Saddam tells lawyers he faces death without fear
By Suleiman al-Khalidi
Sat Nov 4, 2006
reuters.com/ news/articlenews .aspx?type=
worldnews&storyID=2006- 11-05T020845Z_ 01_L04698451_ RTRUKOC_0_
AMMAN (Reuters) - A defiant Saddam Hussein shrugged off a possible
death sentence, saying he would die without fear and the U.S.
occupiers of his country would leave humiliated like they did in
Vietnam, his lawyers said on Saturday.
They said a jovial and highly spirited Saddam chatted with them for
more than three hours about the violence in Iraq and mounting U.S.
losses just hours before an expected death sentence on Sunday in his
trial for crimes against humanity.
The prospect of the sentence appeared to be the least of his concerns,
they said, his focus instead being on the insurgency and the rising
U.S. death toll.
"He was totally unconcerned about the verdict. In fact there was
derision about the court and this farce," Khalil al-Dulaimi, the
defense team's chief lawyer told Reuters by telephone from Baghdad.
"I will die with honor and with no fear, with pride for my country and
my Arab nation but the U.S. occupiers will leave in humiliation and
defeat," Saddam was quoted by the lawyers as saying.
Saddam seemed ecstatic when another lawyer gave him the Arabic version
of the book "My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope"
by Paul Bremer, who led the U.S. civilian occupation authority after
the 2003 invasion.
The lawyers who saw him said the former strongman, arrested in
December 2003, had scoffed at the book's title and said he could only
see a "doomed America sinking more and more in the Iraqi quagmire,
just like what happened in Vietnam".
"RIVERS OF BLOOD"
"They will see rivers of blood for years to come. It will dwarf
Vietnam," they quoted Saddam, 69, as saying.
"He has an awareness from the experiences of history that the Iraqi
people will never submit to occupation," said Wadoud Fawzi Shams
Eddin, a member of the defense team.
"He laughed and said the Americans were paying heavily for their
invasion which they thought would be picnic," said Issam Ghazzawi, a
Jordanian lawyer who also saw him on Saturday.
More than 100 U.S. soldiers died during October, the highest monthly
toll in nearly two years.
The lawyers said the toppled leader, wearing a dark gray suit with a
white shirt, was aware a death sentence was the likely outcome of the
year long trial.
Saddam, 69, and seven co-accused have been charged with crimes against
humanity for the killing of 148 Shi'ite villagers after an attempt on
his life in the town of Dujail in 1982.
But he seemed more concerned, as always, about news of more Americans
losses in Iraq.
"When the lawyers told him on Saturday the Americans had suffered
seven casualties, he nodded with a broad smile," Shams Eddin said.
To their surprise, his American captors had provided him with a radio
that enabled him to tune into the pro-U.S. Iraqi channels, the lawyers
That made him aware that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had put the
army on alert and that a curfew would keep Baghdad and two flashpoint
provinces locked down on Sunday.
"The brave Iraqi resistance are already defeating the greatest power
on earth and for me they are my idols and I will depart content they
have preserved Iraq and the Arab glory from the infidel," said one
lawyer who requested anonymity, recalling Saddam's last words to them
before they departed.
BUSH TO BE HANGED?
Jerry Mazza asks why Saddam is being hanged for killing so few Iraqis
when Bush killed so many more
A question about Saddam Hussein's death sentence
By Jerry Mazza
Nov 6, 2006
Online Journal Associate Editor
Since former Iraq president Saddam Hussein has been found guilty by a
special tribunal of crimes against humanity, and is to be punished by
hanging for the torture and execution of more than 100 people from a
small town north of Baghdad 24 years ago, then what is the sentence
that George Bush and Dick Cheney should receive for initiating a
unilateral war against Iraq, based on information that was proven
totally false and resulted in the following?
A study at Johns Hopkins University has determined that some 650,000
Iraqi citizens and members of the insurgency have been killed.
Additionally, nearly 3,000 American soldiers have been killed for a
war that should never have happened. Again I ask what should George
Bush and Dick Cheney receive from an American or international court
of justice for these resultant crimes?
What's more, selecting this crime of Hussein raises more questions.
Hussein was convicted of the executions of 148 men and boys from the
town of Dujail, 35 miles north of Baghdad. This was following a failed
attempt at assassination against Saddam there in 1982. Hussein's
presidential convoy was riding through the town when it was shot at.
In response, Iraqi officials then ordered hundreds of people rounded
up. The town's buildings were leveled and its orchards destroyed.
Additionally ten of the people executed were boys ranging in age from
11 to 17 at the time. They were held in jail untill age 18 and then
hanged. None of this is pretty and most of it seems somewhat over the
top. Yet Hussein himself asked, "Where is the crime?"
For instance if this had been an assassination attempt on George Bush
riding somewhere, either at home or abroad, I wonder truly what the
reaction would have been. We have heard him express his wrath against
Hussein over the purported attempt on "his daddy's (George HW Bush's)
life," in 1993.
Taking a closer look at that event, Seymour Hersh tells us in "A Case
Not Closed," in the November 1, 1993 New Yorker . . .
"A senior White House official recently told me that one of the
seemingly most persuasive elements of the report had been overstated
and was essentially incorrect. And none of the Clinton Administration
officials I interviewed over a ten-week period this summer claimed
that there was any empirical evidence -- a "smoking gun" -- directly
linking Saddam or any of his senior advisers to the alleged
assassination attempt. . . ."
Nevertheless, Hersh's opening paragraph tells us, "On Saturday, June
26, 1993, twenty-three Tomahawk guided missiles, each loaded with a
thousand pounds of high explosives, were fired from American Navy
warships in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea at the headquarters
complex of the Mukhabarat, the Iraqi intelligence service, in downtown
Baghdad. . . .
"Three of the million-dollar missiles missed their target and landed
on nearby homes, killing eight civilians, including Layla al-Attar,
one of Iraq's most gifted artists. The death toll was considered
acceptable by the White House; after all, scores of civilians had been
killed in the Reagan Administration's F-111 bombing attack on Muammar
Qaddafi's house-and-office complex in Tripoli Libya, in 1986. . . ."
So in essence it was a US over-the-top reaction to a basically
unfounded claim. Yet, Bush II was still using this flawed excuse for
vengeance (among others) as a reason to engage in an illegal war with
Iraq in 2002-03. Bush's main reasons were Saddam's purported
possession of nuclear weapons and his immediate intention to use them,
all proven lies.
What's more, we are now at a point in US history where anyone
suspected of aiding or abetting "terrorism" can be summarily picked
up, tortured, and disappeared in a "terrorist" prison for life. All of
an individual's assets can be frozen and a right to a trial or habeas
corpus denied. Any suspected accessories to the fact can be hauled
away as well for an indefinite period of time. So much for a reaction
to a real or purported presidential assassination attempt: the
possibilities are endless.
A last question arises as well. Wouldn't one of Hussein's more
formidable and horrific crimes have been appropriate for the death
sentence? Like the one in a second case Hussein is on trial for, in
which he is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. This is
for the killings of as many as 100,000 Kurds, many allegedly with
poison gas, in the so-called Anfal campaign in 1987 and 1988. In fact,
if the appeals panel rules against Hussein's appeal for the
significantly lesser Dujail crime and upholds his death sentence,
Hussein could be executed before the conclusion of the second trial,
which, if proved, more truly dramatizes the brutality and scope of
Why we would rush to hang him on the considerably lesser offense, and
even make him a kind of martyr to his followers? Could it be that we
need a pre-election day "hanging announcement" to bump up the ratings
of a failing George Bush, his Republicans and their unsuccessful
illegal Iraq war?
Unfortunately, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have yet to be indicted
for genocide, murder or treason, let alone for their massive
corruption and misuse of taxpayer money in Iraq. The real question is
how long will we have to wait for these hard- earned Bush/Cheney trials?
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York City. Reach him
at gvmaz @ verizon.net.
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