The Trial of Saddam Hussein and The Fallout of The War

The Trial of Saddam Hussein


The fallout in the Middle East from the regime change in Iraq

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein executed

Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging at 03:00GMT today.

The world will not shed many tears for the end of the dictator's life. However, the world should note that the execution in this manner has eroded what little credibility there may have been in the actions of the US in bringing about Saddam's demise.

The following points should be borne in mind:
  • There were no WMD aimed at the West.

  • Saddam posed no immediate, or medium term, threat to the West.

  • The post "regime change" occupation of Iraq has been an unmitigated disaster.

  • Iraq is now on the precipice of a civil war.

  • The Middle East may well erupt into a civil war between Shias and Sunnis.

  • Saddam was still being tried for genocide against the Kurds. Where is the justice for them, or the victims of his other crimes, in executing him now?

  • The trial of Saddam was littered with irregularities and inconsistencies, to base the verdict on the outcome of a flawed trial is to send a signal to the world that justice does not count for much in the "new" Iraq.

  • The speed of the execution was to satisfy the US and current Iraq administration's political agenda.

  • A country that bases its future on a flawed legal system (as was demonstrated by the shambles of the trial) has no future.
Mission Accomplished!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Death Sentence Confirmed

The death sentence imposed on Saddam Hussein from his first trial, has been confirmed the other day.

Hardly surprising, since neither the ruling party in Iraq nor the current administration in Washington can afford to leave him alive. After all, he knows who supplied him with his money and weapons.

The execution, despite the fact that his current trial has not yet ended, is scheduled for within 30 days.

You never know, Iraq may still be in one piece when it is carried out, any longer and a unified Iraq would be highly unlikely.

Mission accomplished, as someone once said.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Video Evidence

Video evidence, showing Kurdish villagers dying from a chemical attack, was shown at yesterday's session of Saddam Hussein's trial.

The video were shot in April 1987 and May 1988, and shows attack helicopters flying low over the mountains as villagers scatter.

The video then showed the aftermath of the chemical attacks; bodies, including a baby.

The defence claims that the government was conducting a legitimate military operation against separatists, who threatened the government while Iraq was at war with Iran.

The trial continues.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Saddam Linked To Chemical Weapons

The court hosting Saddam Hussein's trial heard from the prosecution yesterday, which presented documents that showed that Saddam's government used banned chemical weapons in the counterinsurgency operation against Iraqi Kurds in the 80's.

The documents, suggest that Saddam's office was kept regularly informed on the effects and characteristics of chemical weapons and approved their use.

A letter dated March 25 1987 from former military intelligence director, Saber Douri, said that the targets "lie in lowlands", and thus would be suitable for using the chemical sarin and mustard gas weapons because the poisons would spread out and stay in place a long time.

The letter was addressed to Saddam's office, and recommended that 33% of the stock be used for the attack with the rest being saved "due to the limited number of special weapons".

Saddam claims that the targets were not Iraqis but agents of Iran.

Another letter showed that a chemical attack had been delayed until the snows thawed, when they would be more effective.

The trial continues.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Saddam's Soldiers Invited Back

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has asked for former members of Saddam Hussein's disbanded army to join Iraq's new security forces, in an effort to stabilise the country.

The former U.S. administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, idiotically and against advice from the UK dissolved the Iraqi army after Saddam's government fell.

Needless to say, many of the unemployed troops joined the insurgency.

Whether this eleventh hour appeal from the Prime Minister of Iraq is enough to save the country from all out civil war, remains to be seen.

Trial Resumes

The trial of Saddam Hussein and six codefendants on genocide charges against Iraq's Kurdish minority in 1980s resumed in Baghdad on Monday.

The chief prosecutor, Munqith al-Faroun, prsented documents from the Iraqi army and intelligence recommending the use of chemical weapons during the Operation Anfal (Spoils of War) as more effective approach to destroy the Kurdish guerrilla.

The trial continues.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bush Warned of Chaos

In previously suppressed documents, it has been revealed that Carne Ross, Britain's key negotiator at the UN, gave evidence stating that Tony Blair lied over Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

Ross's testimony makes clear that Blair would have known that Saddam Hussein possessed no weapons of mass destruction. He said that during his posting to the UN:

"at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests."

Ross also states that British officials warned US diplomats, that bringing down the Iraqi dictator would lead to chaos.


"I remember on several occasions the UK team stating this view in terms during our discussions with the US (who agreed).

At the same time, we would frequently argue when the US raised the subject, that 'regime change' was inadvisable, primarily on the grounds that Iraq would collapse into chaos

Unfortunately, the US is currently being governed by the worst president in living memory. Bush is not known for listening to opinions or facts that diverge from his own narrow "quasi religious" viewpoint.

The sooner this president is removed from office, the better.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A State of Denial

President Bush is in a state of denial over the Iraq fiasco. Bush has defended his decision to put off a change in Iraq policy until next month, and rejected some recommendations that he said would "lead to defeat".

The reality is, the US has lost the war in Iraq. All that remains to be done is to determine the least messy way of pulling out.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Swift Death, Secret Burial

Not wishing to prejudice the outcome of Saddam Hussein's appeal against the death penalty (note, I am being sarcastic!), an Iraqi official has said that if Saddam loses his appeal, he could face an immediate execution and possibly be buried in secret.

Seemingly Saddam and two of his co-defendants, Awad Hamed al-Bandar and Barzan al-Tikriti, may not spend years on death row as in the West.


"We will not waste time. We will look at the security situation and they will be executed immediately at the very first opportunity we get after the appeals chamber finalises the verdicts."

The official denied a very prejudicial statement by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki saying that the death sentence would be carried out by the end of the year, noting that the review by the high court will continue past December.

The fact that Saddam is still being tried for other crimes has apparently not entered the equation.

Is predetermined execution the norm of the new justice system in the new Iraq?

Is president Bush proud of the "new order" that he has "created" in Iraq?

Will Iraq still exist when sentence is passed?

"Mission Accomplished", Pah!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Saddam's Nephew Does a Runner

Ayman Sabawi, the son of Saddam's half brother Sabawi Ibrahim Hassan al-Tikriti, managed to escape from his prison 45 miles west of Mosul on Saturday afternoon.

He was aided and abetted by a police officer in making good his escape.

Sabawi was sentenced to life in prison for funding Iraq's insurgency and for bomb-making.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A New Approach?

Tony Blair and US President George Bush have said they will take a "new approach" to the war in Iraq in a joint press conference designed to show they still stand together on the issue.

The two leaders used the press conference to respond to the Iraq Study Group's blunt assessment of US failings and their vision of future policy.

"I believe we need a new approach," President Bush said one day after the scathing report was published.

Source ITV.

The trouble is, does anyone really believe that Bush is capable of changing his mind, or his approach, when it comes to Iraq?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Security Scare

The trial of Saddam Hussein resumed after a two hour delay today, as a result of a security scare.

A sniffer dog detected something at a security gate in the Green Zone, where the Saddam trial is being held.

The incident prevented the defence team from reaching the court on time.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

US Losing in Iraq

To view an excellent report on the testimony of Robert Gates before the Senate Armed Services Committee, visit US Losing.

The New Comedy

Saddam Hussein is back in court today, despite writing to the chief judge saying that he no longer wants to go to court.

Saddam's lawyers issued a handwritten statement yesterday, in which Saddam claimed that he had been repeatedly insulted by Judge al-Khalifa and the prosecutors.


"Therefore, I ask to be relieved of attending the hearings in this new comedy and you can do whatever you want."

It is not clear as to why he changed his mind.

Chief judge, Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, called a prosecution witness to the stand, reversing his Monday decision that the court would not hear more witnesses but instead review the evidence.

The farce continues.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Life Better Under Saddam

Outgoing UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has put the cat amongst the pigeons, by claiming that many Iraqis feel that life is even worse now than it was under Saddam Hussein.

During interview about Iraq with the BBC, Annan said:

"Given the level of violence, the level of killing and bitterness and the way that forces are arranged against each other, a few years ago, when we had the strife in Lebanon and other places, we called that a civil war; this is much worse."

Annan also said that many Iraqis must believe that life is even worse now, than it was under Saddam.


"If I were an average Iraqi obviously I would make the same comparison, that they had a dictator who was brutal but they had their streets, they could go out, their kids could go to school and come back home without a mother or father worrying, 'Am I going to see my child again?"

Iraq's Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, rejected the comments. His office said:

"Describing what is taking place in Iraq as a civil war beautifies the former regime which is known for its crimes against humanity."

Testimony Continues

The court holding the current trial of Saddam Hussein for killing 180,000 Kurds in 1988, heard testimony on Monday from a Kurdish witness who spoke about the shelling of his villages with chemical weapons.

The witness, a supervisor in the education ministry in Kurdistan, said that his mother, wife and daughters were killed in front of him.

He said that he lost 25 members of his family, who were living in houses close to each other in a village in Kurdistan.

Justice Mohammad Oraibi adjourned the session until Wednesday.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Saddam Appeals Death Sentence

Lawyers for Saddam Hussein yesterday formally appealed against his death sentence.

Saddam and two other senior members of his regime have been sentenced to hang for the killing of 148 Shiite Muslims, in retaliation for a 1982 attempt on his life in the town of Dujayl.

Under Iraqi law, a nine judge appellate panel automatically reviews all death sentences. However, the defence must submit detailed arguments within 30 days of sentence. In the event that the sentence is upheld, it must be carried out within 30 days.

The panel has no time limit to review the verdicts and sentences.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Forensics Evidence

The court conducting Saddam Hussein's trial heard from Michael Trimble (a US forensic expert) this week, about the mass graves from the Anfal campaign.

The graves contained the corpses of hundreds of Kurdish women and children.

Mr Trimble said that the victims had been killed in a "highly organised programme of execution".

Mr Trimble, who heads the Mass Graves Investigation Team, said that our of 301 bodies found, 183 were those of children (90% being under 13 years old).


"The captives were often bound and blindfolded. The captives were led into the grave and then executed with pistols or automatic assault rifle fire. The graves were then covered by those directing the execution."

The court was shown slides of a child whose legs were cut in half by a bullet. Another child had wounds to the front and back.

Mr Trimble said:

"It is very clear these people were twisting as they were getting shot at.

There is a terror that takes over as people try to get out of the way. It's a very common human response

Saddam Hussein responded by saying:

"Let me suggest the court consider what is said by the American expert but also call a new trial expert that has nothing to do with the enemy or the army of the enemy."

The trial will resume on Monday.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Defence Lawyer Ejected

Saddam Hussein's defence lawyer, Badie Arif Ezzat, was ejected from court yesterday in another chaotic shambles.

Chief judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa ejected him for "insulting the court".

Badie Arif Ezzat was ejected after he tried to object to the foreign experts that the prosecution has called in to testify over the past two days. When he referred to the prosecution and judges as "brother", rather than by their titles, the chief judge warned him to respect the court.

However, Ezzat repeated the phrase and al-Khalifa ordered him removed and detained for 24 hours for "insulting the court."

There then followed a brief shouting match between the two, as guards escorted Ezzat out of the room.

The farce of a trial continues.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Trial Resumes

Saddam Hussein's trial resumed yesterday.

The court heard from two US residents who described how they survived shooting.

Taimor Abdallah Rokhzai described how, nearly twenty years ago, he watched as his mother and sisters were shot to death.


"There was a trench. We were lined up. A soldier shot directly at us. I was hit on my shoulder."

Rokhzai now lives in Washington, said that during the shooting:

"I begged the soldier 'We are women and children. Why are you shooting us?'

I saw bullets hitting a woman's head and her brain coming out. I saw a pregnant woman shot and killed. It was horrible.

The shooting suddenly stopped. It was quiet. I was waiting to die. My whole body was covered with blood. The soldiers then went away. They were talking among themselves. I wanted to go to out from the trench. But a little girl asked me where I was going. I don't know her name but she was alive

Rokhzai said he passed many trenches filled with bodies.

He kept on walking and that night he saw a tent with a light, where he was offered shelter. He moved from village to village until 1991, when the Kurdish autonomous zone was established under the protection of US and British forces.

Yunis Haji, a former Kurdish guerrilla fighter who now lives in Virginia, described a separate incident involving trenches full of dead people.

"Handcuffed and blindfolded, we (Kurdish detainees) were loaded into vehicles and taken to a remote area and dragged out.

I was pushed into a trench and was told to sit there. Suddenly, I was hit in the back. I fell unconscious, and when I woke up again, I pulled myself out of the trench and started running

Chief judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa gave the defence team a further two days to submit a list of witnesses.

"You already had 20 days. I will give you two more days. No more and no less."

The trial continues today.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Saddam Knows Too Much

The Russian Liberal Democratic Party's deputy, Alexei Mitrofanov, believes that despite pleas to spare Saddam Hussein from the death sentence, he has no chances of dying from natural causes because he knows too much.


"Hussein is a clear and present danger to the U.S. Republican Party. Information indicating that Hussein had ties with that political force during the last century may come in handy for the Democrats during the upcoming presidential election in the U.S.

Besides, some members of the Bush family haven't yet held the post of U.S. president. Jeb Bush, George Bush's brother, may be running for president this time. Therefore, the Republicans will try to get rid of Saddam ASAP

Whilst it may be true that the Republicans would like to be rid of Saddam, it is also true that given the disaster of Iraq they would also like to be well rid of the Bush family too.

Jeb Bush has not a chance in hell of becoming the Presidential candidate for the Republcian party.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

US Trapped In Iraq

In a cruel twist of fate, it seems that the US is as much a prisoner in Iraq as Saddam Hussein is.

That at least is the view of outgoing head of the UN Kofi Annan, who said that the US is effectively "trapped" in Iraq, with the prospect of staying in the country as problematic as pulling out.


"The United States in a way is trapped in Iraq.

It cannot stay and it cannot leave. There are those who maintain that its presence is a problem and there are those who say that if it leaves precipitously, the situation will get worse

Now remind me again, who was it said "Mission Accomplished!"?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Trial Verdict Unsound

Human Rights Watch has driven another nail into the credibility of the "coffin" of Saddam Hussein's trial. They have stated that the trial was "fundamentally unfair", and that the death sentence he received earlier was "indefensible".

The damning indictment comes in the form of a 97 page review of the trial. In which they state that the trial:

"was marred by so many procedural and substantive flaws that the verdict is unsound."

The report calls upon the Iraqi tribunal to overturn the verdict, and its death sentence on Saddam.

Unsurprisingly the Iraqi government has rejected the report.

The report notes that the prosecution undermined several guarantees necessary to a fair trial under international law, including; the right to an independent and impartial court, the presumption of innocence, the ability to prepare a defence and the right to cross-examine witnesses.

Nehal Bhuta, a lawyer with the group's International Justice Program, in a statement accompanying the report said:

"Unless the Iraqi government allows experienced international judges and lawyers to participate directly, it's unlikely the court can fairly conduct other trials."

The report accuses the Iraqi leaders, including Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, of prejudicing the outcome of the trial by declaring Saddam guilty before the trial.


"While the trial of someone as notorious as Saddam Hussein will inevitably be accompanied by strong opinions and public discussion as to his guilt or otherwise, public authorities and in particular leading political figures are not relieved of their obligation to refrain from prejudicing the outcome of the trial.

In creating an environment in which judges feel intense pressure to be seen as dealing severely with the accused, such behavior undermines the guarantee of presumption of innocence at trial

To replace one unjust system (as under Saddam) with another is hardly progress, nor should it warrant the exaltation "Mission Accomplished!".

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Blair Admits Iraq a Disaster

Blair Admits Iraq a Disaster
Tony Blair admitted in an interview with David Frost, on Al-Jazeera's new English-language channel, that the invasion of Iraq was "a disaster".

No kidding!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Violence at Satanic Levels

General Michael Hayden, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has said that violence in Iraq has reached almost satanic levels, and is fearful that the Iraqi Government is not capable of bringing it under control.

General Hayden was speaking during an appearance before the Senate's Armed Services Committee in Washington.

General Hayden also said that the situation will get much worse if US troops start leaving the country.

The US is caught between a rock and a hard place on this issue, without any proespect of a painless solution.

Who was it said "Mission Accomplished"?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

US Denies Rift With UK

The White House has denied that there is a split between the administrations in London and Washington, as to the future policy on Iraq.

Tony Blair has called for Syria and Iran to help stabilise Iraq, this runs contra to the stated policy in Washington.

Blair also gave his views to the bipartisan US study group, reassessing Washington's policy in Iraq, via video link. He said that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with broad regional support, would pressure Damascus and Tehran to co-operate.

The Iraq Study Group is led by former Secretary of State James Baker, who believes that Washington should talk to its enemies.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dalai Lama Calls For Saddam To Be Spared

The Dalai Lama has asked for Saddam Hussein to be spared the death sentence. The Dalai Lama asked the Iraqi authorities to consider that the guilty should get a chance to reform.

In a statement, issued from his office in India, the Dalai Lama said:

"The death penalty, although fulfils a preventive function, is clearly a form of revenge.

However horrible the act committed, His Holiness believes that everyone has the potential to improve and correct themselves


"His Holiness hopes that in this case, as in all others, human life will be respected and spared."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Bush Starts Drinking Again

It is reported that President Bush has started drinking again:

"Rumours persist here (and I have heard them repeated at a very senior level in the UK, too) that Bush has actually resumed drinking; I throw this into the mix not to sensationalise, but because I have now heard the rumour repeated at a sufficiently high level that I believe we must face the possibility that it might be true.

Bush was huddled inside the White House eating beef and ice cream on election night with Rove, my friend Josh Bolten, and four other trusted aides who will stick with him to the end. He was not drinking on this occasion, I'm assured - but, more than ever, my depiction of an unstable man living out his final days in office inside his bunker seem no longer to be fanciful.

Hemmed in by Democratic foes wherever he looks, determined to be remembered in history as an unwaveringly strong leader, and increasingly detached from reality: now that suddenly becomes a very frightening vision indeed

Source: New Statesman

Saturday, November 11, 2006

What Goes Around, Comes Around

In an interesting reversal of fate, it appears that Donald Rumsfeld one of the men primarily responsible for the Iraq fiasco may face criminal abuse charges.

Rumsfeld, who was "resigned" as US defence secretary this week, may face criminal charges in Germany for alleged abuses in Guantanamo Bay and Iraq.

The US group Centre for Constitutional Rights, representing a Saudi detained in Cuba and 11 Iraqis held in Baghdad, has filed a criminal complaint against Rumsfeld.

German law allows the pursuit of cases originating anywhere in the world.

A similar request was made in 2004 by the centre, but German prosecutors dropped that case.

The argument runs that Rumsfeld was instrumental in abuses committed at Guantanamo Bay and at Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad, and that Rumsfeld personally approved torture to be used to extract information from the prisoners.

In addition to filing charges against Rumsfeld, the centre also wants to prosecute US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former CIA director George Tenet.

The complaint will be filed with German federal prosecutors on Tuesday.

How ironic that as Saddam has been brought to a form of "justice", those that initiated the attack should also face legal scrutiny for their actions. It is even more ironic given Rumsfeld's association with Saddam back in the 1980's.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Verdict Timing "Suspect"

The row over the delay in delivering the verdict on Saddam Hussein's first trial, to the 5th of November (two days before the US midterms), won't go away.

The former British Foreign Secretary, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, has accused the US of delaying the verdict deliberately to coincide with the midterms.

He was speaking on the BBC show "Question Time", and said that the timing of the verdict was "deeply suspect".

The White House claims that the accusations are "preposterous", saying that the Iraqi judges determined the timing.

The trouble is that justice must not just be done, but be seen to be done.

Sir Malcolm does not believe the US, and said that he believed the US told the Iraqi court to hold off until just before the US elections.

President Bush, before being given a "thumping" in the midterms, welcomed the verdict as a "milestone" in the efforts of the Iraqi people "to replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law".

Downing Street has refused to comment on Sir Malcolm's "suspicions".

To repeat, justice must not just be done but be seen to be done. Where there is suspicion of political interference the justice system itself is brought into disrepute, and its decisions laid open to criticism.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Saddam's Second Trial Continues

Saddam Hussein and six of his aides were back in court yesterday, as his second trial continued.

The defence demanded that the court order an investigation into the ransacking of the defence offices, guarded by U.S. soldiers in the heavily fortified Green Zone, last month.

Badie Aref Izzat said:

"I demand to open investigation with the American authorities because the offices were guarded by U.S. soldiers.

I have received 1429 pieces of totally black papers

The judge ordered that the prosecutors provide a new set of documents to the defence team.

Four witnesses took the stand to testify in the trial of operation Anfal (Spoils of War) military campaign, in which prosecutors said that up to 180,000 Kurds were killed.

Ayoub Abdellah Mohammad said that his village was bombed by chemical weapons on August 24 1988:

"The court can now scrutinize the village to see the remains of bombing, rockets and shrapnel."

Tawfeeq Abdul-Aziz Mustafa said that his village was bombed by chemical weapons, and that he and several villagers buried some badly charred bodies before they fled to neighboring Turkey.

A third female witness said that she lost her husband and her son along with 27 other relatives, and have not found them till now.

However, one of Saddam's codefendants, Sabir al-Douri, from military intelligence, said that Kurdish guerrillas were collaborating with the Iranians.

Judge Ureiybi adjourned the trial till November 27th, to give the defence time to assemble a list of witnesses.

Rumsfeld Goes

Yesterday's article was right about Rumsfeld leaving office before the year end, see Rumsfeld To Go.

However, he went faster than predicted.

Sorry about that!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rumsfeld To Go

Donald Rumsfeld the failed US Defence Secretary and one of the main architects of the failed Iraq invasion and occupation, will be leaving office before the end of this year.

Source Channel 4 News 7 November 2007 (click on the watch the report link)

Candidates to replace him are being approached, two have already declined the poison chalice. However, it is expected that Senator John Warner will replace him.

At the time of writing the Democrats have swept to power in Congress, the final results for the Senate are yet to be announced. Dick Cheney, another man with blood on his hands, has gone shooting.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Iraq Watchdog To Close Down

The Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, a federal agency serving the American public as a watchdog for fraud, waste, and abuse of funds intended for Iraq reconstruction programs, will close in 2007.

The watchdog has exposed corrupt practices within the Bush administration, and cynics claim that its closure is due to its findings of fraud and corruption which make uncomfortable reading for supporters of Bush's failed Iraq venture.

The audit office began operations in March 2004.

Currently, SIGIR has 82 open preliminary and criminal investigations. Twenty–five of those cases are currently at the Department of Justice (DoJ), and many are in the final stages of prosecution. Two cases have resulted in convictions and are currently pending sentence.

Back in Court

Notwithstanding Sunday's death sentence, Saddam Hussein is back in court today for the continuance of his second trial for genocide.

Quite whether this second trial will have finished before the death sentence is carried out for the first trial is unclear.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Shabby Affair

Amnesty International has said that it "deplores" the death penalty given to Saddam Hussein.

Malcolm Smart, speaking on behalf of Amnesty, said:

"[The trial] has been a shabby affair, marred by serious flaws that call into question the capacity of the tribunal, as currently established, to administer justice fairly, in conformity with international standards."

If Saddam's appeal fails, it is likely he will be dead by Christmas; irrespective of the status of his current trial.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saddam Hussein Sentenced To Hang

Saddam Hussein has been convicted of crimes against humanity, and sentenced to death by hanging.

He was found guilty over his role in the killing of 148 people in the mainly Shia town of Dujail in 1982.

His brother Barzan al-Tikriti was also sentenced to death, along with Iraq's former chief judge Awad Hamed al-Bander

Former vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan got life in jail and three others received 15 year prison terms.

Another co-defendant, Baath party official Mohammed Azawi Ali, was acquitted.

Saddam shouted out "Allahu Akbar!" (God is Greatest) and "Long live Iraq. Long live the Iraqi people!" after the judge announced the verdict.

He has the option to appeal the sentence.

In the meantime the long suffering people of Iraq wait to see if this verdict leads to a rise in violence, as predicted by some.

In the USA President Bush faces midterms on the 7th of November, it is predicted that the Republican party will be heavily defeated as voters vent their spleens on Bush for the failure of the Iraq mission. The voters will also bring Bush to account for the theft of $800M, designated to help rebuild Iraq, by key Iraqi officials from under the noses of the US administration.

Mission accomplished!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Verdict Expected Tomorrow

The delayed verdict on the first trial of Saddam Hussein is expected to be delivered tomorrow, two days before US mid terms.

On Sunday, five judges in a Baghdad court are scheduled to deliver their verdict and sentence on Saddam and former members of his regime, who have pleaded innocent to the killing of 148 Muslim Shiites from the northern Iraqi town of Dujail. The inhabitants were shot after an attempt to assassinate Saddam as he passed through the town in 1982.

The U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad, has denied that his government had anything to do with the timing of the verdict, saying that while the United States gives security and logistical support to the court, it does not influence its decisions.

The Ambassador may, or may not, be speaking truthfully. However, he ignores the fact that justice has not just to be done, but be seen to be done. Where there is even the faintest hint of political influence in the timing or the result of the trial, the verdict and the justice system on which the new Iraq is supposed to be being built will be forever tainted and undermined.

This is not a promising start for the new Iraq.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Yesterday the court trying Saddam Hussein heard from Kurdish witnesses who spoke of the mass slaughter of civilian prisoners.

One survivor described a "ditch full of bodies" and prisoners shot two by two.

Another Kurdish witness described how he escaped the alleged massacre.

"The guards took two prisoners at a time from the bus, shot them dead and dragged their bodies to a huge ditch.

When it was my turn, I and my cousin alighted from the bus and we were blindfolded and handcuffed.

The guards asked us to lie down on the ground and then they sprayed us with bullets. I felt no pain. I thought that maybe when the bullet pierces the body, one doesn't feel the pain, but then I heard my cousin dying.

We were pulled away by our legs. I pretended I was dead

The trial is now adjourned until 7th November, by which time the verdict of the first trial will be known and Saddam will be very likely facing the death penalty.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Bush Refused Saddam's Surrender

A former political adviser to Saddam Hussein's son is claiming that Saddam was willing to surrender to all American demands before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, but that the Bush administration refused his offers.

The disclosure has been made by Hossam Shaltout, a Canadian aerospace engineer and former American pilot, and founder of the peace organisation Rights and Freedom International. He claims that war could have been averted, but Bush aides blocked his efforts to announce Saddam's decision.


"Saddam was willing to yield to all American demands, announced and unannounced, to reach peaceful resolution, but the Bush administration, including Elizabeth Cheney, undersecretary of State, David Welch, the U.S. ambassador in Egypt, and Gene Cretz, his political attache, did not respond to his offers."

Shaltout claimed that he was planning to fly from Amman to Baghdad to announce Saddam's decision, but the Royal Jordanian Airlines officials claimed that the US ordered the flight to leave five hours earlier causing him to miss the flight, preventing him from announcing on CNN that Saddam would bow to the Bush ultimatum.

Shaltout said he traveled by road to Baghdad, delaying him almost one day, but raced to get the communique approved from Saddam to broadcast over international TV stations broadcasting from Baghdad.

Two hours before the expiration of the Bush ultimatum, Saddam ordered Colonel Amer, his strongman, to facilitate Shaltout's broadcast of the communique. Colonel Amer ordered Allaa Mecky, the head of the Iraqi Channel 2 television, to accompany Shaltout and help him broadcast the communique."

It was very late at night and CNN in Baghdad was closed. So they went to al-Jazeera, and Shaltout told al-Jazeera Washington correspondent Hafez Almirazy on the air that he had the Iraqi government's official reply to the Bush ultimatum. Moments after Mirazy asked him for a brief, the plug was pulled on the transmission. Shaltout has a copy of that interrupted broadcast.

Shaltout said that when the Americans arrived in Baghdad, he offered his assistance to U.S. military officials. Instead he was arrested by Marines who went to his hotel suite taking his documents. Shaltout has the videotape of his arrest, and several supporting documents.

If this claim is true then the Bush Administration should be held to account, in the same manner as Saddam, for the thousands of lives lost during this criminally negligent fiasco.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trial Descends Into Farce and Recriminations Again

Khalil al-Dulaimi, Saddam Hussein's chief lawyer, warned on Sunday of worsening violence in Iraq and chaos across the Middle East if Saddam is sentenced to death on the 5th of November (two days before the US midterms).

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, mounted a pr campaign to spike the mounting speculation that the timing of the verdict was set to coincide with midterms.


"That decision was made by the Iraqi judges. But we don't determine the date for holding the meetings or the trial or the date for making the decision or announcing the decision with regard to Saddam Hussein."

Al-Dulaimi said that he wrote directly to President Bush.

"I warned him against the death penalty and against any other decision that would inflame a civil war in Iraq and send fire throughout the region.

Any foolish American decision will further complicate things and will pose a serious threat to U.S. interests in the region

He also claimed the offices of Saddam's defence team in the U.S. controlled Green Zone of Baghdad were ransacked over a week ago, and said that more than 1,400 pages of trial documents were damaged.

"Some 1,450 pages were blackened and we believe that the prosecution was behind this."

Badee Izzat Aref, a lawyer for one of Saddam's co-defendants, also said the lawyers' offices had been ransacked. He said there was no sign of a break-in.

Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Mousawi said al-Dulaimi's claims were "baseless and show the inability of the defense team in defending their clients."

Al-Dulaimi said he would return to those proceedings when they reopen Monday. However, he stormed out the courtroom on Monday shortly after he had ended a month long boycott of the trial.

Al-Dulaimi submitted a dozen motions, including one to allow foreign lawyers to attend the trial without permission of the court. Chief Judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa denied most of them.

Al-Dulaimi said:

"I'm withdrawing"

The judges aid:

"I allow you to withdraw. Go ahead."

After his lawyer left, Saddam complained that the court appointed replacement lawyers for him "despite our wish to be represented by our own attorneys."

He accused the court of violating the law, which he said stipulated that court-appointed attorneys are provided only for defendants who cannot afford counsel.

The farce continues.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Date of Verdict Fixed To Help Bush

As already noted on this site, the date of the verdict for Saddam Hussein's first trial has been moved to 5 November so as to help President Bush in the midterm elections on 7 November. It is expected that the Republicans will receive a public drubbing for their criminally irresponsible handling of the invasion and post regime occupation.

On the October 29 edition of CNN's Sunday Morning, CNN anchor Betty Nguyen reported that "[a] letter from Saddam Hussein's lawyer to President Bush ... Accuses the White House of trying to time the verdict before the midterm elections."

In a later segment, CNN video correspondent Arwa Damon reported that Saddam lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi "accuses U.S. President George Bush and the U.S. administration for deliberately orchestrating the date" so that the verdict in the first trial of Saddam will be announced "just two days before the midterm elections."

Damon continued: "We were expecting a verdict mid-month. It was, however, delayed."

On the October 29 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources, CNN anchor T.J. Holmes said, "The verdict is to be announced a week from today, a date Saddam Hussein claims is timed to the U.S. elections two days later."

View the CNN broadcast here CNN.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Saddam's Last Request

Saddam Hussein has requested that if the verdict from his first trial, due to be presented on the 5th of November, is for his death then he wants a specific style of execution.

Namely, blindfolded and tied to a post before a firing squad.

The timing of the verdict was been moved to the 5th of November, allegedly because the judges were having trouble making their minds up. Now here's the funny thing, the revised date is just two days before the US midterms.

Some cynics have suggested that President Bush has "requested" this date so as to maximise the political gain for the Republican Party, which currently faces a well deserved drubbing from the electorate for its criminally incompetent handling of the invasion and post Saddam occupation of Iraq.

It would be somewhat ironic if the verdict were "not guilty". I guess though, President Bush has been assured by those in the know that the verdict will be "guilty".

Thursday, October 26, 2006

We're Winning

Despite declaring "Mission Accomplished!" a couple of years ago, President Bush has now stated that "Absolutely, we're winning..".

This of course contradicts "mission accomplished" (ie job done) and the actual situation of the ground in Iraq, which is now embroiled in a low level civil war.

The reality of course makes uncomfortable viewing for the President, as mid terms will be held in less than two weeks; where it is expected that the Republican party will be on the receiving end of a well deserved drubbing from the voters, for the mess that they have inflicted on the Iraqi people and the servicemen who are dying for a lost cause.

President Bush has used recent press conferences to "very magnanimously" state that he is not satisfied, and to tease the audience and voters that he is aware of their concerns and that there will be change of course.

I think it unlikely that this President will voluntarily change course, people who receive their instructions direct from God tend not to be very flexible.

A change of course will happen, once the reality of partition takes place and there is no longer an Iraq to stabilise. In the meantime, many more innocent people and servicemen will die.

However, the soap opera of Saddam's trials will continue. It is quite possible that by the time the trials have finished, Iraq will have ceased to exist and there will be no lawful body to carry out the sentence.

Mission accomplished!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Twist of Fate

In an unusual twist of fate, on the assumption that Saddam Hussein is not executed before next month's US mid terms (7th November), Saddam may in fact witness the denouement of his nemesis President Bush.

According to a poll in Monday's Washington Post independents, who make up around 33% of the electorate, say that they will vote for Democrats rather than Republicans by a margin of 59% to 31%.

The reason?

The failure of the Iraq mission, and the civil war that the "mission" has caused in Iraq.

The Republican Party is facing defeat in Congress, and quite possibly defeat in the Senate. Although Bush still has two more years in office, were he defeated in both Congress and the Senate his remaining two years in office would be thoroughly miserable as he would effectively be "castrated" politically.

We shall see.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Saddam May Be Called To The Netherlands

A Dutch appeals court has indicated that it is studying the possibility of hearing testimony from Saddam Hussein as a witness in the appeals case of Frans Van Anraat a Dutch businessman, convicted for supplying chemicals used in gas attacks on Kurdish villages in Iraq in the 1980's.

Lawyers for Van Anraat have asked that Saddam and his cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid be called as witnesses.

The appeals court has asked an investigative judge to see if Saddam and other members of his regime could be heard "in the short term".

Van Anraat was sentenced to 15 years in prison, on December 23 2005, on charges of abetting war crimes.

Van Anraat lived as a fugitive in Iraq for 14 years, until the US invasion in 2003.

The date for the decision as to whether to call Saddam has not been released.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Alberto Fernandez, a senior US state department official was quoted on al-Jazeera as saying that the US has shown "arrogance and stupidity" in Iraq.

Needless to say, the State Department were quick to try to "rubbish" this. A State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, said:

"What he [Alberto Fernandez] says is that it is not an accurate quote."

However, the BBC Arabic language experts the said that Mr Fernandez did indeed use the words.

Therefore, in a second attempt to "gloss over" this, Mr Fernandez has now said that he mis-spoke.

It is assumed that he has been told to say this.

Meanwhile CBS News has reported that $800M, earmarked to fight the insurgency in Iraq, had been stolen by people running the country's Ministry of Defence before the 2005 elections.

As ever, the body count also continues to mount.

Mission accomplished!


Friday, October 20, 2006

Iraq's Prime Minister Calls For Execution

During yesterday's session of Saddam Hussein's trial, witnesses described their suffering during their detention in a desert prison in southern Iraq.

Abdullah Said Muhammed, 79 years old, said that his village was attacked by chemical weapons.


"We ran away from poison gas and fled the area to a nearby village."

He noted that the Iraqi forces then arrested the fleeing people and threw them to prison, where they endured bad sanitary conditions.

Said added that approximately 1,800 people died in Nugrat al- Salaman prison, during the four months of his detention, "I myself helped bury 20 dead prisoners, including eight of my relatives."

Baqer Qader Muhammad described his suffering in the Nugrat al-Salman prison, saying that he and many other detainees were infected with diarrhea as a result of the dirty water.

The trial has now been adjourned until October 30th, to give the defendants time to contact their lawyers.

Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, said on Wednesday:

"God willing, the trial will not continue for a long time and shortly a death sentence will be passed against his crimes, along with his aides and the criminals who worked with him.

With his execution, those betting on returning Saddam to power under the banner of the Baath Party will loose

As Prime minister he should not openly interfere in the trial, by stating publicly his wish to see a death sentence, prior to a verdict being delivered.

He is hoping against hope, that the execution of Saddam will stem the tide of violence that is engulfing Iraq. I suspect that it is too late for that, and that the eventual "solution" to the violence will be the partition of Iraq.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mass Graves

During yesterday's session of Saddam Hussein's trial the first eyewitness for a mass grave of Kurdish people in Western Iraq, during the Saddam's crackdown on Kurds insurgency, took the stand on condition of anonymity.

The witness described how he, and other Kurdish people, were driven through unpaved roads to Iraq's western desert.


"We heard screaming and gunfire but it was far from us.

One of the detainees told us to recite the Shahada (Muslim declaration of faith) and ask for forgiveness as we are going to die in few minutes

The witness went on to say that he tried to run away, but that he fell into a ditch full of bodies. As he continued to make good his escape, he said that he saw many ditches full of bodies in the desert.

A second anonymous Kurdish witness said that Iraqi soldiers took detainees, including himself, to the desert and attempted to execute them.


"They put us, altogether 34 persons, in vehicles. We had thought they would take us back home, but they took us to the south and we were blindfolded.

We didn't know where exactly we were taking to until our vehicles arrived at an area where we could heard the shovels burying bodies who were executed before

The witness was wounded, and several other detainees were killed, when they attacked the guards who opened fire on them.

The witness added:

"After cease-fire I ran for twenty minutes until I reached a camp."

Chief Judge Muhammed Ureiby then adjourned the court until today.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Saddam Hussein yesterday accused witnesses of sowing discord for Israel's benefit, in their testimonies about conditions in detention camps under his regime.

Saddam was rebutting two Kurdish witnesses who had testified that they were detained in 1988 in a camp, where conditions were so bad that hundreds died of malnutrition.


"This will only serve the separation.

The Zionists are the only ones who will benefit from the differences among Iraqis

Saddam also pooh poohed the prosecution claims that he ran a police state, saying:

"Our country and government are real.

What is unreal and unbelievable are the heads, which are falling in the streets nowadays

Whatever Saddam may say, it is not unreasonable to point out that Iraq was a police state under his control.

The trial continues today.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Iraq Descends Into Chaos

Imad al-Faroon, the brother of the senior prosecutor in Saddam Hussein's second trial, was shot dead in front of his wife at his home in Baghdad yesterday.

Al-Faroon's brother is chief prosecutor Muqith al-Faroon, who is leading the prosecution in Saddam's second trial.

Imad al-Faroon was a legal adviser to Ahmed Chalabi, an Iraqi exile who returned to a prominent position after the US toppled Saddam.

The assassination again raises questions about the security situation in Iraq, and what possible hope for the future that the citizens of that troubled country may have.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Saddam's Open Letter

Saddam Hussein has dictated an open letter to his chief lawyer, Khalil Dulaimi, during a meeting on Saturday in prison.

The letter is directed at the Iraqi people, in it he tells them that "victory is at hand".

Saddam then goes on to urge insurgents to show magnanimity to opponents, and he offers his forgiveness to those Iraqis who aided the killers of his two sons.

Saddam said that the Iraqis should put aside their differences, and concentrate on driving US troops out of the country.


"Victory is at hand, but don't forget that your near-term goal is confined to liberating your country from the forces of occupation."


"When you achieve victory and it is close remember you are God's soldiers which means you should show genuine forgiveness and put aside revenge over the spilled blood of the sons of Saddam Hussein.

I call on you to apply justice in your Jihad and not be drawn to recklessness and urge you to be forgiving rather than tough with those who have lost the path."

Meanwhile, the body count continues to rise.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Farce Continues

Whilst allegations and denials abound in the media over the estimate that at least 600,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the enforced regime change in Iraq, the farce of the trial of Saddam Hussein continues.

Saddam rebuked the chief judge, Chief Judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, yesterday and accused him of preventing him (Saddam) from defending himself.

Saddam lambasted the judge for switching off the microphone on Tuesday, when Saddam began shouting a verse from the Quran.


"When the accuser and prosecutor talk, the world listens. When the man called 'the accused' speaks, you switch off the microphone. Is this fair?"

The judge said that he had cut Saddam's microphone to "bring order to the courtroom."


"Clearly you wanted to give a speech when you started reciting a verse from the holy book. You can talk if you want to defend yourself, but not to get into the political labyrinth."

Saddam interrupted, but the judge cut the microphone again.

Also on Wednesday, defendant Hussein Rashid Mohammed protested that a bailiff had hit him the previous day.

"You say the court is Iraqi. Is it acceptable that a defendant is hit and sworn at in front of the judge?"

Al-Khalifa replied:

"Everyone in this court is under my protection."

The farce continues, as does the chaos in the streets of Iraq.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Saddam Back in Court

Saddam Hussein returned to his trial today, after being thrown out yesterday by the judge for disrupting the proceedings.

Saddam and his six co-defendants are now sitting quietly, as chief judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa called on a Kurdish witness to take the stand.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Saddam Thrown Out Again

In what is becoming a regular ritual, Saddam Hussein has been thrown out of court again today.

Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, the chief judge, threw Saddam and another defendant out of court today after Saddam started shouting.

The judge cut off the microphone as Saddam began to speak. He then pointed to court bailiffs to escort Saddam from the courtroom.

Saddam started shouting a verse from the Quran:

"Fight them and God will punish them."

Needless to say the Iraqi people were not allowed to witness this scene, as the TV broadcasts were censored so that neither Saddam's words nor the judge's voice were heard.

Seemingly it is feared that Saddam may still stir some powerful emotions in some of the Iraqis.

The judge told Saddam's six co-defendants:

"I allowed you to say what you want, but you've been making problems."

One of the defendants Hussein Rashid Mohammed, a former army commander, stood up and shouted insults at the prosecutors. When a bailiff forced him back into his chair, Mohammed punched him.

The judge had Mohammed thrown out and closed the session to the media.

The farce continues.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Saddam's Trial Resumes

The trial of Saddam Hussein, for alleged war crimes and genocide against the Kurds in the 1980's, has resumed in Baghdad today.

When last in court, two weeks ago, Saddam was ejected after defying instructions from the judge to be quiet.

The defence team met Saddam last week, but they have stated that they will continue to boycott the trial in protest about the replacement of former chief judge, Abdullah al-Amiri, following accusations of bias in favour of Saddam.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Bloodbath Predicted

It seems that the reason for the delay in issuing a verdict in the first trial of Saddam Hussein, may be fears that his execution would lead to a bloodbath in Iraq.

That at least is the view of former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark, a member of Saddam Hussein's defence team.

Clark said at a news conference that he feared that should Saddam and the others be hanged, "catastrophic violence" would follow that would lead to:

"the end of civilisation as we know it in the birthplace of civilisation, Mesopotamia. Total, unmitigated chaos."

Clark believes that Saddam's Sunni Muslim tribe of 1.5 million would consider the execution a revenge killing by the Shiite-controlled and U.S. sponsored government.

It seems that although Saddam may no longer be in office, he still seems to have power over the people of Iraq. This does not bode well for the future.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Verdict Delayed

The verdict in the first trial of Saddam Hussein has been delayed indefinitely.

The verdict was due to be announced on 16 October, when the court reconvenes, but officials now say evidence will be reviewed at the session.

A prosecutor said that defence lawyers could submit written documents, after which a verdict date could be set.

Saddam is also being tried separately for genocide linked to a 1980's offensive against the Kurds.

No reason has been given for the delay in issuing a verdict. This delay hardly adds credibility to the trial process.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Brother In Law of Saddam's Judge Assassinated

As Baghdad and Iraq further descend into chaos and strife, it is reported that Kadhem Abdul Hussein, the brother in law of Muhammed Ureybi the chief judge trying Saddam Hussein, was shot dead Thursday together with his son by unknown armed men in a western Baghdad neighborhood.

It is not clear as to whether the attack is linked to Saddam's trial.

Ureybi was appointed to replace chief judge Abdulla Al-Amiri last week, by the government, after judge Amiri was accused of being lenient with Saddam Hussein and his aides.

In my view this trial must be moved to a neutral country away from influence, chaos and state interference if it has any chance to succeed.

In other news the Iraqi government has ordered an immediate curfew in Baghdad, to run until Sunday morning. It is not clear as to why the curfew has been ordered.

The Iraqi government stated:

"The government has decided to enforce a curfew on vehicles and individuals starting from Friday evening until 0600 on Sunday morning (0200 GMT)."

As if to add to the growing sense of crisis surrounding the failed Iraq venture, Washington now has to contend with a book to be published on Monday by Bob Woodward (veteran Watergate investigator).

Mr Woodwards book, State of Denial, claims that the White House ignored warnings about inadequate troop numbers in Iraq and that the relationships between senior figures within the Administration are non existent.

The book claims that Bush's senior advisers are barely on speaking terms, yet always manage to dismiss assessments from American commanders and others about the situation in Iraq as being too pessimistic.

The book claims that Donald Rumsfeld was said to be so hostile towards Condoleezza Rice, when she was National Security Adviser, that he wouldn't return her calls and that Bush had to tell him to return her phone calls.

General John Abizaid, the US commander for the Middle East, is quoted as saying last year that "Rumsfeld doesn't have any credibility any more".

The book also notes that Andrew Card, the former White House chief of staff, had twice tried to force the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld over his mis-handling of the Iraq war.

Mission accomplished!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Saddam's Lawyers Urge Rejection

Saddam Hussein's lawyers are urging Iraqis to reject his trial on the basis that, in their belief, the court is biased against him.

The defence team, who are currently boycotting the trial, issued a statement yesterday, quote:

"We call upon the public opinion... to stop this farce after (the Iraqi court) intentionally prejudiced the feelings of Iraqis, Arabs and all good people by repeatedly trying to offend the dignity of President Saddam and his comrades."

What the statement should have called for, were it to be fully credible, would be for the trial to be moved to an international setting (eg the Hague) and for a formal Nuremberg style trial to be instituted.

Whatever the verdict, it is clear that under the current shambolic arrangements, that verdict will not be seen as credible by many parties; thus dangerously undermining the foundations of the new Iraq.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Trial Fit For A Dictator?

The Daily Telegraph has published a splendid piece that lambasts the ongoing farce of the Saddam Hussein trial, and notes that if any form of justice is to be done then Saddam should be removed from Iraq and given a Nuremberg style trial (as I have repeated often enough on this site).

Some may argue that Saddam will get his "just desserts" and that the form of trial makes no difference, as he does not deserve fairness or justice anyway.

Those who put forward this argument are wrong, they ignore the fact that the trial of Iraq's former leader will serve as the foundation for law and justice within the new Iraq (whatever form that may take). To start with a mismanaged and tragic farce, as we are currently witnessing, bodes ill for the future of the new Iraq.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Saddam's Trial Adjourned

The trial of Saddam Hussein has been adjourned until October 9th.

Chief Judge Muhammed al-Ureybi has called the adjournment to allow defendants to contact their lawyers or appoint new ones.

Yesterday Saddam was ejected from court for a third time, as he tried to comment on the word Peshmerga, referring to Kurdish guerrilla, but the judge ordered him to sit down.

Saddam then said that the court was "unjust".

To which the judge reminded Saddam about their respective roles:

"You are the defendant and I am the judge here."

The judge then ordered Saddam to leave the room, at which point the codefendants all demanded to leave the court.

Amidst all of the hubbah bubbah, seven witnesses took the stand to complain about Saddam and his aides and the Anfal offensive in 1988.

The trial continues on 9th October, with or without the defendants and defence team.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Backwards and Forwards

In the topsy turvy world of Saddam Hussein's trial, nothing is ever certain. On Monday Saddam's lawyers boycotted the trail, protesting at state interference, having vented his spleen in court about the absence of his defence team:

"I don't want to be in this cage any more".

Saddam was duly ejected on Monday, only to return today to be given a lecture on judicial ethics.

Judge Al-Khalifa opened the hearing by saying:

"You are a defendant here. You have rights and obligations.

You can defend yourself, question witnesses and I am ready to allow you (to do so), but this is a court, not a political arena.

By disrespecting the court, you are only damaging your cause

Saddam asked for permission to respond, on being given permission, he started to read a prepared statement.

However, the judge interrupted, saying he would not allow him to read the statement "if it was the same letter I received from you."

Saddam, as is his wont, duly ignored the judge. The judge countered by allowing Saddam to read the statement, but with his microphones cut off.

The trial, with a court appointed defence team, continues.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Farce Continues

In keeping with the farcical nature of this trial, Saddam Hussein is back in court today without a defence team.

The reason?

They are boycotting it.

Chief defence lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi, and the rest of the defence team have decided to stay away in protest at government interference.

The defence team have said that they might return, if some of their demands are met. These include giving foreign lawyers the right to speak in court.

It may be all well and good, from a revenge perspective, to find Saddam guilty and to hang him. However, if that guilty verdict is based on a farcical and unjust court case the foundations of any future Iraqi sate will be undermined by it.

Justice must be seen to be done.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

American Accused of Working For Saddam

William Shaoul Benjamin, of Los Angeles USA, who has been accused of collecting intelligence for Saddam Hussein's regime during the 1990's was indicted on charges of failing to register as an agent of a foreign government.

Benjamin also faces charges of making false statements and conspiracy.

Benjamin has pleaded not guilty, and has been released on a $500,000 bond with electric monitoring.

Codenamed "9211" Benjamin allegedly worked with the Iraqi Intelligence Service between 1993 and 2001. He is accused of infiltrating groups and organisations deemed to be hostile to Saddam's government.

He also allegedly traveled to Iraq to train with intelligence officers.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Chief Judge Replaced

Abdullah al-Amiri, the chief judge in Saddam Hussein's trail, has been removed as complaints against his "softness" towards Saddam won the day.

Wednesday saw Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, a Shiite Muslim Arab, presiding which in itself caused a walkout of Saddam's defence team.

Defence lawyer Wadoud Fawzi said:

"We don't expect from this court established under the occupation authorities to be fair, so we decided to withdraw from this trial

The decision to sack the judge at the orders of the government shows that this trial lacks the standards of a fair trial

Al-Khalifa said that replacing the chief judge was an "administrative matter." When the lawyers protested, the judge said the court would appoint new counsel.

Saddam then said that he wanted his lawyers to stay:

"This is our personal right.

You must deal with us as the law dictates

Al-Khalifa asked him to stop talking, Saddam refused and was ejected from the courtroom.

However, as he was being ejected Saddam said:

"Your father was in the security and he went on working as a sergeant in the security (forces) until the fall of Baghdad."

"I challenge you in front of the public if this is the case." al-Khalifa shouted back.

Saddam's cousin "Chemical" Ali al-Majid said:

"I'll stay, but I'll decline to say anything or defend myself and I'll gladly accept any verdict, even if it's the death penalty."

The New York-based Human Rights Watch said it was "very concerned" about al-Amiri's removal.


"This appears to be improper interference in the independence of the tribunal, and may greatly damage the court."

I have said it before, and will say it again, if justice is to be seen to be done Saddam should have been tried in a similar manner to the Nuremberg trials.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

UN Warns of Civil War

The United Nations secretary-general, Kofi Annan, has warned that Iraq is in danger of descending into full scale civil war. They are pretty well already suffering from limited scale civil war at the moment.


"Iraq and its leaders are now at an important crossroads. If they can address the needs and common interests of all Iraqis, the promise of peace and prosperity is still within reach.

But if current patterns of alienation and violence persist much longer, there is a grave danger that the Iraqi state will break down, possibly in the midst of a full-scale civil war.

Peace in Iraq will ultimately depend on domestic resolve and regional cooperation, but it will not come about without ever more urgent international engagement.

The international community may not be able to ensure Iraq's success, but it can guarantee failure if it does not come through in time with sufficient support

Mission accomplished?


UN Warns of Civil War

The United Nations secretary-general, Kofi Annan, has warned that Iraq is in danger of descending into full scale civil war. They are pretty well already suffering from limited scale civil war at the moment.


"Iraq and its leaders are now at an important crossroads. If they can address the needs and common interests of all Iraqis, the promise of peace and prosperity is still within reach.

But if current patterns of alienation and violence persist much longer, there is a grave danger that the Iraqi state will break down, possibly in the midst of a full-scale civil war.

Peace in Iraq will ultimately depend on domestic resolve and regional cooperation, but it will not come about without ever more urgent international engagement.

The international community may not be able to ensure Iraq's success, but it can guarantee failure if it does not come through in time with sufficient support

Mission accomplished?


Monday, September 18, 2006

Dutchman Testifies

Karawan Abdellah, a Dutchman, gave testimony today at Saddam Hussein's trial.

He noted that he had temporarily lost his eyesight, as a result of an alleged chemical attack by Iraqi forces on his northern village almost twenty years ago in March 1988.

Abdellah said that he is still in pain from the injury.


"I stayed in a hospital for six months and during this period I wasn't able to see at all."


"When I take off my glasses in front of my children, they tell me to wear them again because they get scared of the way my eyes look."

He said that he later received further treatment in the Netherlands, where he applied for asylum and was granted a Dutch passport in 1994.

Saddam briefly cross examined Abdellah, and noted that as Abdellah was a Dutchman not an Iraqi under the law he shouldn't be giving testimony.

Saddam also tried to explain how the Kurds were allied with Iran, but the judge again warned him:

"You embarrass me when you get into such details."

Saddam failed to heed the warning, and had his microphone cut off by the judge.

The trial continues.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Saddam Was No Dictator

Judge Abdullah al-Amiri caused a degree of controversy in yesterday's proceedings at the trial of Saddam Hussein, when he told Saddam that he was not a dictator.


"You were not a dictator.

However, the people or the individuals and officials surrounding you created a dictator [out of you], it was not you in particular.

It happens all over the world

Saddam, clearly moved, bowed his head and said:

"Thank you."

Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish member of parliament, was not impressed and said:

"If Saddam isn't a dictator as he says, then there's never been a dictatorship in the world.

This... is against the truth. It angers the victims and hurts their feelings

Mr al-Amiri has already been accused by the prosecution of bias. It should be noted that he was a member of Saddam's Ba'ath party, and served as a prosecuting judge in a criminal court under Saddam's regime.

During yesterday's session, the court heard testimony from Abdullah Mohammad Hussein, a villager from Sida near the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniya.


"I have lost eight of my family members by the attack of the Iraqi army on my village in 1988."

He alleged that his family were taken away by Iraqi soldiers in the Anfal campaign.

"My mother was released years later and she told me that the bodies of my wife and two of my sons were found in a mass grave in Hatra south of Mosul."

He noted that he had met Saddam:

"I have met Saddam Hussein after I submitted a request. He asked what I wanted. But when I told him that I had lost my family in Sidr village, he replied 'Shut up. Your family is gone in the Anfal'."

Saddam retorted:

"Why did you try to meet me when you knew I was a dictator?"

It was at this point that the judge made his comments.

The trial has now been adjourned until Monday, for "technical reasons".

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Judge Accused of Bias

Munqith al-Faroon, the chief prosecutor in the ongoing trial of Saddam Hussein, has called for Judge Abdullah al-Amiri to stand down. Faroon claims that the judge is biased towards Saddam.

Faroon said that the defendants had "gone too far", threatening witnesses and making political statements.


"Defendants have gone too far, with unacceptable expressions and words. Defendants have uttered clear threats.

The chief prosecutor's office requests the judge step down from this case

Judge Abdullah al-Amiri needless to say has rejected the request, saying that his approach was based on fairness and 25 years' experience.

Judge Amiri said:

"The judge should co-ordinate and make peace so nobody takes advantage of his fairness... I have been working in the judicial system for the past 25 years."

Yesterday Saddam Hussein threatened one of the witnesses' lawyers, accusing him of being an agent of "Iranians and Zionists" the saying "we will crush his head".

The trial continues.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Compensation Demanded

Ghafour Hassan Abdullah, a Kurdish villager, testified yesterday in Saddam Hussein's trial that he left behind his mother and two sisters as he evaded a 1988 attack by Saddam Hussein's forces.

It was only some years later, that he said that he found their identity cards in a mass grave.

Ghafour Hassan Abdullah said:

"At night, I heard the screaming of women and children."

He then went on to exclaim:

"Congratulations! You are in a cage, Saddam."

Saddam claims that the crackdown was directed against Kurdish guerrillas who were allied with Iran.

Abdullah is demanding compensation for the loss of his family.

Saddam accused Kurdish witnesses of creating ethnic divisions, by alleging chemical attacks and mass arrests in their villages during the Anfal crackdown.

The trial continues.

Is The World Safer Without Saddam?

Senator Jay Rockefeller, US Democrat Senator for West Virginia, set the cat amongst the pigeons yesterday in an interview with CBS TV.

Rockefeller said that the world would be better off today if the United States had never invaded Iraq, even if it meant that Saddam Hussein would still be running Iraq.

CBS asked the follow-up: Did Rockefeller stand by that view, even if it meant that Saddam Hussein could still be in power if the United States didn't invade?

Answer from the senator: "Yes."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Saddam Hussein's Trial Resumes

Saddam Hussein's second trial, on charges of genocide in connection with a crackdown on Kurds, resumes today.

Saddam and his co-defendants face the death penalty for the killings of thousands of Kurds during the Anfal campaign in the 1980s.

Toady is also the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States, which were used as the causa bella against Saddam by the Bush administration.

Ironically, as Iraq now lurches ever closer to civil war, a U.S. Senate Intelligence report now states that no link has been found between Saddam and al-Qaida.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What's In A Name?

One aftermath of the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime is the "embarrassment", for want of a better word, that those who have been given his name feel.

Saddam Hussein al-Majid, like many others with similar names, is now trying to change his.

He is now trying to avoid paying with his life for holding this name. He wants to change the first name on his birth certificate to Sajad, favored by Shiites. Mr Hussein, a Shiite Arab, is aware that militiamen from his own sect might assume he belonged to the former ruling Sunni Arab minority.

Iraq's current near civil war, so vehemently denied by the UK and US, is forcing many Iraqis to eradicate their names.

With the sectarian violence rising, Iraqis fear that the name on an identification card, passport or other document could become an instant death sentence if seen by the wrong people.

How can anyone claim that this country is not falling apart, when ordinary people have to hide their own names in shame and fear?

So much for "mission accomplished".

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Truth Dawns

Address by Mayor Ross C. "Rocky" Anderson, Washington Square Salt Lake City, Utah on August 30 2006.


We are here to demand: "Give us the truth!"

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

South Park The Movie

During the Edinburgh festival, Matt Stone hosting a TV festival's "South Park Masterclass" told the audience that Saddam Hussein has been subjected to "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut" whilst in jail.

This is the animated feature-length film, in which Saddam is portrayed as Satan's selfish and meanspirited gay lover.

Seemingly, Saddam is forced to watch the movie "repeatedly" by the US Marines guarding him.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Trader Fights Extradition

Dr John Irving, a British oil trader, is fighting extradition to the USA on charges of allegedly paying kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime.

Should Dr Irving be extradited, and convicted, he faces up to 62 years in prison; he denies the charges.

Dr Irving's solicitor, Andrew Preston, has asked the Serious Fraud Office and the Crown Prosecution Service to examine charges laid down in a federal indictment.

He wants the charges to be investigated in Britain, rather than face extradition. In the US he may be denied bail, and held in a high security prison.

The extradition request made by the US is under the same controversial law as the NatWest Three, who are awaiting trial in Houston.

The law has been criticised as it was originally drafted to fight terrorism, now it is being used against alleged "white collar" crime.

Dr Irving is accused of assisting in the illegal payment of millions of dollars to Iraqi officials, in exchange for deals to buy discounted oil.

Dr Irving is the only Briton to have been indicted for corrupt behaviour under the UN's Oil-for-Food programme.

It is alleged that Dr Irving was working for Bayoil, a US oil trading company, and sent faxes to Iraq containing market information between 1997 and 2003. He is accused of paying inflated commissions to oil dealers in Iraq, while knowing that some of the money was being paid to the Iraqi regime. The indictment alleges that Dr Irving was one of those responsible for diverting funds from the Oil-for-Food programme.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Iraq Had Nothing To Do With 9/11

In case you were wondering, Bush now admits that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

President Bush was last week explaining how the attacks of 9/11 inspired his "freedom agenda" and the attacks on Iraq until a reporter, Ken Herman of Cox News, interrupted to ask what Iraq had to do with 9/11.

"Nothing", Bush answered.

To justify the war, Bush informed Congress on March 19, 2003 that acting against Iraq was consistent with "continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organisations, including those nations, organisations, or persons who planned, authorised, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."

QUESTION: A lot of the consequences you mentioned for pulling out seem like maybe they never would have been there if we hadn't gone in. How do you square all of that?

BUSH: I square it because imagine a world in which you had Saddam Hussein, who had the capacity to make a weapon of mass destruction, who was paying suiciders to kill innocent life, who had relations with Zarqawi.

You know, I've heard this theory about, you know, everything was just fine until we arrived [in Iraq] and — you know, the stir-up-the-hornet's-nest theory. It just doesn't hold water, as far as I'm concerned.

The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East. They were..

QUESTION: What did Iraq have to do with that?

BUSH: What did Iraq have to do with what?

QUESTION: The attacks upon the World Trade Centre.

BUSH: Nothing. . . . .Except for it's part of — and nobody's ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a — Iraq — the lesson of September the 11th is: Take threats before they fully materialise..

Watch the clip here "Nothing"

Friday, August 25, 2006

Trial Adjourned

Saddam Hussein's trial for genocide against the Kurds has been adjourned for three weeks until September 11.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Worse Than Hitler

Saddam Hussein's second trial continues. During Tuesday's session, Ali Mostafa Hama, a survivor of the Anfal campaign, told the court that he saw 8 to 12 planes drop bombs on his village during the incident.

He went on to say that he saw a green gas leak from the bombs, which caused people to vomit and be blinded as they inhaled the gas. He watched a baby die.

Today Najib Khudair Ahmad, a Kurdish woman, testified before the judges. Her face had been scarred by a chemical weapon attack on her village of Sheikwasan, which also made her blind.

She described Saddam as being "worse than Hitler".

"Saddam Hussein used to shout about 'the Iraqi people'

If we were his people, why did he bomb us with all sorts of weapons

The prosecutor said that over one thousand testimonies from victims had been recorded, and "65 to 75 witnesses will testify".

It is expected that the proceedings of the Anfal trial will last around four months.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Saddam Refuses To Enter A Plea

Saddam Hussein's second trial began yesterday. He is accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in the alleged anti-Kurdish Anfal campaign in late 1980's.

However, he refused to enter a plea.

He was in the dock with six co-defendants, including; his cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, popularly known as "Chemical Ali," for allegedly ordering poison gas attacks against Kurds, especially Halabja attack, former Defence Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad, former intelligence chief Saber Abdul Aziz al-Douri, former Republican Guard Commander Hussein al-Tirkiti, former Nineveh Provincial Governor Taher Tafwiq al-Ani and former top military commander Farhan Mutlaq al-Jubouri.

The prosecution accused Saddam of ordering the Anfal campaign, and charged all the defendants with war crimes and crimes against humanity for their involvement in the Anfal campaign aimed at clearing the Kurdish along the border with Iran.

Saddam claimed that the special tribunal was illegal and refused to state his identity, only identifying himself as "the president of the republic and commander-in-chief of the armed forces."

He also refused to enter a plea when asked by chief judge Abdullah al-Amiri.

Al-Majid also refused to plead.

Al-Amiri, a Shiite, then entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of them.

The verdict of Saddam's first trial will be given of October 16th. Saddam will face death penalty by hanging if found guilty.

It is unclear whether the sentence would be carried out before the Anfal trial is concluded.

It would have been far better to conduct a Nuremberg style trial, where all crimes would have been placed before the court in one trial.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Second Trial Begins Today

Saddam Hussein starts his second trial today, this time in connection with an anti-Kurdish offensive in 1987 and 1988.

About 100,000 people are thought to have died in Operation Anfal ("spoils").

Seven defendants face charges of war crimes and/or genocide.

Saddam and seven different defendants have already been tried for the killing of 148 Shias in Dujail in 1982. A verdict on that is due on 16 October.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Saddam To Face Genocide Charges

Saddam Hussein returns to court on Monday, to face genocide charges relating to the 1987-1988 repression of Iraq's Kurdish minority.

The verdict in the recently finished trial against Saddam is still pending. However, attention is now being focussed on the "Anfal Campaign" (anfal is Arabic for "spoils"). It is alleged that around 100000 Kurds were killed, and 3000 Northern Iraqi villages destroyed.

A panel of Iraqi judges sitting in the Iraqi High Tribunal will hear the case, others are expected to follow.

Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Mussawi will open proceedings on Monday.

Saddam and his six co-defendants will be defended by 12 defence counsel.

Facing charges alongside Saddam will be; Chemical Ali, intelligence director Sabir al-Duri, Mosul governor Taher al-Ani, Anfal commander Sultan Hashim al-Tai, operations chief Hussein Rashid al-Tikriti and intelligence officer Farhan al-Juburi.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

AWB Faces Tax Inspection

AWB, the Australian wheat firm at the centre of a multi million dollar kickback scandal involving Saddam Hussein, has more problems. They are likely to be subject to a tax inspection.

Australian tax commissioner, Michael D'Ascenzo, has released the office's compliance program for 2006-2007.

In the document is the phrase:

"We will check systems to ensure bribes and facilitation payments are not wrongly claimed as tax deductions."

In the Cole inquiry earlier this year an AWB financial officer, Paul Ingleby, said that the company had claimed up to $300M in kickbacks to the regime of Saddam Hussein as a tax write-off.

Ingleby alleged that the payment of "trucking fees", kickbacks demanded by Saddam, was treated by AWB as an expense and therefore a tax deduction.

The tax office will review significant, one-off, regular or embedded payments by Australian firms in "jurisdictions where bribes or facilitation payments are said to be part of doing business".

What goes around, comes around.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Saddam Hussein's Second Trial

Judge Abdullah al-Amiri, a Shiite jurist, has been appointed to preside as chief judge in the second trial of Saddam Hussein and six others.

This trial will cover their role in the 1980's campaign that killed approximately 100,000 Kurds.

Judge Abdullah al-Amiri will head a five member panel that will convene on August 21st.

Munqith Takleef al-Firuan has been appointed chief prosecutor.

Saddam and his acolytes could face the death penalty if convicted.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Give a Dog a Home

Uday Hussein, the odious and dead son of Saddam, once owned a dog called Rocky.

Rocky is a Great Dane that was saved by Security consultant Willem van der Waal from being stoned to death in Iraq.

Van der Waal paid £1000, to stop the dog being killed near a former presidential palace in Amadya.

The dog was then flown to the UK, and has spent the last 6 months in quarantine.

Now Van der Waal is going back to Iraq, and Rocky needs a home.

Anyone want to give Rocky a home?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Shoot Me

The chief judge in Saddam Hussein's trial, Raouf Abdel-Rahman, has said that he and four other judges would announce their verdict, which could carry the possibility of death by hanging for Saddam on October 16th.

Saddam has said that, if he is convicted, he wants to be shot instead of being hanged. Saddam's rationale being that he doesn't want to be treated like a common criminal.

The only problem with this is that Saddam was never in the military, his predisposition for wearing uniforms comes from his time as dictator.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Final Countdown

Saddam Hussein's trial resumed today for the final session before the verdict.

Saddam was not in court.

The session opened with former Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan saying that he rejects the court-appointed lawyer. Chief Judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman said he could present his own summation.

Ramadan said:

"I refuse these procedures and I will not present my own defence.

I do not know who this lawyer is, or his name

The other defendant due to present a summation was Anwar al-Bandar.

Once the summations are complete, the five judge panel will adjourn to consider a verdict. That may be ready by mid August.

On August 21st, Saddam will stand trial for the suppression of Iraqi Kurds in the 1980's.

Saddam may wish to start eating again, before the verdict and the next trial, unless he genuinely wishes to die.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Saddam "Graciously" Appears

Saddam Hussein graciously agreed to appear at his own trial today, despite the fact that he had been in hospital as a result of a 16 day hunger strike.

Needless to say he could not resist grandstanding, and complained that he had been brought to the court against his will. He then went on to reject the tribunal as an agent of the U.S. occupation.


"The Americans insisted that I come against my will. This is not fair."

Saddam then went on to make a statement beginning with a verse from the Quran.

"If you were a real Iraqi, you would know that your country is going through extraordinary conditions.

We not only resist this occupation. We do not acknowledge it. We do not acknowledge all the decisions it has made, including appointing the so-called government and this court you represent

Chief Judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman interrupted, and noted that Saddam was talking nonsense:

"You were not brought here against your will. Here's the medical report and it indicates that you are in good shape."

To which Saddam retorted:

"I didn't say I was ill, I was on a hunger strike."

Saddam then objected to having a court-appointed attorney deliver the final summation on his behalf. It should be noted that his regular defence team have boycotted the proceedings.

The judge was having none of that:

"Where are your lawyers?

They're staying outside in front of the TV screens and inciting violence. Those are lawyers? Having millions of dinars? Listen Saddam Hussein, your lawyers have millions of dinars and are inciting violence

Saddam then decided to interrupt the lawyer:

"You are my enemy. Who appointed you?

I challenge you to read this on your own. He probably didn't even write this. The American agent, the spy probably wrote this for him

Despite the delaying tactics, and the amateur theatricals, the wheels of justice continue to turn. The court is expected to adjourn following final summations for all of the eight defendants and then render a verdict, this is expected to be by mid-August.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Saddam No Show

The trial of Saddam Hussein resumed on Monday without the main man, who was in hospital being fed by drip (as a result of his 16 day hunger strike).

Saddam's defence team boycotted Monday's session, they are protesting about what they claim is the court's refusal to meet their demands for a fair trial.

The case is now in summation mode.

In the event that anyone is worried about Saddam, it seems that he will survive his self imposed hunger strike.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Saddam In Hospital

Saddam Hussein has been taken to hospital as a result of his hunger strike.

Hussein stopped eating on 7 July, in protest at the murder of his lawyer.

Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi said:

"We took him to hospital and he is being currently fed by a tube."

Saddam had been due to appear in court today. However, Mr Moussawi said that he would be unable to attend.

Mr Moussawi then warned Saddam's lawyers that they would be committing an offence if they did not attend.

All sounds a bit too theatrical.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

New Judge

Judge Aref Shahin has become the president of the Iraqi High Tribunal that is trying Saddam Hussein.

Shahin is replacing Jamal Mustapha, who died of cancer this month.

Shahin will also become the head of Iraq’s highest appeals court.

A second trial of Hussein and six co-defendants will begin on August 21.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

No Show

The trial of Saddam Hussein and seven co-defendants was adjourned yesterday until July 24.

The proceedings have not been helped by the absence of Saddam's lawyers, who have boycotted the past two days of proceedings.

Presiding Judge Raouf Rasheed Abdel-Rahman has named substitute lawyers, and warned that they would make the defendants' final arguments if the original lawyers don't bother to show up.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Little Saddam

Iraq has released its "most wanted" list, within which is a certain Raghad Hussein (eldest daughter of Saddam Hussein).

Raghad is known to have the same "endearing" temperament as her father, ie she is irascible and not one to cross, and as such is known as "Little Saddam".

When her brothers, Uday and Qusay, were killed by US troops in July 2003, Raghad and her sister Rana left Syria to seek refuge in Jordan. Their mother and a third daughter Hala, whose husband is in prison, went to Qatar.

Raghad has taken charge of the defence of Saddam, hiring and firing lawyers.

A former member of Saddam's defence committee said, in a newspaper interview, that it would not be surprising if she were aiding Iraqi resistance.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Fair Trial

US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, one of Saddam Hussein's defence team, has spoken out about his fears for Saddam getting a fair trial for genocide in August.

He believes that the security situation in Baghdad is untenable, as demonstrated by the murders of three of Saddam's defence team during the current trial.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Second Trial

The second trial of Saddam Hussein will begin on August 21. In this one he will face charges relating to the campaign against Iraqi Kurds in the late 1980s.

The Iraqi High Tribunal charged Saddam with genocide in April, after investigative judge Ra'id Juhi announced investigators had completed their work gathering witnesses and evidence and were ready to go to trial.

The campaign included the gassing of 5,000 civilians in the village of Halabja in 1988, this will be prosecuted separately.

The total mortality rate is estimated at between 50,000 to 200,000.

The question is, given the ongoing killings of various members of the defence team and instability in Iraq will there be anyone left to conduct the trial?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Saddam Delusional

It seems that Saddam Hussein has become delusional, that at least is the only conclusion that one can draw from the interview that Khalil al-Dulaimi (the head of Saddam's defence team) gave the other day.

In the interview, Khalil al-Dulaimi said that Saddam is the key to returning stability to Iraq.


"He's their last resort. They're going to knock at his door eventually.

Saddam is the only person who can stop the resistance against the US troops

Seemingly Saddam raised the topic during a meeting, and indicated that he would be willing to help the US "for the sake of saving both peoples - the Iraqis and Americans."

I believe that the Americans will only consider that offer when, how does the phrase go?

"Hell freezes over!"

Monday, June 26, 2006

Saddam Ends Hunger Strike

Less than 24 hours after starting their hunger strike in protest at the murder of one of their lawyers, Saddam Hussein and his entourage have ended it.

They stopped their strike Thursday evening, just hours after they had announced it.

Another piece of pointless grandstanding.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Saddam On Hunger Strike

Saddam Hussein has started a hunger strike as a protest over the killing of a senior defence lawyer at his trial.

Khamis al-Obeidi's body was found dumped in Baghdad, hours after he was abducted from his home.

Saddam Hussein and his seven co-accused have vowed not to eat until their defence team received "international protection".

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Saddam's Lawyer Murdered

The body of Khamees al-Ubaidi, one of Saddam Hussein's main defence lawyers, has been found by Iraqi police today.

It was riddled with bullets.

Khamees al-Ubaidi is the third member of the defence team to have been killed since the start of the trial.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Closing Arguments

The closing arguments are now being presented in the trial of Saddam Hussein. The prosecution has today called for the "heaviest possible penalty".

The final defence arguments are scheduled for 10 July, after which the five-judge panel will consider its verdict.

The prosecution lawyers said that the defendants had "carried out a systematic, wide-scale attack" in Dujail.

"They carried out broad imprisonments of men, women and children, who were exposed to physical and mental torture, including the use of electrical shocks."

They are demanding the maximum punishment for the defendants, ie the death penalty.

One of the defendants, Barzan al-Tikriti Saddam Hussein's half-brother, tried to interrupt Chief Judge Rauf Abdel Rahman several times.

The judge told him he would be able to speak after the prosecution had concluded its arguments.

The trial continues.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Deputy U.S. Marshal Mark Sweeting, who has played a role in guarding Saddam Hussein over the past six months, describes Saddam as being "congenial", in an interview with CBS.

Sounds like a case of the Stockholm syndrome.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Trial Adjourned

The trial of Saddam Hussein, and seven of his co-defendants, was adjourned yesterday until June 19.

The court has heard from all the defence witnesses. After hearing all the defence witnesses, Chief Judge Raouf Abdul Rahman said:

"The court has adjourned until June 19 and the prosecutor, complainers have to submit their memorandums at this date."

Yesterday the court heard from six witnesses, who were Saddam's former bodyguards and Saddam's half brother Sabaawi Ibrahim.

During Sabaawi's testimony, he had an argument with Judge Rahman. Rahman ordered the session to be closed after Ibrahim made negative comments about the presence of the U.S. forces in Iraq.

The trial resumes 19 June.