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

Friday, February 24, 2006

Lawyers Seek Dismissal of Judge

Lawyers defending Saddam Hussein have filed a formal motion seeking the disqualification of the chief judge, Rauf Abdel-Rahman.

Abdel-Rahman only began presiding over the trial last month, after his predecessor resigned having been criticised for being lenient.

Ramsey Clark, a former US attorney general and on Saddam's defence team, said about Abdel-Rahman:

"(he) is not impartial and has a manifested bias against defendant..Repeatedly violated standards of fair trial, human rights and basic due process in the courtroom."

Clark also said that Saddam may be allowed to meet with his lawyers, but that has yet to be confirmed.

The trial resumes on February 28th.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

AWB Scandal Continues

The scandal hit Australian wheat exporter, AWB, continues to attract the headlines in respect of its alleged kickbacks to Saddam Hussein.

AWB chairman Brendan Stewart told shareholders at yesterday's AGM, that he regrets the damage caused to AWB's reputation, by its role in the Iraqi oil for food program.

However, he refused to answer questions on issues relating to the scandal.

One shareholder demanded that the board be dissolved, another demanded that the directors step aside and another demanded that the election of directors be postponed until after the Cole Commission into the $300M kickback affair has released its findings.

Stewart did not accept these calls, and was re-elected unopposed.

However, there are rumours that Stewart, who is no longer going to Iraq as part of a trade delegation, was dumped after a federal cabinet discussion.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Bush Cherry Picked Reason For War

Paul Pillar, a former CIA National Intelligence officer with 28 years' experience, has set the cat amongst the pigeons in an article that he has written for the journal Foreign Affairs.

In the article he alleges that the Bush administration selectively chose parts of intelligence (ie "cherry picked") to justify its decision, already made, to invade Iraq.

The Administration has repeatedly denied manipulating intelligence.

Vice President Dick Cheney said last year:

"What is not legitimate, and what I will again say is dishonest and reprehensible, is the suggestion by some U.S. senators that the president of the United States or any member of his administration purposely misled the American people on prewar intelligence."

Intelligence officers have insisted that they did not distort the intelligence to satisfy the administration.

In a VOA interview, Paul Pillar alleges that Administration officials wanted to demonstrate a substantive link between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaida. He notes that no such links existed.


"The main thing that happened there, particularly with reference to this issue of, was there a relationship between the Saddam regime and al-Qaida -- was a selective use of bits and pieces of reporting to try to build the case that in this case there was some kind of alliance without really reflecting the analytic judgment of the intelligence community that there was not."

Pillar claims that, whilst there was no direct pressure to alter intelligence analyses, the Administration's determination to go to war created a climate that cut off objectivity and stopped dissenting views among intelligence analysts.


"If, instead, the analyst is operating in an environment in which he knows decisions have already been made, in which he knows the policymaker has a particular preference for what would suit his purposes in mustering support for that decision..well, that's an entirely different sort of thing."

The question that the American people need to ask is this:

Did President Bush take us to war to avenge his father, and use "exaggerated" intelligence to justify that decision?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Iraq Rejects Australian Wheat

On Sunday, a senior official with the Grain Board of Iraq told Dow Jones Newswires that it will buy a "good amount" of wheat from the U.S., Canada and Europe in its latest tender.

However, it would not buy Australian grain.

Wilson Tuckey, a former Australian minister, said that this rejection could be because of the kickbacks allegedly paid to Saddam Hussein's regime by AWB the Australian wheat monopoly.


"If 300 million (Australian) dollars went to someone who then used it buy ammunition and blow up my people, as a Shiite, I'd be uncomfortable about doing business with them."

Australia is currently conducting an inquiry into whether AWB breached Australian law by paying US$221.7M million in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime, during the UN oil-for-food program.

Iraq has suspended dealings with AWB until after the completion of the Australian inquiry, which is scheduled to report to government by March 31.

A clear cut case of what goes around, comes around.

This is a very good lesson for all companies to learn from, that they would be wise to take on board, namely; ensure that all business deals are ethical.

Monday, February 20, 2006

State Department Says That Iraq Needs Help

John Bellinger, State Department legal adviser, said in a briefing in Washington on the 15th that Iraqi officials need the world's help to document the abuses of Saddam Hussein's regime.


"This is a process that the Iraqis want to do themselves. They have experienced judges who are leading this process".

Bellinger claims that Iraq needs forensic experts to investigate mass grave sites, support for witness interviews and protection and legal experts to advise prosecutors.

Bellinger said that the Iraqi Special Tribunal originally mandated the assignment of international advisers to the court, but few countries have stepped forward to join the United States in that role.

Bellinger is quoted as saying:

"The international community has essentially turned its back on justice and accountability in Iraq."

It seems as though Washington is becoming worried about the handling of the trial, and the negative impact that it will have in the US.