Well, What Did You Expect?  

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Saddam Pleads Innocent to Murder, Torture

By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press Writer
(Associated Press reporters Mariam Fam, Omar Sinan, Qassim Abdul-Zahra, Sameer N. Yacoub and Thomas Wagner contributed to this report.)

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Saddam Hussein pleaded innocent to charges of premeditated murder and torture Wednesday, arguing with judges and challenging the legitimacy of the court as his trial opened under heavy security in the former headquarters of his Baath Party.
Oh, really? Innocent? That's a good one. Of course, no one should be surprised. What does ol' Saddy have to lose? If he pleads guilty, he gets put to death. After all he's pleading guilty to killing off 150 of his own people in that situation. Of course, the evidence is most likely overwhelming, and even if he's found innocent, it's highly unlikely the free people of Iraq will let him live, anyway. The guy's a dead man no matter what he does.
Saddam and seven former members of his regime could face the death penalty if convicted over the 1982 massacre of nearly 150 Shiites in the town of Dujail.
Only seven? I think the court is going easy on them.
After presiding judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin read the defendants their rights and the charges against them - which also include forced expulsions and illegal imprisonment - he asked each for their plea. He started with the ousted dictator, saying "Mr. Saddam, go ahead. Are you guilty or innocent?"

Saddam could be seen saying something too quietly to be heard, and Amin read out the plea: "Innocent."
Yeah, right. You're innocent, and I'm the Michelin Man.
Earlier, at the opening of the trial, the 68-year-old ousted Iraqi leader - looking thin with a salt-and-pepper beard in a dark gray suit and open-collared white shirt - stood and asked the presiding judge: "Who are you? I want to know who you are."
Such a nice thing to say to someone who holds your life in his hands, now isn't it?
"I do not respond to this so-called court, with all due respect to its people, and I retain my constitutional right as the president of Iraq," he said, brushing off the judge's attempts to interrupt him. "Neither do I recognize the body that has designated and authorized you, nor the aggression because all that has been built on false basis is false."
You WILL respond to this court, one way or the other. Somehow, I doubt your words about due respect to the people of Iraq involve much real respect, as evidenced by your comment about not recognizing the body that has designated and authorized the court, which happens to be those very same people. Oh, and in case you hadn't noticed, you have no rights as the president of Iraq. Someone else is sitting in that office now. The aggression that took you out was nothing compared to what you are accused of. The people you killed never even got the courtesy of a trial like you are getting.
Amin, a Kurd, tried to get Saddam to formally identify himself but Saddam refused and finally sat. Amin read his name for him, calling him the "former president of Iraq," bringing a protest from Saddam, who insisted he was still in the post.
Still in the post? Are there any doubts as to this man's sanity now? Perhaps that's going to be your defense?
The panel of five judges will both hear the case and render a verdict in what could be the first of several trials of Saddam for atrocities carried out during his 23-year-rule.

The defendants sat in three rows of black chairs, with Saddam in the first row, partitioned behind a low white metal barrier, in the center of the court directly in front of the judges bench.
A sweet scene. A career criminal gets his day in court.
Starting the session, Amin called the defendants into the room one by one. Saddam was the last to enter, escorted by two Iraqi guards in bulletproof vests who guided him by the elbow. He glanced at journalists watching through bulletproof glass from an adjoining room. He motioned for his escorts to slow down a little.

After sitting, he greeted his co-defendants, saying "Peace be upon you," sitting next to co-defendant Awad Hamed al-Bandar, former head of Iraq's Revolutionary Court.
PEACE be upon you? Is that what you said before you murdered all those people too? I'm looking forward to the day you find your eternal peace. Or damnation, whichever the case may be.
The other defendants include Saddam's former intelligence chief Barazan Ibrahim, former vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan and other lower-level Baathist civil servants. Most were wearing traditional Arab robes and they complained that they were not allowed to have headdresses, so court officials brought out red headdresses for them. Many Sunni Arabs consider it shameful to appear in public without the checkered scarf, tied by a cord around the forehead.
I'm not a Sunni Arab, but I do find it shameful when people participate in the systematic attempt to eradicate innocent people from the world. If not for fair justice, that cord wouldn't be around your forehead, Taha, it would be securely tied around your neck with the other end securely attached to the rear bumper of my Chevrolet.
Ramadan also refused to identify himself to the judge. "I repeat what President Saddam Hussein has said," he added. The other defendants stood one by one and stated their names.
Yeah, yeah. Just parrot the ol' talking points. You are such a good Democrat. Now go fuck yourself.
The trial is taking place in the marble building that once served as the National Command Headquarters of his feared Baath Party. The building in Baghdad's Green Zone - the heavily fortified district where Iraq's government, parliament and the U.S. Embassy are located - was ringed with 10-foot blast walls and U.S. and Iraqi troops, with several Humvees and at least one tank deployed outside. U.S. soldiers led sniffer dogs around the grounds, looking for explosives.
Kinda nice that US soldiers are working hard to preserve this asshole's life now, isn't it?
The identities of judges had been a tightly held secret to ensure their safety, though Amin's name was revealed just before the trial began. The courtroom camera repeatedly focused on him.

The defendants are facing charges that they ordered the killings in 1982 of nearly 150 people in the mainly Shiite village of Dujail north of Baghdad after a failed attempt on the former dictator's life.
THIS attempt will NOT fail.
In Wednesday's session, the defense is expected to ask for a three-month adjournment. The court is expected to grant one, though for how long is not known.
It's going to take a lot more than three months to find anything that will clear your client, dumbass. That which doesn't exist isn't easily found. Unless, of course, you make it up like the Left does every day.
The trial was aired with around a 20-minute delay on state-run Iraqi television and on satellite stations across Iraq and the Arab world, though it cut out occasionally and sound quality was often poor.

Many Iraqis were gathered around sets to watch. Salman Zaboun Shanan, a Shiite construction worker, sat with his family at home in Baghdad's Shiite neighborhood of Kazimiyah, having taken the day off from work to watch the trial. When Saddam appeared on television, Shanan's wife Sabiha Hassan spit.
Any doubts as to this man's fate, regardless of the outcome of the trial?
"I hope he is executed, and that anyone who suffered can take a piece of his flesh," said Shanan, who was imprisoned during Saddam's rule, as was Sabiha and several of their sons.
Given this man's record, I doubt there's enough flesh to go around.
But across the Tigris River in the mainly Sunni Arab district of Azamiyah, some were embittered over the trial of Saddam, whose regime was dominated by Sunni Arabs who have now lost their power.

"Saddam is the lesser of evils," said Sahab Awad Maaruf, an engineer, comparing Saddam to the current Shiite-Kurdish led government. "He's the only legitimate leader for Iraqis."
Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. The governed in Iraq don't consent to his leadership. Now, bringing you back to reality, would you consent to being governed by a guy who has done these kinds of things? At some point you will have to face the truth, which is that as soon as this creep had finished doing away with the Kurds and the Shiites, you may very well have been next. Would you still be defending him as the "only legitimate leader for Iraqis" then? Oh, and on that same note, when you say that Saddam is "the lesser of evils", you are saying that he is a lesser evil than yourself. Your new constitution gives YOU the ultimate power to govern yourself. Do you somehow have a problem with other Iraqis having the same power?
In particular, the Shiite Muslim majority and the Kurdish minority - the two communities most oppressed by Saddam's regime - have eagerly awaited the chance to see the man who ruled Iraq with unquestioned and total power held to justice.

The world will be watching Saddam's trial to see whether Iraq's new Shiite and Kurdish leaders can rise above politics and prejudice and give the former dictator a fair hearing. Human rights group have criticized the government for trying to influence the trial and that considerable U.S. logistical and financial aid to the tribunal could lend credibility to charges that it will mete out "victors' justice."
Look, I want ol' Saddy to have a fair trial as much as the next guy. However, let's look at the reality here. None of the 150 people he killed got a trial at all, let alone a fair one. None of the hundreds of thousands of people who have been found in mass graves (reminiscent of Nazi Germany) got a trial. None of the many women raped in front of their husbands by goons in Saddy's regime got a trial, nor did their husbands, who were subsequently tortured and/or murdered. It won't be the end of the world if ol' Saddy's trial isn't the most fair one in history.
The court is also operating not only under its own rules - laid out when the court was created in 2003 while Iraq was still run by American administrators - but also by a 1971 Saddam-era criminal law that some have criticized as not up to international standards.
Saddam being tried under an illegitimate law that he created? Tell me THAT isn't poetic fuckin' justice! Also, who gives a flying fuck about "international standards"? That's like saying the US courts are beholden to the World Court or the United Nations, two organizations that have absolutly no real power to enforce anything, including "international standards". Think about it. How many of its Security Council resolutions did it enforce with regard to Saddam himself? NONE. They left it up to the good ol' USA. International standards, MY ASS.
That law says the judges can issue a guilty verdict if they are "satisfied" by the evidence - seen as lower standard of proof than "convinced beyond a reasonable doubt."
DEFINITELY a lower standard of proof. And frankly, my dear Saddy, I don't give a damn.
Saddam's defense lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi said Tuesday he would ask for the postponement so he can better prepare the case.

He will also challenge the special tribunal's competence to try the case, arguing that Saddam remains the legitimate president and the court is illegal, because it was created under U.S. occupation.
You will lose on all counts, old man. Amin has his shi'ite together, and he's quite competent. He's been interviewed on television, and it is clear that he's as competent as any constitutionalist judge in the United States. The Iraqis have already spoken as to your leadership, so you lose there, too. As for the US occupation, had you followed the rules you agreed to in your 1991 armistice, there would be no US occupation. When you agree not to fire on US planes, and then fire on US planes, the US will rain down fire and brimstone upon you. You have brought ALL of this upon yourself, so please shut the fuck up.
Saddam was ousted after U.S.-led forces swept into Iraq in March 2003 and marched in to Baghdad. He fled the capital and was on the run for nearly eight months, until American forces found in him hiding in a cellar in a rural area outside his hometown of Tikrit north of Baghdad on Dec. 13, 2003.

He has been held since in a U.S. detention facility at Baghdad International Airport.
He's lucky he wasn't just shot on the spot. That's what he would have done. Of course, we Americans don't work that way. Lucky for Saddam, we Americans have a sense of right and wrong.
Prosecutors are preparing other cases to bring to trial against Saddam and his officials - including for the Anfal Operation, a military crackdown on the Kurds in the late 1980s that killed some 180,000 people; the suppression of Kurdish and Shiite revolts in 1991; and the deaths of 5,000 Kurds in a 1988 poison gas attack on the village of Halabja.
No weapons of mass destruction? PLEASE!
If a death sentence is issued in the Dujail case, it is unclear whether it would be carried out regardless of whether Saddam is involved in other trials. He can appeal a Dujail verdict, but if a conviction and sentence are upheld, the sentence must be carried out within 30 days. A stay could be granted to allow other trials to proceed.
Said stay would make no sense whatsoever. How many death sentences would have to be issued before one is carried out? If ol' Saddy has to stand trial for every crime brought against him, he'll likely die of old age before any sentence is carried out at all. Try his sorry ass post mordem if you want some resolution. Maybe he'll stand a better chance of experiencing some mercy when he meets his maker.