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, 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.