months of increasingly bloody attacks on U.S. forces and their allies following Saddam's ousting on April 9.

His campaign for re-election next year has been overshadowed by mounting casualties and wrangling with key allies over Iraq.

It may break the spirit of some of his diehard supporters and ease anxieties of many Iraqis who lived in fear for three decades under a man who led them into three disastrous wars.

U.S. officials will also hope to extract key intelligence on the alleged weapons programs which formed the public grounds for Bush to go to war in defiance of many U.N. allies. Little evidence of banned weapons has been found.

Saddam had kept up a stream of belligerent rhetoric from hiding, even after his sons were killed. Already vexed by its failure to find al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Washington blamed Saddam for promoting some of the violence against its forces and put a $25 million price on his head.

But analysts warned that other groups could go on fighting.

"This has lifted a shadow from the people of Iraq. Saddam will not be returning," British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in a statement.

Washington had made Saddam number one -- the "ace of spades" -- on its list of 55 most-wanted Iraqis. An informer was paid $30 million and given refuge in the United States for turning in Uday and Qusay.


Saddam would be put on trial, Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi told Reuters. A tribunal system for Iraqis to try Saddam and fellow Baathist leaders was set up only last week.

"This is good for Iraq. He will be put on trial. Let him face justice," Chalabi, who returned after the invasion from years in U.S. exile, said in Baghdad.

A U.S.-led coalition official said last week the Iraqi government to be formed by June would be free to re-establish the death penalty, although most of the countries supplying experts setting up the tribunal do not have it. Saddam made free use of execution, killing thousands during his years in power.

Hours after the arrest, a suspected suicide car bomber killed at least 17 people and wounding 33 at an Iraqi police station in the restive town of Khalidiyah, west of Baghdad.

U.S. officials had said Saddam had eluded American troops by moving every few hours, probably in disguise and aided by members of his clan around Tikrit, north of Baghdad.

"His arrest will put an end to military and terrorist attacks and the Iraqi nation will achieve stability," said Amar al-Hakim, a senior member of the Shi'ite political party the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

"We want Saddam to get what he deserves. I believe he will be sentenced to hundreds of death sentences at a fair trial because he's responsible for all the massacres and crimes in Iraq."

Mustafa Alani, an analyst at the Royal United Services Institute in London, warned, however, that there were other anti-American groups in Iraq ready to continue attacks.

"There will be a reduction in operations sponsored by former regime loyalists, but this is not the full story because they are not the only group involved," he said.

"For the Americans after the failure to capture Osama bin Laden after so many years, it is a propaganda coup...It's an intelligence prize because they can get information from him about cells working now. And it's a huge victory."

Copyright © 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

December 14th, 2003, 10:28 AM

Hopefully, more Iraqi energy will be put into a positive future rather than pointless fighting.

December 14th, 2003, 11:23 AM
And my nephew can come home.

December 14th, 2003, 11:48 AM
Good luck to your nephew! :D

I think things will calm down a bit over there now. Don't know how much though...

TLOZ Link5
December 14th, 2003, 03:02 PM

Good job, George. Now go get Osama.

Freedom Tower
December 14th, 2003, 04:00 PM

December 17th, 2003, 10:13 PM
Great job, but to find the WMDs they can't give Saddam the death penalty.Everyone cracks at some point and even though I don't think there are WMD I still think that keeping Saddam alive may be of some us to the US.

December 23rd, 2003, 11:16 PM
you guys will only be seeing me in this forum, by the way..... as for this topic, yea we hope to get osama, but i don't see it happening. osama is double the genius as saddam is and he is hiding quite well at the moment. the way i see it, is saddam wanted to get caught since he showed no resistance to the U.S. soldiers. it scared me when i heard this on the news that day especially looking at his "haggard" condition. it all seems too "good" and pleasing to george bush, and i'm looking to see what next is up the al qaeda's sleeves.

Freedom Tower
December 24th, 2003, 09:00 PM
Sadly, I also doubt if we will ever get bin laden. We had the bastar* surrounded at Tora Bora. Then the Northern Alliance had some sort of cease fire for an hour or so, while Bin Laden slipped out the back door. If American troops had him surrounded instead of the Northern Alliance you can guarantee he would have been caught by now. We messed up and I doubt we'll get another opportunity like it :(. But could you imagine what it'd be like if we did get bin laden? It'd be just like Saddams capture only a thousand times bigger.

January 9th, 2005, 12:48 AM

Ramsey Clark: Why I’m Taking Saddam’s Case

by Lizzy Ratner

"You can’t be sure of how the trial will go," said longtime Manhattan civil-rights attorney Ramsey Clark, wagging a long, slender forefinger. "But you could say that if it’s properly done, it will be the biggest trial of this century."

Mr. Clark was talking about the trial of Saddam Hussein, whom he recently signed on to represent before a special tribunal in Baghdad. For the man who has represented Leonard Peltier, the Harrisburg Seven and the Attica Brothers, but also prosecuted war resisters in the Johnson administration—indeed, for the man who, as a young Marine Corps courier, witnessed the Nuremberg trials after World War II—calling it the "trial of the century" was no small thing.

Ramsey Clark was in his office, in a loft on East 12th Street in the East Village, speaking like a law professor across a large slab of a wooden table. He’d just returned a few days before from a visit to Jordan, where he met with other members of Mr. Hussein’s legal team as well as the families of both Mr. Hussein and former Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz. In the room hung an Salvadoran solidarity poster and a painting by Mr. Peltier. The painting is of an old Native American woman with a single tear running down her cheek; it’s called Big Lady Mountain.

By Mr. Clark’s own telling, his interest in representing the deposed Iraqi leader was inflamed when media reports started coming in of Mr. Hussein’s arrest in a spider-hole hideout in the desert. He said he was "shocked" by the images he saw.

"The savage presentation of [Mr. Hussein], disheveled, with his mouth open, people probing in his mouth, the dehumanization," he said. "I represented Indian peoples for many years, and I can’t tell you how many Indians I’ve worked with called after they saw the picture and said, ‘That’s exactly the way they treated us.’ And this is hardly the road to peace if you want respect for human dignity.

"I wrote to him a year ago in December, shortly after he was arrested," he continued. "I’d also written to Tariq Aziz right after he turned himself in April of ’03, because I thought it was essential that they have independent contact immediately to assure their proper treatment. And I was repeatedly turned down as to both.

"I did it because, obviously, these cases are extremely important in terms of history and in terms of reconciliation of peoples, and in terms of belief in truth and justice as a priority over force and violence," Mr. Clark said. "It’s about addressing the concept of victor’s justice, which is only the exercise of power. If you really want peace, you have to satisfy people about the honor of your purpose."

Mr. Clark has not been able to meet with Mr. Hussein since he sent his letter.

"There has not been anything approaching adequate contact with him," he said. "None of his family has seen him; only one lawyer has seen him, and that was in the first half of December—a full year after his arrest. It was by a single person, with soldiers standing by, hearing, with whatever other type of surveillance there might have been.

"And there’s not adequate contact with that lawyer, who’s an Iraqi. So for a defense to be developed, there has to be extensive communication with the principal person whose life it involves.

"He is a decisive, knowledgeable person," Mr. Clark said, "and has to play a major role in every aspect of choosing a defense team and preparing a defense. The lack of access to him is a major violation. Our Supreme Court has thrown cases out where a person wasn’t given access to independent non-police parties within 48 hours of arrest, within less than 12 hours. Here you’ve got 12 months. That sounds technical, but it’s not technical at all—it’s the essential beginning."

It’s not that he’s never met Mr. Hussein.

Mr. Clark’s history with the former Iraqi leader dates back to the first Gulf War, when Mr. Clark traveled to Iraq to protest the U.S.-led coalition’s bombing campaign. He spent 14 days chronicling the destruction and later defied sanctions by returning on dozens of aid missions. He met with Mr. Hussein on at least four of these occasions, including a month-long visit just before the March 2003 invasion.

"I’ve met with him I think four times, probably averaged two to three hours at a time," he said. "In presence he is reserved, quiet, thoughtful—dignified, you might say, in the old-fashioned sense. I’m not a big fan of dignity in the old-fashioned sense of stuffiness or posture."

Could he see how that might be praising with faint damnation a man who is said to have ordered the deaths of some 300,000 of his own citizens?

"I have long believed that one of the greatest barriers to peace is demonization," Mr. Clark said. "It has always been necessary in war for soldiers to demonize the enemy. Now, with the mass media saturating the public with perceptions that come from very slim contact with actuality and are heavily influenced by desire and prejudice, we demonize."

And if other lawyers might blanch at the argument that it was the American media who demonized Saddam—wasn’t he something of a demon to begin with? If it were a simple referendum on Mr. Hussein’s treatment of the Kurds or political dissidents, who could possibly represent him in good faith? But what if the trial of Saddam Hussein is really a referendum on the American campaign in Iraq?

"Demonization is the most dangerous form of prejudice," Mr. Clark continued. "Once you call something evil, it’s easy to justify anything you might do to harm that evil. Evil has no rights, it has no human dignity, it has to be destroyed. That’s how you get your Fallujas, your Abu Ghraibs, your shock-and-awes."

And, like many civil-rights lawyers, Mr. Clark believes he’s representing a client in a court that is fundamentally flawed.

"A tribunal that doesn’t meet the standards of international law can do enormous harm. International law requires first that a tribunal be created by legal authority, by pre-existing legal authority," he argued. "That’s referred to as competence. After competence comes independence—it can’t be subject to political power. And finally, it has to be impartial. If it’s not impartial, what’s the point? Why don’t you just go ahead and say ‘Hang him’ instead of this ruse?

"Now, the present Iraqi court meets none of those standards. It was a creation of the U.S. military occupation, the so-called governing council, which was appointed by the U.S. And who becomes the first judge of the court? Chalabi’s nephew. I mean, suppose he’s the most honorable person in the world, this nephew? Is it really conceivable that that’s the person that ought to be judge in a world as big as this? So you don’t have independence, because everything depends on what the U.S. does for the court: financing, training, selection and everything else. You don’t have competence, because it’s not legal. And you don’t have impartiality, as far as can be told from the appearance.

"The only existing court that is competent and independent and impartial is the International Criminal Court, which came into existence July 1, 2002. It’s a court the U.S. opposed. It’s a court the U.S. tragically weakened, but it’s been approved by more than 120 countries.

"The judges were appointed not by the U.S., but the Iraqis, and after the new government comes to power, they will have to be reconfirmed," said Michael Scharf, a human-rights lawyer at Case Western Reserve who has helped train Iraqi judges, when Mr. Clark’s claims were put before him. "Not only that: The judges who I work with are extremely independent people. They have no particular love for the United States. These are people who were chosen for their expertise and independence."

Mr. Clark is 77 years old, stooped and slender. He was wearing New Balance sneakers and a worn blue button-down shirt tucked into a pair of wool or polyester pants that might have dated from his early political career. He has wide-set eyes, a bit like a crawfish. And to many, his movements are just as mysterious—sideways, quirky, puzzling.

"Ramsey is a mystery," said Melvin Wulf, an old colleague who shared a law practice with Mr. Clark during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, in an earlier interview. "I saw him every day, but I didn’t know him any better at the end of five years than I knew him on the first day. He plays himself very close to the vest, consults with no one except for himself."

Outside the room, the office manager, Ben Cheney, brother of the slain civil-rights activist, typed at a keyboard. A few unlikely magazines—The New Yorker, Gourmet, Opera News—sat in a stack in the waiting room for visitors. Like some small-town doctor’s office, there were no visitors and the office was quiet—nothing that would suggest that this was the home away from home of one of the most controversial attorneys in the United States.

It all started in the last hoary week of 2004, when Mr. Clark jetted over to Jordan for a conference with 20 or so other attorneys on Dec. 28 to start forming their strategy.

Reaction to Mr. Clark’s trip was swift and certain across the political spectrum. On the right, bloggers for Web sites like RightNation declared that he should be "tried for sedition and treason." The New York Sun accused him of losing all "credibility when it comes to claiming to be for peace." Even some of his left-wing comrades rolled their eyes when they heard that he’d signed on to represent a man who had allegedly ordered 300,000 political killings.

"I do think that Saddam, like anybody else, does have a right to a fair trial and a competent lawyer. I’m just not sure why Ramsey Clark needs to do that," said Leslie Cagan, a longtime peace and justice activist. "Personally, I wish he didn’t do some of those things, because he is one of the few public well-known leftists in this country, and it does make our work harder sometimes."

Conservatives loathe Mr. Clark, but even staunch progressives don’t always know what to make of him, and some of his closest friends say he can’t be easily defined: Is he a valiant "dissenter" in the tradition of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, as his friend Victor Navasky suggested? Or is he an old ideologue, as others have charged, who is driven above all by his ties to a Communist splinter group called the Workers World Party? Is he a profile in courage, or a study in eccentricity?

Perhaps predictably, Mr. Clark presents himself as neither. A rangy Texan with a down-home Southern drawl, he seems to move to his own unapologetic drumbeat.

He is not without supporters, including some colleagues who argued that Mr. Clark will provide Mr. Hussein with a competent defense, a necessary component of a fair trial.

"[Mr. Clark] has a very good point: The international legal issues are compelling in some ways," said Alan Dershowitz, who has worked both with and against Mr. Clark on a number of cases. "I think it has to be perceived as a fair trial, and Ramsey’s being involved increases the chances that it will be perceived as a fair trial, because he is a very good lawyer—very smart and very tough."

Mr. Clark is used to being in the center of the storm. Over the years, he has become a fixture of national and international crime scenes, taking on the kind of thorny cases that have earned him comparisons to the crusading civil-liberties lawyer Clarence Darrow on the one hand—and to Benedict Arnold on the other.

"I think he seems to have some kind of inner compass that tells him that this situation is unfair, and because of that we have to get involved in it," said Abdeen Jabara, an old friend and lawyer who formerly ran the Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. "I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody who is as principled in his beliefs to fight for the underdog."

Long before he joined Saddam Hussein’s defense team, before he became the mascot of the anti-Establishment, Ramsey Clark was himself a pedigreed member of the political elite. Born into an influential Texas family, he came from a long line of lawyers who moved effortlessly within the highest levels of law and government. His maternal grandfather was a member of the Texas Supreme Court; his paternal grandfather was president of the Texas Bar Association. His father, Tom C. Clark, was a law-and-order lawyer with close ties to Lyndon B. Johnson. At Mr. Johnson’s urging, President Harry S. Truman named the elder Mr. Clark his Attorney General in 1945. Four years later, Mr. Truman appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Early in his life, the young Ramsey rebelled at least twice against these Clark family precedents. He tried to join the Marines when he was 13, on Dec. 8, 1941, "and it probably would have been pretty dangerous," he laughed.

"As far as I can tell, I’ve always had a fierce opposition to violence," he said. "I can remember when I was in fifth or sixth grade, the subject of capital punishment came up. And I was shy and quiet and rarely said much, but I really got upset and I just was passionately against it."

But when he was 17, he did drop out of high school—against his father’s wishes—to join the Marine Corps and fight in World War II.

Several years later, he defied his father again when he chose to go to the more progressive-minded University of Chicago Law School rather than Harvard Law.

Following law school, Mr. Clark headed back to Texas and appeared, at least on the surface, to return to the path his father and grandfathers had carved out before him. He married his college sweetheart, Georgia Welch, and went to work for the family’s Dallas law firm. He stayed there for 10 years, specializing in antitrust work, until, in 1961, President John F. Kennedy made him an Assistant Attorney General in brother Robert Kennedy’s Justice Department.

Mr. Clark arrived in Washington as the Justice Department was taking on a bigger role in enforcing civil rights.

He roved the South as part of Robert Kennedy’s "riot squad" and ultimately helped to draft the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

"I went in ’61, and because I was from Texas I could pass, so I was used extensively in the South," he said. "I was in charge of supervising the desegregation of all public schools in ’62 in the South. There were only five, but it was a big job—doing just one of them was a big job. You had to worry about children being beat up, their homes being firebombed. It seemed incredibly important, exciting and a privilege to be involved in that."

His outspokenness and sharp positions—from his support of civil rights to his opposition to wire-tapping and the death penalty—ultimately earned him the nickname "the Preacher" among his Justice Department colleagues.

"[Ramsey Clark] was liberal, though he was much more restrained than he is today," recalled Nicholas Katzenbach, who worked alongside Mr. Clark for some six years, first as Deputy Attorney General and then as Attorney General. "Still, I think he was far more liberal than his dad."

Indeed, Mr. Clark bumped squarely against his father’s own, more conservative legal judgments several times during his years in the Justice Department. Most notably, when Johnson appointed him Attorney General in 1967, one of his first steps was to drop the case against Judith Coplon, a Justice Department clerk who had been charged during the early McCarthy days with passing secrets to her Soviet lover. Mr. Clark’s father had brought the case when he was Attorney General.

"It seemed to me a quite fascinating thing to do," said Mr. Navasky, who became close friends with Mr. Clark in the late 1960’s while writing the book Kennedy Justice. "Ramsey was appointed under the cloud that he got the job [of Attorney General] because his family was Texas buddies of the Johnson family. But I came to the conclusion, both from my interviews and what he did in the Justice Department, that he was a kind of civil-libertarian Attorney General, which is very unusual."

This civil-libertarian streak didn’t always go over well in the Johnson cabinet, however. During his two years as Attorney General, Mr. Clark found himself at odds with the administration over everything from wire-tapping to prison reform to the Vietnam War.

"President Johnson knew I [opposed the war in Vietnam] before he appointed me Attorney General," Mr. Clark said. "And he didn’t put me on the National Security Council, which every Attorney General before me had been on and every Attorney General since me had been on. He would call me over once in a while to some meeting on the war when he wanted an extreme position, and I remember one breakfast, the question was whether to bomb north of a famous parallel, I can’t remember which one. And the guys were arguing "yes-no-yes-no" as to whether you could bomb north of the line, and when it came to me I said, ‘I don’t think you can bomb on either side of the line.’ Because bombing is just killing people, and you didn’t know who the hell you were killing—you were killing civilians. It was just a shameful, sick thing."

When Richard Nixon denounced Mr. Clark in a campaign speech in 1968, Johnson reportedly deadpanned, "I had to sit on my hands so I wouldn’t cheer it."

But Mr. Clark said his relationship with Johnson was friendly.

"I never had any real conflict with him. But he [did] say to me one time, ‘Some people think you’re destroying the Democratic Party.’ And I said, ‘I’m not even in politics, I’m just doing the law.’"

Mr. Clark never spoke out publicly against the administration, and he never resigned, despite his apparent misgivings about Vietnam.

"You know, I had a choice of resigning," Mr. Clark recalled, "and it’s something I considered—it’s something I thought was important and respected. But I also thought what I was doing was important—was more important in the sense of its direct impact on lives. And I saw an environment around me in which everything I had been trying to do would be swept away. I already felt that the civil-rights movement after the Watts riots in ’65 was in deep trouble. So I couldn’t see giving up on that. And I had no role in the Vietnam business, because I wasn’t even on the Security Council."

Some of Mr. Clark’s colleagues have suggested that he is still doing penance for this period of his life—in particular, for prosecuting war resisters like Dr. Benjamin Spock, the Reverend William Sloane Coffin and boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

"Standing by, being Attorney General during the Vietnam War without resigning, is not a particularly heroic position to have taken," said his old colleague, Mr. Wulf. "I sometimes speculate—and this is absolute speculation—that what he’s doing is a kind of atonement for having been Attorney General for Lyndon Johnson at the time of the Vietnam War, and for having in fact initiated the indictment against Dr. Spock and the others."

As in most cases, Mr. Clark was as unapologetic about his indictment of Spock as he has since become about his Johnson administration apostasy.

"I personally authorized the case against William Sloane Coffin, who came down to marry our son a few years later. I visited him and stayed in his home in ’69, at Yale. Dr. Spock I became very close friends with. And I really haven’t had regrets about the case. I think the government has the duty to protect laws that it believes are constitutional, and I believe the Selective Service Act was constitutional."

Still, there’s no question that Mr. Clark veered sharply leftward after his Johnson years. Beginning in the early 1970’s, Mr. Clark took a string of headline-grabbing "movement" cases, amassing a docket that read like a Who’s Who of the decade’s radicals and revolutionaries. In 1973, he defended the Harrisburg Seven, a group of peace activists who were accused, among other things, of plotting to kidnap Henry Kissinger. One year later, he joined famed radical lawyer William Kunstler in representing two of the Attica Brothers who had been accused of killing a prison guard. Around the same time, he also launched an upstart campaign for U.S. Senate against New York Republican Jacob Javits. (At the state Democratic convention in 1974, Frank Serpico nominated him and Attica Brother Herbert X. Blyden seconded it.) Running as a Democrat, he argued for a 50 percent cut in the defense budget and refused to take contributions above $100. Mr. Navasky managed the operation.

During the next two decades, Mr. Clark began taking on clients who hovered further and further on the political fringes, clients who were not merely controversial but downright incendiary. He often framed these cases in the old language of civil rights, but these clients were hardly left-wing "cause" clients in the traditional sense (though there were some of those as well). For instance, he took on the case of Karl Linnas, an alleged former Nazi. And he defended—and supposedly befriended—Lyndon LaRouche, the political-cult guru. In the early 1990’s, Mr. Clark represented Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb general who was indicted on war crimes. More recently, he gave legal advice to Slobodon Milosevic, the former Yugoslavian president who was also charged with war crimes. Now, of course, there’s Saddam Hussein.

Taken together, these clients make up quite a rogues’ gallery, and some of Mr. Clark’s friends and colleagues have been almost as confounded by his legal choices as his critics. To help explain, they have dreamed up a raft of different theories. On the one side are those who believe that Mr. Clark is, above all, a civil libertarian in the Clarence Darrow tradition. To these friends, he is a hero, albeit at times an eccentric one.

"He’s represented a lot of bad guys. I would say bad guys are entitled to a lawyer. Dracula should have a lawyer, but it’s not going to be me," said Michael Steven Smith, a New York City attorney and author. "It’s probably not a position taken by most movement lawyers, but it’s still a principled position."

But other friends and colleagues have said they suspect he is driven primarily by ideology, and not just the standard lefty ideology.

"I support many of the causes he supports, but I also vehemently disagree with some of the choices he’s made, because I perceive him as thinking that any enemy of the United States is a friend of his, and I think that leads him into representing people he should not," said Beth Stevens, an attorney who represented a group of Bosnian Muslim women who sued Mr. Karadzic in 1993.

And yet for a man who sticks to certain basic principles of justice, even when the circumstances of the world seem to be pressing their defense to the point of absurdity, Mr. Clark had a deceptively simple answer for the choices he’s made.

"You know, we tend to demean here the idea that you’re innocent until proven guilty, and most people are going to chuckle when you say that in connection with a case like Saddam Hussein," said Mr. Clark, responding to his critics. "But the main meaning is that truth is hard to find. You don’t really know, you have to search for it—you have to inquire diligently, be very skeptical."

You may reach Lizzy Ratner via email at: lratner@observer.com.

This column ran on page 1 in the 1/10/2005 edition of The New York Observer.


October 19th, 2005, 07:27 AM
Remember the guy in the hole?

October 19, 2005

Hussein Goes on Trial for Crimes Against Humanity

By EDWARD WONG (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=EDWARD WONG&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=EDWARD WONG&inline=nyt-per) and JOHN F. BURNS (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=JOHN F. BURNS&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=JOHN F. BURNS&inline=nyt-per)

BAGHDAD, Iraq (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/iraq/index.html?inline=nyt-geo), Oct. 19 - Saddam Hussein (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/h/saddam_hussein/index.html?inline=nyt-per) defiantly faced a panel of Iraqi judges this morning in a heavily guarded courthouse in central Baghdad, answering charges for a 1982 massacre and beginning the long process of public reckoning for the decades of brutal repression that Mr. Hussein brought to Iraq.

A live-television feed that began around 12:45 p.m. showed a silver-haired judge in black robes reading aloud the names of Mr. Hussein and seven other defendants. The judge sat upright in a black leathered chair with a white marble wall in the background. The area where the defendants sat, most of them wearing light-blue or white robes, was surrounded by barriers of white metal bars.

Escorted by guards in body armor, Mr. Hussein shuffled quietly into the courtroom wearing a dark gray suit and white shirt, his eyes moist and his hair neatly combed back. He sat in the first row facing the judge and next to the balding, white-robed Awad Hamad al-Bandar, the former head of the Revolutionary Court.

The judge asked Mr. Hussein to take the stand first. Mr. Hussein got up from his chair and walked to the podium holding a thick hardcover copy of the Koran.

"By the name of God," he said, beginning to recite a holy verse. The judge asked Mr. Hussein to say his full name. The exchange abruptly turned combative, with Mr. Hussein refusing to obey and instead launching into short criticisms of the immediate restrictions on him, such as an order preventing his lawyers from bringing pens and paper into the courtroom.

"Are you judges?" Mr. Hussein asked at one point. A minute or so later, he said: "I've been wearing my best clothes and waiting for the court since 9 a.m."

The judge persisted: "Give us your full name."

"You know me, because you are an Iraqi," Mr. Hussein said, adding, "I don't recognize the parties that appointed you to this court."

"So you won't give us your name?" the judge said. "Sit down."

The first case being brought against the former Iraqi leader centers around the execution of more than 140 men and teenage boys from the mostly Shiite market town of Dujail, 35 miles north of Baghdad. The victims were seized by secret police after a failed assassination attempt on Mr. Hussein there in 1982. This morning, images on one Iraqi television network showed residents of Dujail calling for Mr. Hussein's execution.

Meanwhile, in Mr. Hussein's home town of Tikrit crowds gathered to show support for their former leader, chanting slogans such as: "You are still the son of Iraq." They appeared to be in a frenzy, waving Iraqi flags and photos of Mr. Hussein. Iraqi police, wearing blue uniforms and carrying Kalashnikovs, walked through the crowds but did not appear anxious to break up the demonstration.

This morning, officials from the Iraqi special tribunal, most middle-aged men in dark suits, had gathered near the convention center inside the fortified Green Zone to await transport to the courthouse as American helicopters swooped overhead in a wan sky. Accompanying the officials were human rights observers from international organizations. The Iraqi officials included Raad Juhi, the judge who has been leading the investigations into Mr. Hussein.

A frantic surge of activity had taken place in the 24 hours leading up to the trial opening, as officials and technicians scrambled to set up the television link to the courtroom, housed in the former Baath Party headquarters. The tribunal had delayed making a decision on providing a live broadcast until the very last minute, reportedly out of concern for jeopardizing the safety of witnesses, tribunal officials and others who would be in the courtroom and would presumably have their faces shown on television. The television feed was set up with a 20-minute delay so officials can censure any sensitive images or testimony.

Though the case against Mr. Hussein is relatively narrow, it is the first in a series meant to serve as a public accounting for all the acts of murder and torture that took place under his rule. He first became a senior member of government following the Baath Party coup of 1968, then seized full power and went on to construct one of the most thoroughly autocratic regimes of the late 20th century. Mr. Hussein was not toppled from power until the American-led invasion in the spring of 2003, which sent him fleeing from his marble-lined palaces in Baghdad to the palm groves and villages of the north.

In December that year, American troops dragged an emaciated Mr. Hussein from a spider hole near Tikrit in the northern Sunni triangle, catalyzing the events that would lead the trial today.

Even as this trial began, investigative judges in the Iraqi special tribunal were working to conclude their research in more far-reaching cases that would reflect, to a much greater degree, the horrors of Mr. Hussein's rule. These include the Anfal campaign against the Kurds in the late 1980's, which resulted in the deaths of at least 80,000 people, and the suppression of the 1991 Shiite revolt, in which more than 100,000 people were killed in a three-week frenzy of bloodletting. In all, Mr. Hussein could face charges for the killings of more than 300,000 people, mostly Shiites and Kurds.

That figure does not include the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who lost their lives in the disastrous eight-year war against Iran (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/iran/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) and the ill-fated invasion of Kuwait (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/kuwait/index.html?inline=nyt-geo).

The tribunal, working under the advisement of Americans in what is known as the Regime Crimes Liaison Office, first announced the Dujail case early this year, though it did not make any mention of Mr. Hussein being among the defendants. Mr. Hussein was only added to the list over the summer, a move that came about because the current embattled Shiite-run government, under the watch of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, pressed the tribunal, nominally independent, to ensure the speedy appearance of Mr. Hussein in the courtroom.

That has opened the tribunal up to intense criticism from Western human rights groups, who accuse the judges of being political pawns and of flouting international standards of fair justice. Few legal organizations outside of Iraq and the United States (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/unitedstates/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) accept the trial as anything more than a display of "victor's justice." Both Human Rights Watch and the International Center for Transitional Justice, respected groups based in New York, issued statements this month condemning the shoddy research and shaky legal framework that form the backbone of the trial, apparently pieced together for expediency's sake.

Much of the international criticism also centers around the fact that Mr. Hussein and his aides could be sentenced to death for their crimes. The first American viceroy to Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/l_paul_iii_bremer/index.html?inline=nyt-per), banned executions. Last year, following the transfer of sovereignty, Ayad Allawi, the American appointee as interim prime minister and an ex-operative for the Central Intelligence Agency, reinstated capital punishment.

Under the current law, the president of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, a former Kurdish militia leader, has to approve any executions. In the past, Mr. Talabani joined a group of international lawyers in denouncing the death penalty, but has recently allowed his deputies to sign warrants of execution. Several cases involving the death sentence are working their way now through the Iraqi legal system, and Mr. Talabani recently said that "Saddam should be executed 20 times" for the Anfal massacres.

The other defendants expected to take the stand today include Barzan al-Tikriti, Mr. Hussein's half-brother and a former intelligence chief; Taha Yasin Ramadan, former deputy prime minister and later vice president; and Awad Hamad Al-Bandar, former chief judge of the Revolutionary Court. All three men are known to Iraqis as being among the most ruthless members of the old regime. Each is accused of playing a decisive role in the Dujail massacre.

The American government has tried to portray itself as working in a purely advisory capacity, but has been at the forefront of several crucial elements of the trial. For one thing, it has provided $138 million to build, over a the course of a year, the state-of-the-art courthouse that sits at the heart of the fortified Green Zone, which also contains the American embassy and the headquarters of the Iraqi government. Members of the Regime Crimes Liaison Office, attached to the embassy, have thoroughly aided the investigatory process, including overseeing excavations of mass graves.

The Dujail killings began after a small group of villagers attacked a convoy carrying Mr. Hussein on July 8, 1982. Mr. Hussein was flown by helicopter from the area right after the assault. Members of the intelligence services, overseen by Mr. Tikriti at the time, then descended on the village and began rounding up men. Within days, hundreds had been arrested and as many as 15 were executed immediately, with more deaths to follow.

In the end, up to 1,500 people spent years in prison with no trials or charges brought against them, many moved scattered to remote detention centers around the country. A committee formed by Mr. Ramadan razed the date palm plantations and fruit groves surrounding Dujail, destroying the livelihoods of the residents. Last winter, two local Baath Party officials were arrested in connection with the case and also forced to face the same charges as Mr. Hussein.

On Tuesday, an Internet posting in the name of the Baath Party appeared on a Web site that often carries pro-insurgent messages. The posting condemned the trial as illegitimate and said Mr. Hussein will take the opportunity to judge the Americans and their allies.

"The dear leader Saddam Hussein Al-Majeed will stand on the 19th of this month with glory, truth, and defiance, as a struggling leader and a jihadist resistor, and as a patriotic Iraqi and an Arab nationalist," the message said. "He will stand as a representative of all dignified Iraqis and free Arabs, and of honest humanity. He will prosecute, expose and convict American imperialism and the vicious Zionist coalition."

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

October 19th, 2005, 10:35 AM
Who killed more Iraqis Bush or Saddam?

October 19th, 2005, 11:09 AM
It depends on what you classify Kurds as.

And I do not mean cheese here BR!!!!

October 19th, 2005, 11:31 AM
Saddam wins going away.

Iraq's own estimate of their losses in the Iraq-Iran war: 500,000
Iran has put their losses at 300,000.

During Saddam's regime, 200,000 Iraqis had simply disappeared.

The Gulf War: Saddam said 100,000, but probably much less than that.

I don't blame him for enjoying himself at his trial. The scumbag will surely hang.

October 20th, 2005, 07:25 AM
October 20, 2005
Tyrant or Fallen Hero?

Iraqis Watch the Trial on TV, With Emotions Running High

By EDWARD WONG (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=EDWARD WONG&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=EDWARD WONG&inline=nyt-per)

BAGHDAD, Iraq (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/iraq/index.html?inline=nyt-geo), Oct. 19 - From the very start of the trial, from the moment Saddam Hussein (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/h/saddam_hussein/index.html?inline=nyt-per) refused to tell the judge his name, Hiba Raad said she knew that she was watching the same man who had ruled over
Iraq for decades with muscular authority.

"He's a hero, he's a tough leader," Ms. Raad, 20, an education student at Mustansiriya Univerisity, said as she reclined in black pants and a T-shirt on a sofa in her living room. "If he came back, I'm sure he'd provide us with security."

In her home in the Sunni Arab neighborhood of Adhamiya, Ms. Raad had just finished watching the opening session of the trial on an Arab network with her parents and sister. They continued staring, transfixed. The grandmother, Samira alBayati, shuffled into the room.

"I felt sorry," she said. "I almost cried. Every country in the world has terrorism. All the presidents of this region torture their people. Why, of all the countries, do they come after us?"

So went some of the talk on Wednesday afternoon as millions of Iraqis spent hours gazing at the stern, wrinkled visage of the leader they once feared, loathed and lionized. It was nothing less than a national spectacle.

Viewpoints varied widely, some calling it a tawdry display of victor's justice, others a long-awaited, if somewhat unsatisfactory, accounting for sins too numerous to list.

The opinions generally divided along ethnic and sectarian lines, with many Sunni Arabs expressing some sympathy for Mr. Hussein, one of their own, and long-persecuted Shiites and Kurds barely containing their hatred. Everyone, though, seemed to take notice of Mr. Hussein's fierce disposition and his unwillingness to bend to his captors.

In Tikrit, his hometown, scores of protesters waved Iraqi flags and photos of Mr. Hussein, chanting, "You're still the son of Iraq."

In Baghdad, in the Shiite slum Sadr City, crowds called for a swift, though preferably painful, execution.

"This is divine justice," said Shakir Majeed, 38, an appliance repairman fiddling with an electric generator in his shop to keep the television going. "The proper sentence for him is execution, but this method of trying him is not encouraging. His crimes are many, and the court shouldn't spend time hearing him out. The court should judge him at the first session without listening to his defense."

Mr. Majeed added, " We'd like him to be tried the same way he tried his victims."

Mr. Hussein's display of unalloyed confidence, the willpower that may have propelled him to the ranks of the modern world's most feared dictators, disturbed many people.

"The judge dealt with Saddam as a regular man, not as a criminal," said Akil Jawad, 20, a tailor in Sadr City trying to mend a shirt with a sewing machine while watching the trial. "We suffered a lot under him. And I don't feel optimistic about the trial, because Saddam smiles a lot and feels confident in his answers."

Ali Abbas, an air conditioner repairman, also in Sadr City, suggested bypassing the trial.

"There's no need for Saddam to be judged, because he's been indicted already," Mr. Abbas, 28, said. "We don't want him to be executed. I'd rather that he be beaten by shoes. Execution would be mercy for him."

To be flailed with the soles of shoes is one of the ultimate humiliations in the Arab world. Many Iraqis hoped to see Mr. Hussein suffer such disgrace. But they came away disappointed - Mr. Hussein remained defiant until the very end of the session, when he scuffled with a guard.

"It's a historical farce, not a historical trial," said Furad Saadadeen, 35, a resident of the embattled northern city of Mosul. "Saddam doesn't deserve anything but execution - and his government, too."

Elsewhere in Mosul, a city where the insurgency has strong support, some rationalized the killings during Mr. Hussein's rule. As for the mass executions in the Shiite village of Dujail, for which Mr. Hussein is being tried, some residents argued, hadn't the people there tried to assassinate Mr. Hussein? In the case of Halabja, where 5,000 Kurds were killed by chemical weapons, wasn't he protecting Iraq from an unholy Iranian-Kurdish alliance?

"Saddam doesn't deserve all this," said Ahmad Muhammad, 31, a taxi driver. "In Halabja there was an entire Iranian army inside our land, and who helped them enter? The traitors. What should he have done other than kill the traitors and our enemies?"

The same support could be found in the deserts of western Iraq, the rebel heartland, and even on the streets of Mansour, an upscale neighborhood in western Baghdad.

"I watched some of the trial and I was upset, because his rule was better than what we have today," Qusay Muhammad, 24, said as he sold tea from a sidewalk booth. "I don't mean to say I love Saddam. I'm just making a comparison between the old regime and the government today."

In the south, dominated by Shiites, the attitude was markedly different. Mr. Hussein's forces swept through that region in 1991 and killed at least 100,000 Shiites at the end of the Persian Gulf war. That, along with the mass killings of Kurds in the late 1980's, is likely to form the basis for the next set of charges brought against Mr. Hussein.

"I had four sons executed by Saddam," said a 64-year-old woman in the Shiite holy city of Karbala who gave her name as Umm Mahdi. "When he's executed I'll finally hold their funerals."

Reporting for this article was contributed by Khalid Hassan, Khalid alAnsary and Sahar Najib from Baghdad and by Iraqi employees of The New York Times, whose names are withheld for security reasons, from Mosul and Karbala.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

November 28th, 2005, 06:06 PM
Saddam's character traits flash up in court

Mon Nov 28, 2005 1:37 PM ET

By Michael Georgy

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Saddam Hussein shuffles into court. His voice, one that once struck fear into Iraqis, is weaker. But the hard-edged character that raised him from street fighter to president was still very much on display.

After showing up eight minutes late to court, and having walked past aides who stood up to show their loyalty, Saddam raised his head and almost insolently announced the Muslim greeting: "Peace be to the people of peace".

And then, moments later, he moved to take control of the proceedings, launching a tirade against the chief judge because his guards had handcuffed him and taken his pencil and paper.

The former president raised his voice. He was stern. Television footage of the proceedings broke away from the outbursts of a man well known for keeping his enemies guessing.

"I will tell the police about this," chief Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin told him in his cool, measured tone, the same he used to counteract Saddam's challenge on the first court day.

But Saddam, whose name literally means "one who confronts" in Arabic, was not to be satisfied.

"I don't want you to tell them, I want you to order them," the 68-year-old told the judge forcefully. "They are invaders and occupiers and you have to order them."

Unlike his seven co-defendants, several of whom were dressed in traditional Arab robes and looked at times confused by the proceedings, Saddam appeared in a white shirt, dark jacket and carrying a Koran. He was composed and seemed self-assured.

Clerks appeared to avoid making direct eye contact with him as he sat in the front dock, inside a chest-high white steel pen, facing the five-judge panel on a raised dias.

Saddam and his co-accused are charged with crimes against humanity in the deaths of 148 men from the town of Dujail, north of Baghdad, after an attempt to kill him in 1982.

All defendants have pleaded not guilty. They could face death by
hanging if convicted.


Saddam may be fighting for his life but he seemed unfazed by evidence presented against him and his co-accused, some of whom were regarded as among the most ruthless officials in Iraq.

Grainy sepia-colored video footage shot by a cameraman of Saddam's in July 1982, on the day the assassination attempt occurred in Dujail, was shown to the court.

Saddam seemed captivated by a clip showing him questioning terrified Iraqis in Dujail on the day of the assassination attempt. He stared at a small screen beside him which played footage of him more than 23 years ago several times.

In the tape, Saddam can be heard telling aides to "take them away separately and interrogate them", instructions that any Iraqi would dread hearing.

More than two decades on, it seemed as if he was trying to hold on to that unquestioned authority, showing the trademark defiance that led to his overthrow by U.S.-led troops in 2003.

Although his Baath party was socialist and secular, he wanted to project an image of a religious leader, carrying a Koran and intoning Koranic verses before addressing the court.

It's an image he took on in the 1990s after his invasion of Kuwait prompted crippling United Nations sanctions and frequent standoffs with the United States. In an effort to appeal to the Islamists in his own country, Saddam adopted religion.

Sitting in a fortified courthouse with a heavy American presence that once served as the regional headquarters of the Baath party, he criticized the judge for not reading his memos.

"I stayed up until 4:30 in the morning writing them."
He seemed at once furious and oblivious to what he called the "occupiers" running the court.

After his anger eased, he stood up during a recess with a big smile at his co-accused. And as the judge spoke at one point, he shook his head from side to side slowly and dismissively, seeming to smile to himself at the absurdity.

© Reuters 2005. All rights reserved. world.

It's amazing that after thousands of years of recorded history, we still have lunatics running countries.

Oh, and dimwits too.

December 4th, 2005, 10:26 AM
Plot to Rocket Saddam Trial Uncovered

A Sunni Arab insurgent group was plotting to attack the trial of Saddam Hussein when it resumed Monday, Iraq's national security adviser said Sunday.

The statement by national security adviser Mouwaffak al-Rubaie's office said the 1920 Revolution Brigades planned to fire rockets at the court building during Monday's session. Iraqi intelligence uncovered the plot, but the statement did not say whether anyone had been arrested.

Saddam and seven co-defendants are on trial for the 1982 killing of more than 140 Shiite Muslims in the town of Dujail following an assassination attempt against him there. The defendants face the death penalty if convicted.

The trial resumed Nov. 28, with a combative Saddam lashing out at his treatment by American "occupiers and invaders" and lecturing the chief judge about leadership.

It then adjourned until Monday, only 10 days before the country's parliamentary elections, to give the defense time to replace lawyers who have been assassinated since the trial opened Oct. 19.

The slow pace of the proceedings has angered many Iraqis — especially majority Shiites — who believe Saddam should have already been punished for his alleged crimes. Shiites and Kurds were heavily oppressed by Saddam's Sunni Arab-dominated regime.

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who has joined Saddam's defense team as an advisor, said he and other international lawyers will meet the former leader later in the day to set out a defense strategy.

Clark left Amman, Jordan, for Baghdad early Sunday with Jordanian lawyer Issam Ghazawi and ex-Qatari Justice Minister Najib al-Nueimi. The three are advising Saddam's lead Iraqi lawyer, Khalil Dulaimi.

The meeting with Saddam would be the second in six days.

"It will be our first real meeting where we'll have the chance to discuss the trial," Clark told AP Television News before flying to Baghdad.

"He's being held in total isolation, not seeing any member of his family, any friend, anybody he knew before.

"When we first met him a week ago, Monday, it was very short. It was a social meeting, because he hadn't seen anybody for a long time; you don't feel like talking business.

"So, hopefully we'll have the first opportunity to discuss the charges and the case and how the defense should proceed."

Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

December 4th, 2005, 11:38 AM
A Sunni Arab insurgent group was plotting to attack the trial of Saddam Hussein when it resumed Monday, Iraq's national security adviser said Sunday.

The statement by national security adviser Mouwaffak al-Rubaie's office said the 1920 Revolution Brigades planned to fire rockets at the court building during Monday's session.

...The defendants face the death penalty if convicted.

Swift Justice?? Never mind the "collateral damage":

Fighting a guerrilla war is "messy and slow, like eating soup with a knife."

T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Widsom

September 19th, 2006, 04:16 PM
Judge in Saddam's Genocide Trial Ousted


breitbart.com (http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/09/19/D8K826HG0.html)
Associated Press
Sep 19, 2006

The chief judge in Saddam Hussein's genocide trial has been replaced, Al-Iraqiya state television reported Tuesday. The station did not say why the change was made, but the Arab satellite stations Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera said Judge Abdullah al-Amiri was replaced at the request of the Iraqi prime minister (http://search.breitbart.com/q?s=%22Iraqi+prime+minister%22&sid=breitbart.com).

The name of the new judge was not reported. There was no immediate official confirmation that the judge had been replaced.

Prosecutors had asked for al-Amiri to be replaced after he allowed Saddam to lash out at Kurdish witnesses. And last week, al-Amiri stirred further controversy when he told the former president that "you were not a dictator."

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press

September 19th, 2006, 04:31 PM
Why is this taking so long?

September 19th, 2006, 04:48 PM
Death threats take a while to get to who they are addressed to these days.

October 16th, 2006, 09:07 AM
Saddam Verdict Is Expected on Nov. 5

apnews.myway.com (http://apnews.myway.com/article/20061016/D8KPMFNO1.html)
Oct 16, 2006

(NOTE: US Mid-term Elections will take place on November 7, 2006)

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A verdict against Saddam Hussein and seven co-defendants charged with crimes against humanity in connection with an anti-Shiite crackdown in the 1980s will be announced Nov. 5, a senior court official said on Monday.

Sentences for those found guilty will be issued the same day, chief investigating judge Raid Juhi told The Associated Press.

The former Iraqi leader could be hanged if convicted. However, he could appeal the sentence to a higher, nine-judge court. His co-defendants include his former deputy, Taha Yassin Ramadan, and his half-brother and former intelligence chief Barzan Ibrahim.

The trial began a year ago with the eight defendants facing charges arising from the deaths of nearly 150 Shiites from the town of Dujail after a 1982 assassination attempt against Saddam in the town north of Baghdad.

That trial adjourned July 27 to allow its five-judge panel to consider a verdict. The court was to have reconvened Monday to hear a verdict.

"The Dujail trial will resume Nov. 5 when the presiding judge will announce the verdict and the sentencing," Juhi said.

Saddam is the chief defendant in another trial, facing genocide charges in connection with a government crackdown in the 1980s against Iraqi Kurds. The prosecution alleges about 180,000 people died in that campaign.

Saddam, his cousin "Chemical" Ali al-Majid and five other co-defendants could face death by hanging if convicted.

Hearings in the second trial are to resume Tuesday.

© 2006 IAC Search & Media.

October 16th, 2006, 09:26 AM
Prediction: he will be convicted and will appeal. During the appeal, civil war will break out, causing a demoralized America to withdraw, along with its puppets. Saddam will be called upon to negotiate a peace. He will be the first president of a pacified Iraq. The terrorists will get the hell out of Dodge.

Miss India
October 16th, 2006, 01:13 PM
you guys will only be seeing me in this forum, by the way..... as for this topic, yea we hope to get osama, but i don't see it happening. osama is double the genius as saddam is and he is hiding quite well at the moment. the way i see it, is saddam wanted to get caught since he showed no resistance to the U.S. soldiers. it scared me when i heard this on the news that day especially looking at his "haggard" condition. it all seems too "good" and pleasing to george bush, and i'm looking to see what next is up the al qaeda's sleeves.
lol I have very mixed feelings on this topic.
It was great to see saddam captured, but seeing a smug look on Bush's face made me sick.

Miss India
October 16th, 2006, 01:19 PM
Prediction: he will be convicted and will appeal. During the appeal, civil war will break out, causing a demoralized America to withdraw, along with its puppets. Saddam will be called upon to negotiate a peace. He will be the first president of a pacified Iraq. The terrorists will get the hell out of Dodge.
I dissagree. See, I think Saddam is a puppet.

October 16th, 2006, 02:52 PM
I think Saddam is a puppet.
That's right, we'll help set him up --that is, the next U.S. President, a Democrat. Graceful exit, blame Bush.

I don't think we disagree; read between the lines.

October 17th, 2006, 09:40 PM
ablarc: got any good stock tips?

... we'll help set him up ...

Saddam backs end to sectarian killings

yahoo.com / ap (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061016/ap_on_re_mi_ea/saddam_trial)
Associated Press Writer
Mon Oct 16, 2006

Saddam Hussein issued an open letter Monday, saying Iraq's "liberation is at hand" and calling for an end to sectarian killings.

The brother of the prosecutor in his genocide trial was shot to death at home, the latest death linked to proceedings against the deposed leader.

Saddam said he was addressing Iraqis in a letter because "my chances to express my opinion are limited" while in detention. He faces genocide charges in the killings of thousands of Kurds during the Iran-Iraq war and is charged separately in an anti-Shiite crackdown in the 1980s.

"It was only a few times that I managed to address you through the farcical, so-called trial when the microphones were not switched off," Saddam said, acknowledging that he tries to use the trials for political propaganda.

"The hour of liberation is at hand, God willing, but remember that your near-term goal is confined to freeing your country from the forces of occupation and their followers and not be preoccupied with settling scores or deviate from your goal," Saddam said.

Imad al-Faroon, the brother of the chief prosecutor in the genocide trial, was shot to death in front of his wife at his Baghdad home and died immediately, Dr. Ali al-Lami, head of the government De-Baathification Committee, told The Associated Press.

Al-Faroon's death came less than three weeks after the brother-in-law of the judge in the genocide trial was fatally shot.

Al-Faroon's brother is Muqith al-Faroon, who is leading the prosecution of Saddam in the genocide trial. There was no immediate word from law enforcement authorities about the killing or who might have conducted the assassination.

His death adds to the troubles surrounding legal proceedings against Saddam, who could be hanged if convicted in either trial. During Saddam's first trial, three defense lawyers were killed, and in July, Saddam and three other defendants refused food to protest lack of security for lawyers and conduct of the trial.

The letter from Saddam, a text of which was obtained by the AP in Amman, Jordan, appeared designed to cast him in the role of a nationalist leader who could reconcile and rebuild a nation now beset by rising sectarian violence, an enduring insurgency and deepening economic woes. The letter also appears to reflect Saddam's belief that the tide may be turning against the Americans in Iraq and the Shiite-dominated government they support.

Raid Juhi, a chief investigating judge in the trial linked to the anti-Shiite crackdown, said a verdict against Saddam and seven co-defendants will be announced Nov. 5. He said sentences for those found guilty will be issued the same day.

Saddam's trial began a year ago with him and his co-defendants facing charges arising from the deaths of nearly 150 Shiites from the town of Dujail after a 1982 assassination attempt against Saddam in the town north of Baghdad.

Saddam's co-defendants include his former deputy, Taha Yassin Ramadan, and his half brother and former intelligence chief Barzan Ibrahim.

Saddam is the chief defendant in another trial, facing genocide charges in connection with a government crackdown in the 1980s against Iraqi Kurds.

The prosecution alleges about 180,000 people died in that campaign.

Saddam's chief lawyer in both cases, Khalil al-Dulaimi, said the former president dictated the letter to him during a four-hour meeting in a Baghdad detention facility Saturday. The meeting was also attended by other Saddam lawyers, including former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, he said.

Iraqis, said Saddam, were "living the most difficult period in history because of the occupation, killing, destruction and looting."

Echoing fears among some Iraqis over the breakup of the country, Saddam appealed for unity.

He called on Iraq's Sunni Arabs to forgive their enemies, including informants who aided U.S. forces hunt down and kill his two sons — Odai and Qussai, three year ago in the northern city of Mosul.

"When you achieve victory, remember you are God's soldiers and therefore, you must show genuine forgiveness and put aside revenge over the spilled blood of your sons and brothers, including the sons of Saddam Hussein," he wrote.

"I call on you to be forgiving rather than being rough with those who lost the right path."

Saddam remains popular among hardcore remnants of his now-disbanded Baath party and small pockets of the once-dominant Sunni Arab minority.

On Sunday, 35 Sunni Arab tribal leaders from the oil-rich city of Kirkuk called for Saddam's release in a meeting in which portraits of the former leader were hoisted along with banners declaring allegiance to him.

"The release of Saddam Hussein and his comrades will solve the Iraqi crisis," said Abdul-Rahman Monsheid al-Obeidi, one of the tribal chiefs who took part.

"It will ensure the success of the national reconciliation the government is talking about."

Iraq's Kurds say Kirkuk is Kurdish and want to annex it to their autonomous region in northern Iraq. The city's Turkomen and Arab communities reject that claim and a referendum is scheduled to be held next year to decide the fate of the city. Saddam settled thousands of Arabs in Kirkuk as part of what is known as his "Arabization" policy.

Associated Press reporters Jamal Halaby and Shafika Mattar in Amman, Jordan, and Yahiya Ahmed, in Kirkuk, Iraq, contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press.

Copyright © 2006 Yahoo! Inc.

October 17th, 2006, 10:06 PM
ablarc: got any good stock tips?

Saddam backs end to sectarian killings

I'm sorry but:



ok ok


He must be in far worse psychological health than I've thought. The man now has memory loss. lmao

October 17th, 2006, 10:32 PM
we'll see who's still standing 1 year from now ...

Kroy Wen
October 18th, 2006, 01:33 AM
Who doesn't long for the good ole days- when our military wasn't playing kindergarten marm to the populace of Iraq- toddlers with ied's, plotting in the sandbox for a raid on the cookies and kool-aid. The same kool-aid being chugged in the White House and Pentagon- the same cookies baking up stay the course batches on Fox News.

The Dow is nearly 12k, all is well......lol.....what? me worry?! Comon- it's far more important that those who started this war save face and retire rich with a warm economy than worrying about the future- afterall, once gay marriage is stomped out, everything will be fabulous!

Won't it? I can't wait........maybe we'll even have hajibs!

November 5th, 2006, 07:49 AM
November 5, 2006

Saddam Hussein Is Sentenced to Death


BAGHDAD, Nov. 5 - An Iraqi special tribunal today convicted Saddam Hussein of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to death by hanging for the brutal repression of a Shiite town in the 1980s.

As the verdict was read, Mr. Hussein shouted, "Long live the people! Long live the Arab nation! Down with the spies!" He then chanted "God is great." The chief judge, Raouf Rasheed Abdul Rahman, tried to calm Mr. Hussein down. "There’s no point," Mr. Rahman said.

The five-judge panel, which heard more than nine months of testimony in the case, also issued death sentences for two of his seven co-defendants: Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Mr. Hussein’s half-brother, who was head of Iraq’s domestic intelligence agency; and Awad al-Bandar, president of Mr. Hussein’s revolutionary court.

For many Iraqis, the verdicts represented a moment of triumph and catharsis after decades of suffering under Mr. Hussein’s tyrannical rule.

Spontaneous celebrations broke out across Iraq in spite of an around-the-clock curfew imposed on the capital and other regions. Pistols and assault rifles were fired into the air across the capital and elsewhere in a common gesture of celebration. People flooded the streets of Sadr City, a Shiite bastion of Baghdad, whooping and dancing and sounding car horns. Even some Shiite police officers joined in the celebratory gunfire.

"I feel happy," said a 31-year-old Shiite shop owner, who was smoking apple-flavored tobacco on the sidewalk in Karrada, an upscale neighborhood in central Baghdad. "I think he got his punishment. There was no Iraqi house that didn’t have damage because of Saddam Hussein." Men and boys played soccer in the streets of the neighborhood, which was largely tranquil.

But in some predominantly Sunni Arab areas, the mood was one of anger and resentment. Immediately following the verdicts, fighting broke out between gunmen and the Iraqi Army in the Sunni neighborhood of Adhamiya in northeastern Baghdad, according to an Interior Ministry official. American forces swarmed the district, however, suppressing the violence, the official reported.

Fighting also erupted between supporters of Mr. Hussein and American troops near Bayji, north of Tikrit, Mr. Hussein’s birthplace and a bastion of support for the Sunni-led insurgency, according to witnesses there.

Iraqi and American security forces had been bracing for a violent reaction among Mr. Hussein’s armed supporters, who constitute a significant corps within the insurgency. A ban on cars and pedestrians was imposed in the capital and other areas, Iraq’s security forces were put on high alert and an American fighter plane circled high above the city throughout the day today.

In a national televised address, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said his execution would not compare with "one drop of the blood" of the people who died opposing his rule. "The execution could partially appease the victims," he continued. "The martyrs of Iraq now have the right to smile."

In recent days, Mr. Maliki publicly expressed his hope that Mr. Hussein would receive the death sentence, saying it would help to dissipate the insurgency.

Today, Mr. Maliki said that with the Saddam Hussein “era” now past, the door was “wide open for all to participate in the political process through reconciliation, which has been endorsed by the Iraqi people,” according to translation provided by CNN during the broadcast.

The American ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, hailed the verdicts as "an important milestone in the building of a free society" in Iraq.

"Although the Iraqis may face difficult days in the coming weeks, closing the book on Saddam and his regime is an opportunity to unite and build a better future," he said in a written statement.

Under Iraqi law, death sentences automatically trigger an appeal to the appellate chamber of the trial court, so any executions would likely be subject to a delay of at least several months and possibly as much as a year.

Furthermore, Mr. Hussein, along with six other defendants, is also being tried in a separate case in which they face charges of killing at least 50,000 people in the so-called Anfal military campaign in 1987 and 1988 in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. Prosecutors are preparing numerous other cases against Mr. Hussein, and the tribunal may decide to try him on some or all of the additional charges if it wants to create a full record of the former leader’s crimes.

The long-awaited verdicts today came nearly three years after Mr. Hussein was hauled from an underground hideaway by American troops, and more than a year after he and his seven co-defendants first appeared in an Iraqi court to face charges of orchestrating what the prosecution called a "widespread and systematic persecution" of the townspeople of Dujail, 35 miles north of Baghdad.

The case centered on the execution of 148 men and boys from the town after an alleged assassination attempt against Mr. Hussein by men firing from a nearby orchard on July 8, 1982. Mr. Hussein’s lawyers contended at the trial that the would-be assassins were Iranian-backed Shiite militants, and that he was justified in ordering the crackdown on the town because Iraq was at war with Iran at the time.

Taha Yassin Ramadan, a former vice president under Mr. Hussein and the leader of the Popular Army, a Baath Party militia at the time of the Dujail events, was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in the crimes. Three local Baath Party officials -- Abdullah Kadhim Ruweid, his son Mizher Abdullah Ruweid and Ali Dayeh Ali -- were sentenced to 22 years of prison for murder and torture. Another defendant and minor Baath party official, Mohammed Azawi Ali, was acquitted.

Mr. Hussein was led into the courtroom at about noon wearing his customary trial attire: a charcoal-colored suit and open-necked white shirt. He began shouting almost immediately.

"I’ll listen to the judgment but I won’t stand up," Mr. Hussein declared. The judge ordered him to stand up and sent court marshals into the defendants’ dock to force him to his feet.

After the verdict was completed, he told the judge: "To hell with you." The marshals, pulling the former leader by his elbows, led him from the court.

The trial was marked by delays, violence and courtroom histrionics.

Mr. Hussein demonstrated a formidable reluctance to acquiesce to the will or conventions of the tribunal, frequently erupting into tirades in court, issuing written denunciations of the tribunal as an American-orchestrated farce and staging hunger strikes in his cell in an American military detention center near Baghdad International Airport.

During the course of the trial, three defense lawyers were killed by gunmen and the original chief judge resigned in protest over governmental interference.

International legal experts and human rights observers have questioned the impartiality of the trial court, which was created to try top leaders of the ousted government during the 15-month period of formal American occupation following the invasion in the spring of 2003.

"We saw this trial, along with the others, as an opportunity to bring justice to those Iraqis who had suffered horribly under Baath Party rule," Richard Dicker, director of the international justice program at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement today. "Unfortunately, we believe the serious shortcomings in the fairness of the proceedings undermined the legitimacy and credibility of the trial."

Mr. Dicker said the proceedings were marred by "some disturbing court practices," including, he said, the court’s failure to deliver documents to the defense in a timely manner; public criticism by government minister of the first presiding judge, Rizgar Amin, who resigned in protest in January 2006; and the failure of Mr. Amin’s replacement, Mr. Rahman, "to demonstrate proper judicial demeanor in his management of the proceedings."

Many Sunni Arabs today criticized the verdicts as the product of a political charade designed to satisfy the political agendas of the Shiite-led Iraqi government and the Bush Administration.

And even among Mr. Hussein’s detractors and enemies, the euphoria that greeted the verdicts was not unequivocal. A 70-year-old Shiite woman from the Palestine Street neighborhood of eastern Baghdad said the worsening security situation in Iraq robbed her of any feeling of celebration. "The happiness is gone because we are not comfortable now," she complained.

Anticipating civil unrest, authorities increased the police and military presence at checkpoints throughout the capital and other cities this weekend, and recalled all Iraqi troops and police officers from leave and put them on standby.

Mr. Hussein’s advocates, including his chief defense attorney, had warned that a guilty verdict for Mr. Hussein would trigger widespread attacks by his supporters, who constitute a corps of the Sunni Arab-led insurgency. On Saturday, the government imposed a curfew on all vehicles and pedestrians in Baghdad; in the provinces of Salahuddin and Diyala, bastions of the Sunni Arab insurgency; and in the cities of Mosul and Kirkuk.

Mr. Hussein’s chief defense counsel, Khalil al-Dulaimi, warned this week that if the former dictator were found guilty, “The doors of hell will open in Iraq, the sectarian divide in the country will deepen, and many more coffins will be sent back to America.”

But the curfew order appeared to be blatantly ignored in some areas with the tacit consent of Iraq’s security forces.

This morning, in spite of the curfew, thousands of people held a demonstration in support of Mr. Hussein in the streets of Dur, a town in the predominantly Sunni Arab province of Salahuddin, Mr. Hussein’s birthplace. They demanded the immediate release of Mr. Hussein and warned that a guilty verdict could have violent consequences. They carried photos of Mr. Hussein mounted on poster board and fired guns into the air.

Iraqi security forces were present but simply looked on, witnesses said.

Meanwhile, a demonstration of Mr. Hussein’s opponents took place in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, which was not placed under a curfew.

The American military announced today that an American soldier was killed Saturday afternoon when gunmen attacked a military patrol with small arms fire in western Baghdad. A marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 in Anbar province died Saturday from "non-hostile causes," the military said. At least 14 American troops have died in Iraq this month.

Khalid al-Ansary, John F. Burns, Sahar Nageeb and an Iraqi employee of The New York Times contributed reporting from Baghdad.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

December 9th, 2006, 01:06 PM
December 9, 2006

Iraqis Line Up to Put Hussein in the Noose


BAGHDAD, Dec. 8 — One of the most coveted jobs in Iraq does not yet exist: the executioner for Saddam Hussein. The death sentence against Mr. Hussein is still under review by an appeals court, but hundreds of people have already started lobbying the prime minister’s office for the position.

They have sent messages through cabinet officials and their assistants, and by way of government guards and clerical workers. One candidate, an Iraqi Shiite living in London whose brother was killed by Mr. Hussein, telephoned an aide to the prime minister to say he was prepared to drop everything and fly to Baghdad to execute the former ruler.

“One of the hardest tasks will be to determine who gets to be the hangman because so many people want revenge for the loss of their loved ones,” said Basam Ridha, an adviser to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.

Mr. Hussein and two of his top associates, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and Awad al-Bandar, were sentenced to “death by hanging” on Nov. 5 for their involvement in the arrest and killings of 148 men and boys after an assassination attempt against him in the town of Dujail in 1982. The nine-judge appeals bench has no time limit to issue its ruling, but if it upholds the death sentence, Mr. Hussein’s execution must be carried out within 30 days.

Iraqi judicial officials said they expected that the appeals process would be completed in a matter of weeks and, if the sentence is upheld, that Mr. Hussein’s hanging would take place between mid-January and mid-March.

The Shiite-led government has argued for a swift execution, saying that as long as Mr. Hussein is alive, he remains a powerful source of motivation for elements of the Sunni Arab insurgency fighting to restore him to power.

There are other critical issues the government will need to decide should the appeals court uphold the death sentence against Mr. Hussein, including where he will be executed.

Officials have considered staging a public hanging in Baghdad’s largest sports arena, Shaab Stadium, and filling the place with tens of thousands of spectators, according to a high-ranking government official involved in the executions process, who agreed to discuss the subject on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about it on the record.

But while such a spectacle might satisfy a communal need for closure, the authorities have rejected the idea for security reasons. A target that big, they say, would be highly vulnerable to attack by Sunni insurgents who might try to lob a few mortar shells into the crowd or ambush spectators on their way to and from the event.

Government hangings are now conducted in a prison complex in eastern Baghdad. Mr. Hussein, who is being held at Camp Cropper, an American military prison near Baghdad International Airport, could be transported to those gallows by helicopter. But officials worry that the trip would present an unnecessary opportunity for a rescue attempt by his sympathizers.

Most likely, officials say, Mr. Hussein will be hanged at gallows specially built for him at Camp Cropper.

The death penalty in Iraq, which applies to a range of crimes including terrorism and certain categories of murder, was suspended in 2003 by the American occupation authorities but reinstated in August 2004. Since then, 51 people — men and several women — have been hanged and about 170 are currently on death row awaiting execution or the outcome of their appeal, according to Hashim al-Shibli, Iraq’s justice minister.

Those are the official numbers. The high-ranking government official involved in the executions process said the actual number of hangings was far higher, though fewer than 100, because of three sets of hangings that took place between December 2005 and March 2006 and were never publicized.

Human rights groups have questioned the transparency of the criminal justice system in Iraq and the ability of defendants to get a fair trial. And the United Nations has requested that the Iraqi government commute the sentences of all the prisoners on Iraq’s death row. But Iraqi leaders have rebuffed calls for the abolishment of the death penalty, arguing that it serves as a deterrent to crimes.

“Maliki wants to show decisiveness that people should be punished,” said Mr. Ridha, Mr. Maliki’s adviser. “He is very anxious that these executions take place in a timely manner.” He added, “The number of executions that have taken place is not a great number compared to the number of insurgents in the country.”

The gallows are in a concrete building within a heavily guarded prison complex in eastern Baghdad, near the headquarters of the Interior Ministry. Two scaffolds made of steel sit side by side in an otherwise unadorned room, according to the high-ranking government official, who has attended hangings there. (The Justice Ministry and the Maliki administration denied requests to visit the prison and, citing security concerns, refused to give the precise location of the site.)

The government prefers to conduct several hangings in a day for the sake of efficiency. Men condemned to death are held on Iraq’s death row — a wing of rudimentary cells, separated from other inmates in the prison compound. Condemned women are held at a women’s prison in Khadamiya, a neighborhood in northern Baghdad.

The prisoners are told they will be hanged on the morning of their executions, officials said. They are led out of their cells in single file, dressed in orange jumpsuits, their ankles and wrists manacled, and taken to a room off the gallows chambers, where they are allowed to sit on floor cushions. There, they are permitted to pray. They can eat a last meal if they request it, or smoke a cigarette. They are given an opportunity to compose a last will and testament. Then, two by two and hooded, they are taken to the gallows.

The victims are led up a set of steel stairs to a platform, about 15 feet above the ground, and nooses fashioned from one-and-a-quarter-inch-thick hemp ropes are slipped over their necks. The executioners are different each time, drawn from among employees of the Justice Ministry who volunteer for the job. Many have lost relatives or friends in insurgent attacks, officials said.

With a tug of two large levers, the steel trapdoors drop open and the victims fall through. The doors make a loud clanging sound as they slam against the apparatus, according to people who have witnessed hangings. The jarring noise echoes off the cold, unadorned concrete walls.

Death is supposed to come instantly — a doctor is on hand to certify it — and the bodies are removed to a cooler where they are held before being handed over to the victims’ families. The entire process is recorded by a photographer and a video cameraman and the images are stored in a government archive.

But the hangings have not always gone smoothly.

Until the new gallows were built, the Iraqi government used an apparatus and an old rope left over from Mr. Hussein’s government, said the high-ranking government official. The rope had become so elastic that it would sometimes take as much as eight minutes to kill the convicted person.

On Sept. 6, the Iraqi authorities planned to hang 27 people. On the 13th hanging, according to an official who was there, the rope snapped and the convicted man plummeted 15 feet through the trap door onto the concrete floor. “God saved me!” the man cried. “God is great! I did not deserve this!” For an hour, he lay on the ground praying and shouting while prison guards and the executioner debated whether this constituted divine intervention and, if so, whether the man’s life should be spared. Once a new rope was rigged, however, the man was forced up the stairs once again and successfully hanged. The incident was first reported in Time magazine of Nov. 20.

The executions are conducted in secrecy to avert insurgent attacks. On March 9, a government convoy carrying a representative from the administration of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari was ambushed on its way to the gallows. It was an unsuccessful effort to stop the representative from observing the day’s hangings, including the execution of Shukair Farid, a murderous former police officer whom the government had nicknamed “the butcher of Mosul.”

On another execution day, word leaked out and insurgents pelted the prison facility with mortar shells. The Iraqi subcontractors who built the new gallows, under the auspices of an American contractor, were forced to interrupt work several times because of threats by insurgents, officials said.

The current hanging procedures are an improvement over the methods used by Mr. Hussein, who conducted mass executions in a hangarlike building at Abu Ghraib prison. According to human rights groups, hundreds of prisoners were executed in a span of a few weeks in the 1990s to address prison overcrowding.

Mr. Hussein himself asked the court to execute him by firing squad, the method used for soldiers sentenced to death. He said it was his right because he was commander in chief of Iraq’s armed forces at the time of the events in Dujail. His request was denied.

The protocols for his hanging have not yet been determined, including who will get to attend, Maliki administration officials said. In a standard Iraqi hanging, the attendance is limited to representatives from the Justice Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the prime minister’s office, and a doctor. Mr. Shibli, the justice minister, said the convict’s lawyer was allowed to attend, as well as a member of the clergy of the victim’s choice, though in practice they rarely do.

The usual videographer and photographer will probably be on hand, as well, to record the hanging, officials said, and excerpts of the event may be shown later on national television. Mr. Ridha says the Iraqi people will want to see it.

Abdul Razzaq al-Saeidi contributed reporting.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

They could hold a lottery. Make it a TV special. That's when we'll know Western democracy has come to Iraq.

December 26th, 2006, 03:45 PM
Saddam Hussein to Be Hanged Within 30 Days After Appeal Denied

By Kim Chipman

Dec. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is set to be hanged within the next 30 days after losing a court appeal of his death sentence, an Iraqi judge said.

Iraq's highest appeals court today upheld the Nov. 5 ruling that found Hussein guilty of crimes against humanity, including premeditated murder, torture and forced deportation, chief judge Aref Shahin said in a news conference aired on the Cable News Network.

Hussein, 69, captured by U.S. forces three years ago, was tried for his role in the massacre of 148 Shiite Muslim villagers in the northern Iraqi village of Dujail following an attempt on his life there in 1982.

The ruling is an important milestone in Iraq's effort to ``replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law,'' White House Deputy Press Secretary Scott Stanzel said.

``Saddam Hussein has received due process and legal rights that he denied the Iraqi people for so long,'' Stanzel told reporters traveling with President George W. Bush to his ranch in Texas.

Hussein's lawyers called the ruling unconstitutional, according to CNN. Hussein himself hasn't commented about his lost appeal, the network said.

Hussein's execution isn't likely to significantly alter the sectarian bloodshed that's escalated in Iraq during the last several months, at least two U.S. analysts said.

``At the most it will be a rationale for violence that would have occurred anyhow,'' said Anthony Cordesman, a national security analyst at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies. ``This is something playing out long after events in Iraq moved far beyond Saddam Hussein. He's almost an artifact of Iraq's past now.''

While some insurgents may use Hussein's death as a ``pretext or rallying point,'' the execution probably won't mark ``a tipping point in the amount of violence,'' said Michael Scharf, a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Ohio who advised the Iraqi tribunal during the trial.

``There may be small spikes but that's it,'' Scharf said. ``Insurgents involved in ethnic or religious violence aren't doing it on his behalf anymore. Most of the people you talk to say Iraq would be better off if he was just gone.''

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has said Hussein should be hanged by the end of this year, CNN reported. Judge Shahin said today the sentence could be carried out at ``any time.''

Iraqi law stipulates that the sentence of death must be carried out regardless of any other continuing legal proceedings.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Chipman in Washington at kchipman@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: December 26, 2006 14:46 EST

December 26th, 2006, 10:44 PM
Iraqi law stipulates that the sentence of death must be carried out regardless of any other continuing legal proceedings.

Last Updated: December 26, 2006 14:46 EST

lmao, I wonder if that's a law that Saddam made, bet he never thought it would come back to bite him.

December 29th, 2006, 10:42 PM
I'm no fan of Saddam Hussein, but I don't support any death penalty.

George W. Bush is responsible for as many, if not more, innocent Iraqi deaths than Saddam Hussein. When do we try, convict and hang him?

December 29th, 2006, 10:56 PM
^Because Saddam was tried and hung by Iraqis so it's not up to you, you liberal American! :p:D

haha, j/k

December 29th, 2006, 11:23 PM
^Because Saddam was tried and hung by Iraqis so it's not up to you, you liberal American! :p:D

haha, j/k

Well, the crooks lost the House and Senate this past election. Georgie had best tread lightly and have mommy read him the Constitution before bed every night. Americans can try their leaders as well and treason is punishable by death. Now, I think lying and misleading the electorate in order to initiate an unjust war that results in the deaths of American troops who signed on to defend the country and Constitution is treasonous. I think killing innocent Iraqis and interfering in the internal affairs of their country constitutes war crimes.

We crazy liberals. What will we do next?:D

December 30th, 2006, 03:13 AM
Dictator Who Ruled Iraq With Violence Is Hanged for Crimes Against Humanity


BAGHDAD, Saturday, Dec. 30 — Saddam Hussein, the dictator who led Iraq through three decades of brutality, war and bombast before American forces chased him from his capital city and captured him in a filthy pit near his hometown, was hanged just before dawn Saturday during the morning call to prayer.

The final stages for Mr. Hussein, 69, came with terrible swiftness after he lost the appeal, five days ago, of his death sentence for the killings of 148 men and boys in the northern town of Dujail in 1982. He had received the sentence less than two months before from a special court set up to judge his reign as the almost unchallenged dictator of Iraq.

His execution at 6:10 a.m. was announced on state-run Iraqiya television. Witnesses said 14 Iraqi officials had attended the hanging, at the former military intelligence building in northern Baghdad, now part of an American base. Those in the room said that Mr. Hussein was dressed entirely in black and carrying a Koran and that he was compliant as the noose was draped around his neck.

“He just gave up,” said Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq’s national security adviser. “We were astonished. It was strange. He just gave up.”

He added: “Saddam Hussein is gone. All Iraqis will look to the future after the end of this era.”

At President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Tex., a White House spokesman, Scott Stanzel, said Mr. Bush had gone to bed before the execution took place and was not awakened. Mr. Bush had received a briefing from his national security adviser Friday afternoon, when he learned the execution would be carried out within hours, Mr. Stanzel said. Asked why Mr. Bush had gone to sleep before hearing the news, he said Mr. Bush “knew that it was going to happen.”

In a statement written in advance, Mr. Bush said Mr. Hussein “was executed after receiving a fair trial — the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime.”

“Saddam Hussein’s execution comes at the end of a difficult year for the Iraqi people and for our troops,” Mr. Bush said. “Bringing Saddam Hussein to justice will not end the violence in Iraq, but it is an important milestone on Iraq’s course to becoming a democracy that can govern, sustain and defend itself, and be an ally in the war on terror.”

There were conflicting accounts about whether two of Mr. Hussein’s co-defendants were also hanged. The Iraqi state television said the co-defendants, Mr. Hussein’s half-brother Barzan Ibrahim, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, were hanged after Mr. Hussein. But Mr. Rubaie could not confirm this.

Concerned that the execution could incite violence, United States forces were placed on stepped-up alert and Iraqi officials suggested that the daily curfews here might be extended throughout the weekend. Even as the executions appeared inevitable, many were skeptical or disbelieving that the noose could drop around Mr. Hussein’s neck so soon. One Western official said that some of the American legal advisers working on the case appeared stunned at the hasty pace of events late Friday as they walked through the corridors of the Republican Palace, once Mr. Hussein’s grandiose center of power.

When Mr. Hussein came to power three years before the Dujail killings, he ruled over an oil-rich country that was an economic and technical powerhouse in the Middle East with rising cultural and political influence. When he hurtled through the trap door of the gallows Saturday morning, the nation he left behind was a smashed and traumatized remnant, desperately trying to restore its own identity and its place in the world.

In between, Mr. Hussein invaded Iran and Kuwait in wars that cost over a million lives and left his military in a shambles, brutally suppressed a Shiite uprising in the south and saw his country become isolated and impoverished under the weight of United Nations-imposed sanctions. Finally, he was ousted by an American-led invasion force in 2003 and the country fell into a new round of internal violence as the rule of law disintegrated and the Western invaders proved unable to control a country in the aftermath of totalitarian rule.

Those developments, so unwelcome to the Americans who so easily conquered this nation, showed that Mr. Hussein was also a unifying force whose painful grip held together Iraq’s many ethnicities and sects. Now, three years after his fall, Iraq has descended further into chaos.

As Iraqis across the country were trying to process the scope of what had happened, early reactions mirrored the deep sectarian divide that has been driving much of that violence and threatens to pull the country apart.

“Today is the best day we have seen since the fall of Saddam’s regime,” said Ayad Jamal al-Deen, a moderate Shiite political leader. “The death of this man will help to release many Baathists from Saddam’s mafia. The violence will be reduced.”

But a Sunni tribal sheik expressed a thought typical of the hard-line Sunni minority, which has held tenaciously to the memory of being favored under Mr. Hussein.

“The execution of Saddam means that the flame of vengeance will be ignited and it will hurt the body of Iraq with unrecoverable wound,” the sheik said.

Mr. Hussein, in handcuffs, was given to the Iraqis by American troops. The Iraqis led him from his cell to a judge’s chamber and then to an execution room, a bare unadorned concrete room, according to a witness. It was only a few short steps up the gallows.

As the rope was placed around his neck, Mr. Hussein turned to Mr. Rubaie.

“He told me, don’t be afraid,” he recounted. “There was a conversation with him.”

He did not elaborate. He asked that his Koran be given to someone. Mr. Rubaie took note of the person’s name.

Iraqis have Mr. Hussein’s body but they have not agreed upon a place for burial.

As Mr. Hussein awaited the hangman, he was apparently unaware that the American military was already making plans to dispose of his personal effects.

Iraqi officials were vague to the end about when the execution would happen. “We will do it very soon,” said Munir Haddad, a judge on the Iraqi High Tribunal who represented the body at the execution.

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki was still conferring with American officials late Friday night to work out the timing and resolve key details, like what to do with Mr. Hussein’s body, a Western official said.

But Mr. Maliki’s comments on Friday to the families of people who were killed while Mr. Hussein ruled left no doubt about where the prime minister stood on the time frame of the execution.

“Anyone who rejects the execution of Saddam is undermining the martyrs of Iraq and their dignity,” Mr. Maliki said. “Nobody can overrule the execution sentence issued against Saddam.”

Without specifying a time, date or place, he said, “There is no review or delay in implementing the execution verdict against Saddam.”

Esam al-Gazawi, another lawyer representing Mr. Hussein who is currently in Jordan, expressed the views of many by suggesting that the timing of the execution was determined by the highest levels of the American and Iraqi governments.

“No one knows when it’s going to happen except God and President Bush,” he said shortly before Mr. Hussein was executed.

Mr. Hussein spent his final hours in a dreary cell on an American base near the Baghdad airport, and there were indications that he was unaware that the end was drawing near.

Iraqi and American officials kept outsiders, including his legal team, from contacting him all day, according to Najib al-Nauimi, one of Mr. Hussein’s lawyers, who was in Qatar.

But the legal team received a request late Friday asking for formal requests from people who could receive Mr. Hussein’s effects, another of his lawyers said.

“I gave them a request that my colleagues and I are authorized to get Saddam’s personal stuff,” said the lawyer, Wadood Fawzi.

In Washington, a United States District Court rejected an emergency motion filed Friday afternoon by lawyers for Mr. Hussein seeking to halt the execution on the grounds that it would interfere with pending civil litigations against him. Judge Kathleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled shortly after 9 p.m. that her court did not have jurisdiction to intercede.

Mr. Hussein’s trial and conviction have been mostly welcomed by the Iraqi Shiites and Kurds who suffered under his rule, but it has angered Sunni Muslims, helped to fuel a Sunni-led insurgency and done nothing to calm the increasingly chaotic sectarian violence here.

Iraqi officials said the execution would be filmed, both for the historical record and as proof for those who may doubt the word of both the Americans and Iraqis.

As of late Friday, some Iraqi officials remained engaged in a heated debate about how swiftly to carry out Mr. Hussein’s death sentence.

An Iraqi official close to the negotiations expressed deep disappointment that, after years of forensic investigation, detailed litigation and careful deliberation, the process could be compromised in the final hours by politically driven haste.

“According to the law, no execution can be carried out during the holidays” said another official, “After all the hard work we have done, why would we break the law and ruin what we have built?”

The Muslim holiday of Id al-Adha begins Saturday for Sunnis and Sunday for Shiites, who now control the government.

Iraqi law seemed to indicate that executions were forbidden on the holiday.

But Judge Haddad was dismissive of those concerns, injecting some of the sectarian split that is pervading the country. “The official Id in Iraq is Sunday,” he said.

As for Mr. Hussein’s sect, he said, “Saddam is not Sunni. And he is not Shiite. He is not Muslim.”

Mr. Gazawi, the lawyer, said he was told that Mr. Hussein had met with two half-brothers, who are also in custody, but no other relatives.

“His sons are dead, and his daughters are here in Amman,” he said. Mr. Hussein’s two sons, Uday and Qusay, were killed by American soldiers after the 2003 invasion.

After his government collapsed, Mr. Hussein went into hiding and was eventually found in a hide-out near his hometown of Tikrit.

Once in custody, there were three cases brought against Mr. Hussein for crimes against humanity.

The first case to begin hearings, and the simplest in terms of details, involved the executions of residents of Dujail after an attack on his motorcade there. Mr. Hussein was found guilty on Nov. 5 and sentenced to die by hanging. An appeals court upheld the ruling on Tuesday and said the sentence had to be carried out within 30 days.

A trial on the far more sweeping charges that he directed the killing of 50,000 Kurds in an organized ethnic-cleansing campaign is still under way and will continue despite Mr. Hussein’s execution.

Reporting was contributed by Abdul Razzaq al-Saiedi and Khalid al-Ansary from Baghdad, Eric Lichtblau from Washington and Jeff Zeleny from Crawford, Tex.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

December 30th, 2006, 08:00 AM
So, Mr. Hussein found himself on the receiving end, for a change. I wonder how he liked THAT? Perhaps he knew, moments before that rope broke his neck, how those people he singled out for execution felt. I hope the guy was terrified out of his wits. Justice served.

December 30th, 2006, 08:17 AM
Perhaps he knew, moments before that rope broke his neck, how those people he singled out for execution felt. I hope the guy was terrified out of his wits. Justice served.

You are looking at Saddam's situation from the viewpoint of a sane American. More likely, during those last moments, the Koran-clutching, compliant Saddam was thinking something like this:

"I was the best ruler my country ever had. Now I am a martyr for my people. I think I could do more good by staying alive, but that is not Allah's wish. I will accept death and go to Heaven."

December 30th, 2006, 10:48 AM
Hard to know.

Maybe that's true in his present delusional ex-despot state of mind, but when he was a (relatively) rational active-despot, Saddam was very secular.

Gregory Tenenbaum
January 3rd, 2007, 11:02 AM
It was a sad event to witness (via the released video).

However I think that many will feel that the death penalty was justified in this matter, not that I understand Iraqi black letter law or jurisprudence for that matter.

The reason for this feeling of justice in this matter, at least for me, is that he was directly responsible for the mass killing of others without trial.

That was the issue that his trial related to - at least he got one. There is also the small matter of the war with Iran and the invasion of Kuwait which is a method of acquisition of land that he must have learned from studying his British colonial predecessors. But the rules have changed since Britain tried to do the same in Iraq.

I think that it would have been painful for him, even at his age to go that way. Pretty sad event really, but the right decision.

January 3rd, 2007, 12:33 PM
If our actions in the Middle East and in Iraq were based on the national interests of the USA, he was more valuable to us alive.

Killing him quickly (and before the other trial underway could be completed) spared the U.S. from any embarrassing statements by this guy about ther elationships with earlier administrations and, particularly, the people in Bush's inner circle.