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Saddam - capture & trial

THIS IS YOUR FUTURE, FOREVER!!!i spy for the FBI, or is it the CIA? it's so long ago ...i can't recall!

Saddam reached deal with US before attack: Primakov

MOSCOW: Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein cut a deal with the United States before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, former Russian prime minister Yevgeny Primakov said in an interview published on Thursday.

"There was an understanding with the Americans, as paradoxical as it may seem," Primakov told the Russian daily Gazeta in a lengthy interview.

"Why weren't the bridges of the Tigris blown up when the American tanks approached Baghdad? Why weren't Iraqi aviation and tanks used, and where are they now?" asked Primakov, a former head of the Russian secret service and a specialist in Arab affairs who was formerly on good terms with Saddam. Daily Times

So...where was Saddam Hussien hiding ? [ $ ] [ $ ]

where did he go? Down a Hole??? and more importantly, where did he come from---[realvideo the making of a dictator]


- "we got him..." Bremer said...arrogantly, to whoops of gameshow proportions.

we got him...Bremer said...arrogantly to whoops of gameshow proportions

see photo gallery

"On December 15th, the head of the U.S. occupation in Iraq, Paul Bremer, held an early morning press conference. His first words were "Ladies and Gentlemen, we got him." This was how millions of people around the world learned of the capture of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein."

"Yvonne Ridley [who] reported in last weekend's Sunday Express that Saddam Hussein was actually captured by Kurdish forces who then drugged him and abandoned him for U.S. troops to find after brokering a deal. In 2001, Ridley was imprisoned for 10 days by the Taliban while on assignment in Afghanistan."

Democracy now



Strange co-incidence...NOT!!!

"A tribal chief in the northern Iraqi village of Ad-Dawr where Saddam was captured said the former dictator hid in the same farm where he had sought refuge as a young man in 1959 after a botched assassination bid on then president Abdul Karim Qassim."

Iraq's oil pipelines attacked as details surface of Saddam's final refuge

"Saddam was not captured as a result of any American or British intelligence. We knew that someone would eventually take their revenge, it was just a matter of time."

Saddam held by Kurds, drugged and left for US troops: report Hindustan Times

According to Debka.com, there is a possibility that Saddam was held for up to three weeks in al-Dwar by a Kurdish splinter group while they negotiated a handover to the Americans in return for the $25m reward. This, the writers say would explain his dishevelled and disorientated appearance.

But perhaps the mother of all conspiracy theories, is the one about the pictures distributed by the Americans showing the hideout with a palm tree behind the soldier who uncov ered the hole where Saddam was hiding. The palm carried a cluster of pre-ripened yellow dates, which might suggest that Saddam was arrested at least three months earlier, because dates ripen in the summer when they turn into their black or brown colour.

Revealed: who really found Saddam? Sunday Herald


[If you did these pics - thank you]


"We are seeing an orchestrated media campaign by the administration and a psychological operation aimed at the insurgents in Iraq. The success of this campaign can be measured by recent articles in The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor."

Revealed -- Saddam's Network or a PSYOPS Campaign? By Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner, Ret.

Public version of Saddam capture fiction [damage limitation?]

A former U.S. Marine who participated in capturing ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said the public version of his capture was fabricated.

Ex-Sgt. Nadim Abou Rabeh, of Lebanese descent, was quoted in the Saudi daily al-Medina Wednesday as saying Saddam was actually captured Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, and not the day after, as announced by the U.S. Army.

"I was among the 20-man unit, including eight of Arab descent, who searched for Saddam for three days in the area of Dour near Tikrit, and we found him in a modest home in a small village and not in a hole as announced," Abou Rabeh said.

"We captured him after fierce resistance during which a Marine of Sudanese origin was killed," he said.

He said Saddam himself fired at them with a gun from the window of a room on the second floor. "Then they shouted at him in Arabic: You have to surrender. ... There is no point in resisting."

"Later on, a military production team fabricated the film of Saddam's capture in a hole, which was in fact a deserted well," Abou Rabeh said.

Abou Rabeh was interviewed in Lebanon. Big News Network.com - Thursday 10th March, 2005 (UPI)


Saddam Could Call CIA in His Defence

Sanjay Suri [exerpt]

A report prepared by the top CIA official handling the matter says Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the massacre, and indicates that it was the work of Iranians. Further, the Scott inquiry on the role of the British government has gathered evidence that following the massacre the United States in fact armed Saddam Hussein to counter the Iranians chemicals for chemicals.

Few believe that a CIA man would attend a court hearing in Baghdad in defence of Saddam. But in this case the CIA boss has gone public with his evidence, and this evidence has been in the public domain for more than a year.

The CIA officer Stephen C. Pelletiere was the agency's senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. As professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000, he says he was privy to much of the classified material that flowed through Washington having to do with the Persian Gulf.

In addition, he says he headed a 1991 Army investigation into how the Iraqis would fight a war against the United States, and the classified version of the report went into great detail on the Halabja affair.

Pelletiere went public with his information on no less a platform than The New York Times in an article on January 31 last year titled 'A War Crime or an Act of War?' The article which challenged the case for war quoted U.S. President George W. Bush as saying: The dictator who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages, leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind or disfigured.

Pelletiere says the United States Defence Intelligence Agency investigated and produced a classified report following the Halabja gassing, which it circulated within the intelligence community on a need- to-know basis. That study asserted that it was Iranian gas that killed the Kurds, not Iraqi gas, he wrote in The New York Times.

The agency did find that each side used gas against the other in the battle around Halabja, he said. The condition of the dead Kurds' bodies, however, indicated they had been killed with a blood agent -- that is, a cyanide-based gas -- which Iran was known to use. The Iraqis, who are thought to have used mustard gas in the battle, are not known to have possessed blood agents at the time.

Pelletiere writes that these facts have long been in the public domain but, extraordinarily, as often as the Halabja affair is cited, they are rarely mentioned.

more at the Source

Saudi Base to Close, Ops Center Moves to Qatar

By Jim Garamone American Forces Press Service

PRINCE SULTAN AIR BASE, Saudi Arabia, April 29, 2003 -- DoD officials said that the combined air operations center at this base will be mothballed and all U.S. aircraft operating from here will be gone by August.

The decision was made by "mutual agreement," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said following a meeting with Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Saudi defense minister, in Riyadh today. The secretary and minister discussed the changes taking place in the region.

"It is now a safer region with the change of regime in Iraq," Rumsfeld said. But this does not mean an end to the Saudi-U.S. relationship, he noted. The military training and exercise program will move to the fore, and in the months and years ahead, the air base could still be used temporarily for exercises.
defense link

Saddam's depressed about trial

June 6, 2005 - BAGHDAD: Saddam Hussein's morale has plummeted due to the gravity of the war crimes charges he faces, said the chief investigating judge trying him.

Raid Juhi, head of the Iraqi Special Tribunal set up to try the ousted president, said he and some of the 11 other detained former regime figures face 12 cases carrying punishment from life in jail to the death penalty.

"Saddam has suffered a collapse in his morale because he understands the extent of the charges against him and because he's certain that he will stand trial before an impartial court," Juhi said.

Saddam, held in a US-run facility, was captured in 2003. Charges include killing rival politicians during his 30-year rule, gassing Kurds, invading Kuwait and suppressing Kurdish and Shi'ite uprisings in 1991. - daily telegraph

Deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is depressed and has begged the Iraqi government for mercy, Iraq's Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said in an interview published on Monday.

'He is distraught and depressed,' Allawi said of Saddam

The portrait painted by Allawi differed sharply from that in a New York Times account published over the weekend, based on interviews with U.S. and Iraqi officials who have visited the former dictator in his air-conditioned 10-by-13-foot cell on the grounds of one of his former palaces.

'Distraught' Saddam begging for mercy, Iraqi PM says

Why is Neocon Puppet Allawi spinning Saddam as 'depressed'

Saddam Hussein to be suicided? Why... if it isn't really him?

The Trial

The Iraqi Special Tribunal was established according to the statute no. (1) dated 10.12.2003 enacted by the Iraqi Governing Counsel. The tribunal was recognizing the wishes of the Iraqi people to establish a legal instrument suitable for proving their rights and uncovering the truth about what happened during the past years.

The statute of the Iraqi Special Tribunal was drafted by the legal committee of the governing Counsel and followed significant consultation with the legal staff and other experts in the coalition provisional authority and other government officials of countries connected with the coalition. Some of these experts had significant expertise in the field of prosecution of war crimes. In addition, the drafters of the statute consulted international experts in the field, as well as some non-governmental organizations. Finally, the drafters of the statute consulted Iraqi lawyers and judges who provided advice on Iraqi criminal law and the Iraqi criminal procedures law.

The intention of the drafters of the statute was to attempt insofar as possible to comply with international standards of due process of law and to focus on the crimes committed under international law, such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. At the same time, the drafters of the statute had to take into account the wishes of the Iraqi people, namely that this process needed to substantially be an Iraqi process. The governing Counsel further concluded that, with international assistance, the Iraqi judicial process would be able to pursue an accountability process. - iraq-ist.org

Al-Dujail crimes main detainees

1-Barzan Ibrahim Al-Hassan. Saddam's half brother

2-Taha Yasin Ramadan.

3-Awad Hamed Al-Bander Al-S'adun.

4-Abdullah Kadem Roweed.

5-Mizher Abdullah Kadem Roweed.

er...No photos of Saddam Hussein on this site???

Do Centcoms Psyops central own the rights?

Saddam goes on trial for 1982 massacre

October 19, 2005 BAGHDAD, Iraq-- Saddam Hussein went on trial Wednesday for alleged crimes against fellow Iraqis, appearing in a tightly secured courtroom in the former headquarters of his Baath Party two years after his capture. He faces charges in a 1982 massacre of nearly 150 Shiites that could carry the death penalty if he is convicted.

The 68-year-old ousted Iraqi leader and his seven co-defendants-- top officials and lower civil servants from his Baathist regime-- were called in one by one into the courtroom. Saddam came in last, escorted by two Iraqi guards in bulletproof vests who guided him by the elbow.

Entering the room, Saddam-- looking thin in a dark grey suit and open collared white shirt-- glanced at journalists watching through bulletproof glass from an adjoining room. He motioned for his escorts to slow down a little.

Saddam sat in the front of two rows of seats for defendants in the center of the court, directly facing the panel of five judges, who 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 judges entered the court at 12:15 p.m., before the defendants. When all were seated, the chief judge-- Rizgar Mohammed Amin, a Kurd-- called the court to session.

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. Several Humvees and at least one tank were deployed outside, and U.S. soldiers led sniffer dogs around the grounds, looking for explosives.

The identities of judges have been a tightly held secret to ensure their safety, though Amin's name was revealed on Wednesday just before the trial began. But the chief judge's name was released, and the courtroom camera repeatedly focused on him.

Saddam and the others are facing charges that they ordered the killing 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.

If convicted, the men face the death penalty-- by hanging.

In Wednesday's session, the charges are to be read out for the first time, and defense is expected to ask for a three-month adjournment. The court is expected to grant one, though for how long is not known.

The trial was aired with a 20-minute delay on state-run Iraqi television and on satellite stations across Iraq and the Arab world. Many Iraqis, particularly from 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.

"I'm very happy today. We've prayed for this day for years," said Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi, who was an anti-Saddam opposition leader in exile for years and now is one of the fiercest proponents of the purge of Baathists from the government.

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. "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. - suntimes.com

Fair Trial?

Rights Groups Concerned Over Saddam Trial

Rushed justice on the Dujail indictment could undermine court's credibility and leave other crimes unsolved

By ELAINE SHANNON/WASHINGTON - Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2005

Amnesty International spent years campaigning oon behalf of Saddam Hussein's victims; now the international human rights group wants to make sure the former dictator gets a fair trial. Amnesty is sending three observers to Saddam's trial, which starts Wednesday in Baghdad. Their mission? "To assess the trial's fairness," says Beth Ann Toupin, an Iraq specialist for the human rights group. "And to make clear we are committed to insuring that victims of human right abuses gain access to justice."

The Iraqi Special Tribunal before which Saddam is to appear will, on Wednesday, begin hearing only one of what could be many cases brought against Saddam. It concerns the torture and murder of 143 people in the town of Dujail in 1982 after some local men attempted to assassinate Saddam. If the former dictator and his seven co-defendants are convicted, Iraqi law calls for them to be executed within 30 days of their last appeal.

Amnesty International, which objects to capital punishment in all cases, contends that a rush to judgment and early executions will cut short the investigations of a long list of atrocities, including the massacres of 3,000 Kurds 1983 and the disappearance of a further 182,000 during the 1988 Anfal campaign, as well as the massacre of tens of thousands of Shiites during a 1991 uprising in southern Iraq and the persecution of the Marsh Arabs throughout the 1990s.

On Monday, Iraqi prime minister Ibrahim Jaafari, a Shiite whose brother and other male relatives died at the regime's hands, called for a quick trial and, according to the Associated Press, told reporters, "The Saddam trial is not a research project."

The U.S. government has a $75 million fund to support, equip, train and protect the Iraqi Special Tribunal, and many U.S. lawyers, academics and other advisors have been sent to Iraq to work with the panel. Still, the U.S. insists the tribunal is very much an Iraqi instrument. Last week a senior State Department official indicated that, if Saddam is sentenced to death in the Dujail case, the U.S. will not intervene to insist on a broader fact-finding effort. "It is possible that there could be one trial and … Anfal, the Kurds, all these other cases, would have to be settled in some other forum," the official said, suggesting this may take the form of "some type of remembrance ceremony or some type of truth ceremony or truth commission that would then be able to tell the story of what happened."

Ken Hurwitz of Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) warns that "it will be tremendous setback not only for the Iraqi people but also the international community if the court fails to conduct its proceedings in a credible manner that persuades the Iraqi people and the international community that it has been fair, that those responsible for some of the worst crimes of the 20th century are in fact the ones who have been convicted and that they in fact did commit those crimes."

As soon as the tribunal is gaveled to order, however, Saddam's lawyers say they will move for a delay in the proceedings so that they can study a vast array of documents amassed by the Iraqi prosecution and provided to the defense team only last month. The tribunal's reaction, says Hurwitz, will be the first test of its impartiality. Such a motion would normally be considered justified in a U.S. court because of the volume of the documents to be reviewed. If the Iraqi judges deny it, says Hurwitz, "that will raise serious questions of fairness." - Time

Saddam argues - blacked out by TV

Saddam argues with judge at start of trial

19/10/2005 - 11:33:30 Saddam Hussein went on trial today for alleged crimes against fellow Iraqis, turning immediately argumentative as he appeared in a tightly secured courtroom in the former headquarters of his Baath Party two years after his capture.He faces charges in a 1982 massacre of nearly 150 Shiites that could carry the death penalty if he is convicted.

When the trial began, the 68-year-old ousted Iraqi leader - looking thin with a salt-and-pepper beard in a dark grey suit and open-collar white shirt - stood and asked the presiding judge: "Who are you? I want to know who you are."

"I preserve my constitutional rights as the president of Iraq," Saddam said. "I do not recognise the body that has authorised you and I don't recognise this aggression. What is based on injustice is unjust … I do not respond to this so-called court, with all due respect."

The presiding judge, Rizgar Mohammed Amin, a Kurd, tried to get Saddam to formally identify himself but Saddam refused. Finally, Saddam sat.

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 were seated in two rows of black chairs, partitioned behind a low white metal barrier, in the centre of the court directly in front of the judges bench.

Starting the session, Amin called Saddam and his seven co-defendants into the room one by one. Saddam was the last to enter, escorted by two Iraqi guards in bullet-proof vests who guided him by the elbow. He glanced at journalists watching through bullet-proof 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.

The other defendants include Saddam's former intelligence chief, his former vice president and other lower-level Baathist civil servants. Most were wearing traditional Arab robes and they complained that they were not allowed to have head-dresses, so court officials brought out head-dresses for them.

Many Sunni Arabs consider it shameful to appear in public without the chequered headscarf, tied by a cord around the forehead.

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 US Embassy are located - was ringed with 10-foot blast walls and US and Iraqi troops, with several Humvees and at least one tank deployed outside.

US soldiers led sniffer dogs around the grounds, looking for explosives.

The identities of judges have been a tightly held secret to ensure their safety, though Amin's name was revealed today just before the trial began.

Saddam and the others are facing charges that they ordered the killing 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.

If convicted, the men face the death penalty - by hanging.

In today's session, the charges are to be read out for the first time, and defence is expected to ask for a three-month adjournment. The court is expected to grant one, though for how long is not known. The trial was aired with around a 30-minute delay on state-run Iraqi television and on satellite stations across Iraq and the Arab world. After about 40 minutes, the television feed cut out. The reason was not known.

Many Iraqis were gathered around sets to watch.

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. - IOL

Flashback: Daughter of slain Iraqi opposition leader says
US helped Saddam in 1993 to quash coup attempt

Al-Bawaba December 20, 2003

The daughter of a prominent Iraqi opposition leader, who was assassinated in Beirut by Saddam Hussein's secret service in 1994 said she would sue the ousted Iraqi president before three international courts, charging that the U.S. was a virtual accomplice in her father's murder.

Nora al Tamimi, daughter of slain Iraqi opposition activist Taleb al Suhail al Tamimi, said from Beirut in a newspaper interview published Saturday that her father had planned a coup d'etat to overthrow Saddam in 1993, operating from Beirut and Amman.

"Zero hour was set for a certain June day in 1993 to stage the coup when Saddam would have been sponsoring an official event in Baghdad," Nora told the London-based Asharq Al Awsat newspaper in an interview conducted at the family house in Beirut. "But the Americans, who did not want the coup to succeed possibly because they were certain my father would not go along with their polices, tipped off Saddam about the impending putsch by my father and gave the names of his top aides," Nora said. "All of them died in Saddam's torture chambers."

Sheik Taleb Al Tamimi, who led a million-member Central Iraqi tribe called the Bani Tamim, was shot dead April 12, 1994 at his apartment in Beirut's Ein El Tineh district in an assassination officially blamed by the Lebanese authorities on four Iraqi embassy diplomats, who were detained and then released on the grounds they enjoyed diplomatic immunity, Nora recalled.

Saddam has severed Baghdad's diplomatic ties with Beirut upon the detention of the four.

Nora said she plans to sue Saddam at the United Nations, before the International Court of Justice at The Hague and before the world organization of human rights. Nora said her sister Saffia, 38, a human rights activist, has already returned to Iraq and is currently making the needed arrangements in Baghdad to recover the family's bank accounts and property, which were confiscated by Saddam in 1968, when her father fled Iraq. She said the family would return to Iraq soon with the remains of her father for reburial in his native country. - Al-Bawaba via ccmep.org

Saddam to be sentenced to death for the crime of sentencing people to death...under the occupation of a country whose president...er...sentenced people to death

Bush's Death Factory

Published on Wednesday, October 25, 2000 in the Boston Globe by Derrick Z. Jackson

GEORGE W. BUSH'S dogged denial of factory defects in the death machinery of Texas invites memories of Lyndon Johnson telling us how we were defoliating the North Vietnamese into target range. In the beginning, one could charitably concede that the two men were merely bullheaded souls, filled with false pride and false missions, trying to persuade us we needed to slaughter some criminals or a whole nation into submission.

Johnson's stubbornness became massacres and suicide battles abroad and dead students at home. Bush's pathological denials have exploded into a time line that makes it easy to depict him, in the political sense, as a serial killer, indiscriminately dispensing with the despised and chuckling over their bodies.

Bush, remember, has gloated about the death penalty in more than just the presidential debates. He is the same Bush who last year ridiculed death row inmate Karla Faye Tucker, whining in mock exaggeration in an interview that Tucker begged, ''Please don't kill me.'' Bush, who has made his Christianity part of his resume, mocked Tucker even though she said she had found Christ.

In Texas, 232 people have been executed since 1973, and more than 450 are on death row. If Texas were a nation, it would rank fifth in the world in executions. Studies, reports, and exhaustive newspaper stories have shown that Texas is so careless in executing its executions that it, like Illinois, should call a moratorium on capital punishment.

In May, The Washington Post wrote how death penalty defendants receive lawyers who are chronically inexperienced, incompetent, and indifferent to the point of sleeping at trials. No matter. Bush said, ''I'm absolutely confident that everybody that has been put to death ... are guilty of the crime charged, and, secondly, they had full access to our courts.''

In June, the Chicago Tribune found that of 131 Texas executions done under Bush, there were 40 cases of the defense presenting no evidence during sentencing, 29 uses of psychiatric practices that have been condemned by the American Psychiatric Association, and 43 where a defendant was represented by a lawyer who was later disbarred or disciplined.

To that investigation, Bush said, ''I've said once and I've said a lot that in every case, we've adequately answered innocence or guilt.'' Bush said all defendents have ''had full access to the courts. They've had full access to a fair trial.''

In June, a Scripps Howard poll found that while 73 percent of Texans supported the death penalty, 57 percent believed that the state has executed innocent defendants. To that poll, Bush said, ''I analyze each case when it comes across my desk, looking at innocence or guilt.... As far as I'm concerned, there has not been one innocent person executed since I've been governor.''

Also in June, a Columbia University study found that two-thirds of death sentences in the United States and 52 percent of those in Texas from 1973 through 1995 were overturned because of bad or suppressed evidence. Bush again was unmoved. ''We have never put an innocent person to death,'' Bush said.

Last week the Fort Worth Star Telegram published a yearlong investigation that found legal services so lacking for low-income death penalty defendants that Texas ''appears to provide a different standard of justice for the poor.'' Also last week, the Texas Defender Service, which tries to defend the poor on death row, said it had found 84 cases where state officials or police presented false, misleading, or highly unreliable testimony. It found 121 cases of psychiatrist testimony based on no or extremely brief examinations of the defendant.

The Defenders Service report found rampant racial disparities. African-Americans make up 23 percent of the murder victims in Texas, but fewer than 1 percent of executions result from the murder of African-Americans. White women are only 1 percent of murder victims, but 34 percent of executions result from killings of white women. Asked if Texas should call a moratorium as Illinois has done, Bush said no. Asked why, he said, ''The reason why is I'm confident that every person that has been put to death under our state has been guilty of the crime charged.''

Such confidence in the face of the evidence borders on the deranged. Three decades ago, a president refused to change course, and it cost thousands of American lives. In two weeks, the nation may elect a president with a similar hubris. If Bush will not change course on the death penalty, there is no telling what he will not change course on if elected president. - common dreams

"Seymour Hersh reports in The New Yorker that the new Task Force 121 death squad will use members of the "upper ranks of the old Iraqi intelligence services" to "provide information about individual [Iraqi] insurgents for the Americans to act on." Apparently the strongly possibility of false intelligence provided by Saddam's spooks leading to the deaths of innocent people is not a problem."

Task Force 121 to Use Saddam's Spies and Israeli Commandos in Assassination 'Manhunts'

"The cutting edge troops are Special Forces, Delta Force and SEALs. Support is provided by SOCOMs own fleet of specialized aircraft, plus intelligence and other personnel. Perhaps the most potent aspect of operations like Task Force 121 is their ability to work closely with the CIA, FBI, DIA and other intelligence agencies. The CIA, in particular, has long been eager to work with SOCOM troops."

Playing Chess in the Dark With Task Force 121 by James Dunnigan

Task Force 121 Disinfopedia

Counter terror and Hostage rescue

Guardian correspondent Rory Carrol Kidnapped on opening day of Saddam Husseins trial - He also wrote on Simon Manns involvement with Mercenary units set up by agents connected to Thatcher / Pinochet / Bush / Riggs Bank / MI6 / SAS & South African ex-Military... on trial for allegedly conspiring to overthrow the oil-rich government of Equatorial Guinea. These Companies, such as 'Executive Outcomes' 'Stevedoring' 'CACI' & 'Erynis' also have contracts in Iraq. These Private Troops have been suspected of taking part in Black-ops kidnappings such as that of fellow Journalist Guliana Segrena...

more on Carrol

Irish journalist freed in Iraq, wants to stay

BAGHDAD, Oct 20 (Reuters) - An Irish journalist freed on Thursday after 36 hours in the hands of Baghdad kidnappers said he wanted to go reporting on Iraq.

Rory Carroll, 33, a correspondent for the London-based Guardian newspaper, said his ordeal ended when his captors bundled him into a car and dropped him in central Baghdad after taking a mobile phone call. "The next move is unclear but I would like to report on Iraq in the future," Carroll told Reuters by telephone shortly after his release.

Carroll, who has been in Iraq since January, had been interviewing a family in Baghdad on Wednesday about the start of Saddam Hussein's trial before gunmen abducted him.

He said he did not know who was responsible for snatching him. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi was present when he was released after a day and a half in darkness. "I don't know who took me," Carroll said. "I was released about an hour ago. I'm fine. I was treated reasonably well," he added. "I spent the last 36 hours in the dark. I was released into the hands of Dr. Chalabi."

Chalabi, a wealthy secular Shi'ite who returned from exile after the fall of Saddam and then fell out with his former sponsors in Washington, has built up powerful links with leading Shi'ite clerics.

A British government source said he believed Carroll was released after two Iraqi prisoners were freed in southern Iraq. "I understand there was a swap, so it was something that was done by the Iraqis which resulted in his release and a couple of others being released who had been arrested a while ago," the source said.

Carroll's parents said they were overjoyed after receiving a telephone call from their son shortly after his release.

"He told me that he had been released, that he was perfectly OK and in an Iraqi government compound having a beer," his father, Joe Carroll, told the Guardian. "He just said: 'I am safe and well and I have all my limbs on'."

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said the British and Irish governments had helped secure the release. Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern said "a number of friends and partners" had helped.

"The government is deeply grateful to all who helped achieve this happy outcome," he said in a statement. "I am utterly delighted for Rory Carroll and his family." - alertnet.org

Defence lawyer in Saddam trial abducted in Baghdad

By Michael Georgy and Mariam Karouny - BAGHDAD, Oct 20 (Reuters) - A lawyer for one of Saddam Hussein's co-defendants was kidnapped on Thursday, a day after his client sat in the dock next to the former president on the opening day of their trial for crimes against humanity.

Saadoun Janabi is defence counsel for former judge Jawad al-Bander, a senior legal source involved in the trial said.

"(He) was kidnapped this evening around 8:30 p.m. (1730 GMT) from his office, which is also his home, in the Shaab district by eight armed men," the source said.

Police and Interior Ministry sources confirmed the kidnapping. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Eight men arrived in two cars and forced Janabi from his upper-storey office at gunpoint, the police sources said. Bander is a former top judge under Saddam who is charged, along with the ousted leader and six others, over the killings and executions of Shi'ite men from the village of Dujail after Saddam escaped an assassination attempt there in 1982.

As Janabi was being taken, Irish journalist Rory Carroll was freed, a day after he was seized while reporting on a Baghdad Shi'ite family watching the televised start of Saddam's trial.

A British government source said he believed Carroll was released after two Iraqi prisoners were freed in southern Iraq. "I don't know who took me," Carroll told Reuters. "I'm fine. I was treated reasonably well," he said, adding he wanted to go on reporting on Iraq, though his immediate plans were unclear. "I spent the last 36 hours in the dark," he said.

Iraq's powerful Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi was present when he was released, Carroll added.

Saddam and the seven others went on trial on Wednesday but swiftly won an adjournment to Nov. 28 to hone their defence after they pleaded not guilty; they all face the death penalty.


Defence lawyers want to bring in leading foreign attorneys to help them in a trial that has gripped Iraq and the world; Iraq's government and its U.S. sponsors say the process will be fair, helping Iraqis put their troubled past behind them and demonstrating that its new democracy can work.

It was not clear if the kidnapping would deter foreign lawyers from coming or lead to further calls for adjournment.

It may add to complaints that confrontation verging on civil war between Saddam's once dominant Sunni Arab minority and the Shi'ite-led government is not compatible with a fair trial.

Kidnapping for political motives or money is rampant; Sunni insurgents and Shi'ite militias are both accused of killings. Bander, in a plain white traditional robe, sat at Saddam's right hand in court on Wednesday, loudly demanding and then donning a checkered Arab headscarf as proceedings got under way.

He is accused for overseeing the trials of dozens of Dujail men who were sentenced to death in the wake of the incident. His defence is expected to argue he was simply upholding the law. In three hours of televised courtroom exchanges, the ousted Iraqi president harangued the Kurdish judge and tussled with his guards. Thursday's newspapers were filled with coverage. "The people are victorious over a tyrant," read one banner headline.

The judge, who has risked revenge attacks by appearing on television to try Saddam, told Reuters the court also needed time to persuade witnesses who were "scared" to testify. One who will definitely give evidence shortly is a former intelligence officer in Dujail who is dying of cancer. The presiding judge, Rizgar Amin, told Reuters he would soon testify in hospital in case he died or was too ill to appear in court.

"Wadah al-Sheikh is one of the main witnesses; we are going to get his testimony, maybe next week," the judge said. "He is in hospital and very sick with cancer so we have to go to him."

Iraqi security forces said on Thursday they arrested one of Saddam's nephews on suspicion of financing insurgents. Yasser Sabawi was captured in Saddam's hometown of Tikrit on Wednesday as residents protested to mark the beginning of Saddam's trial.


Earlier on Thursday, Arab League chief Amr Moussa, who has said Iraq is on the verge of civil war, met Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari and other Iraqi leaders. "We spoke about the new Iraq and the specific mission of the head of the Arab League ... in the framework of a national dialogue and national Iraqi reconciliation," Moussa said.

Iraq's Shi'ite leaders have been at odds with the Sunni governments of the rest of the Arab world, prompting fears that conflict within Iraq could spread across the region. Shi'ite political leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim criticised the Arab League during a news conference with Moussa. "We reproach the Arab League and Arab states because of their position towards Iraq and Iraqis," he said, complaining that the 22-member League "did not condemn terrorist groups".

Other Arab leaders are wary of Baghdad's close ties to Washington and to non-Arab fellow Shi'ites in Iran. An Oct. 15 referendum on a constitution opposed by Sunnis as a recipe for division expected to pass, raising fears of an intensified campaign by the rebels once results are announced.

The Electoral Commission, which says it may issue results in a day or two, said it had received about 80 complaints, most of them relatively minor; some Sunni leaders have alleged fraud. (Additional reporting by Ibon Villelabeitia and Alastair Macdonald in Baghdad, Faris Mehdawi in Baquba, Aref Mohammed in Kirkuk and Khaled Yacoub Oweis) - alertnet.org

Saadoun Janabi dead

Saddam Trial Defense Lawyer Found Dead

By THOMAS WAGNER BAGHDAD, Iraq Oct 21, 2005 - A defense lawyer in Saddam Hussein's mass murder trial has been found dead, his body dumped near a Baghdad mosque with two gunshots to the head, police and a top lawyers union official said Friday.

Saadoun Sughaiyer al-Janabi was abducted from his office Thursday evening, a day after he attended the first session of the trial, acting as the lawyer of one Saddam's seven co-defendants.

His body was found hours later on a sidewalk near Fardous Mosque in the eastern neighborhood of Ur, near the site of his office, said police Maj. Falah al-Mohammedawi. His identity was confirmed Friday, al-Mohammedawi said.

Diaa al-Saadi, a senior official in the lawyers syndicate, said al-Janabi's family confirmed to him al-Janabi was dead. "This will have grave repercussions. This will hinder lawyers from defending those held for political reasons," al-Saadi warned.

The killing was the first setback for a tribunal that has been held under tight security.

Heavy protection was provided for prosecutors and judges in the Saddam trial, on the theory that they were likely targets of pro-Saddam insurgents seeking revenge. Their names have not been revealed and their faces were not shown in the broadcast of Wednesday's opening session with the exception of the presiding judge and the top prosecutor, whose identities were revealed for the first time just before the trial.

But security measures do not appear to have been extended to the defense lawyers for Saddam and his seven co-defendants. - more ABC News

from the same story:

On Thursday, Rory Carroll, 33, the Baghdad correspondent for the British newspaper The Guardian was released unharmed in Sadr City, a day after being kidnapped there by unidentified gunmen. A group of Sadr City residents reportedly raided the area where he was being held by criminals and freed him.

Saddam case lawyer taken by men in suits-witnesses

By Michael Georgy BAGHDAD, Oct 21 (Reuters) - A lawyer involved in the Saddam Hussein trial who was found dead was abducted by armed men in suits and ties who identified themselves as Interior Ministry employees, witnesses said on Friday.

Their accounts could not be independently checked. The Interior Ministry has repeatedly denied allegations from minority groups that it sanctions hit squads run by Shi'ite militiamen.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said he had no information on the gunmen who kidnapped the lawyer Saadoun Janabi, whom Baghdad lawyers said was an old friend of Saddam himself. Janabi was representing one of Saddam's co-defendants, former top judge Awad al-Bander.

"We tried to help him but the gunmen told us to get away. They said they were from the Interior Ministry," said Mohammed Ibrahim, who works in the area.

Several witnesses said more than a dozen armed men entered Janabi's office around 8 p.m. on Thursday and dragged him into an SUV vehicle in the rundown Shaab district of Baghdad.

"They hit him over the head with their rifle butts," said Qusay Kamel, another witness, who works in a furniture shop near Janabi's office. "He didn't say anything."

Police said Janabi's bullet-riddled body was found about an hour later.

The Shi'ite-led government and its interior minister have consistently denied condoning attacks on the once dominant Sunni Arab minority and former figures in Saddam's Baath party. The government spokesman and senior diplomats in Baghdad have conceded, however, that there have been problems with armed, pro-government groups acting as vigilantes against minorities. (Editing by Stephen Weeks) - alertnet

Attack kills two Iraqis in area of Baghdad where trial lawyer was slain

11:34 AM EDT Oct 24 THOMAS WAGNER BAGHDAD (AP) - A suicide car bomber killed two Iraqis and wounded five on Monday in an attack on a police patrol in an area of Baghdad where insurgents had kidnapped and murdered a defence lawyer in Saddam Hussein's trial last week, police said.

The bomb exploded at 6:30 a.m. in the northeastern neighbourhood of Shaab, killing two policemen and wounding three policemen and two civilians, said police Lt. Malik Sultan.

In Kirkuk, 290 kilometres north of Baghdad, a roadside bomb exploded at 8:30 a.m. near a car carrying Ibrahim Zangana, a senior member of Iraq's Kurdish Democratic party, seriously wounding him, killing one of his bodyguards and injuring another one, said Brig. Gen. Sarhat Qadir, the commander of Kirkuk's police force.

On Sunday, more than 33 Iraqis died in a swell of violence in Iraq, including 12 labourers, five of them brothers, who were gunned down by insurgents at a construction site outside the city of Hillah, about 95 kilometres south of Baghdad, police said.

The toll among American service members in the Iraq war also was approaching 2,000 dead. But the U.S. military said it has hampered insurgents' ability to unleash highly deadly suicide bombings with a series of offensives in western towns that disrupted militant operations.

"We have interrupted the flow of the suicide missions into the large urban areas. Certainly, we have had success denying free movement of car bombs into Baghdad," Brig. Gen. Donald Alston told reporters in the capital.

"It is also a function of Iraqi citizens who have come forward and with their support we have found car bomb factories. We have found a series of large weapon caches," he said.

Last Thursday, 10 gunmen wearing police and military uniforms kidnapped Sunni Arab Saadoun Sughaiyer al-Janabi, one of the defence lawyers in the trial of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein and seven former officials from his Sunni-dominated regime.

Al-Janabi, the lawyer for Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former head of Saddam's Revolutionary Court, was taken from his office in the Shaab area, and hours later his tortured and bullet-ridden body was found on a sidewalk by the Fardous Mosque in the nearby Ur neighbourhood.

The 12 remaining Saddam trial defence lawyers have since rejected an offer from the Interior Ministry for better security, demanding protection from American officials instead.

Also Sunday, investigative judges took testimony from the first witness in the Saddam mass murder trial regarding the 1982 massacre of 148 Shiites in the town of Dujail.

The judges went to a military hospital to take the deposition from Wadah Ismail al-Sheik, a cancer patient who was director of the investigation department at Saddam's feared Mukhabarat intelligence agency at the time of the Dujail massacre.

Al-Sheik is too sick to appear in court, and officials did not want to wait until the trial resumes Nov. 28 to get his testimony.

In another development, the U.S. military on Sunday confirmed that four American contract workers were killed and two wounded in Iraq last month when their convoy got lost.

The attack occurred on Sept. 20 when the convoy, which included U.S. military guards riding in Humvees, made a wrong turn into the mostly Sunni Arab town of Duluiyah, 70 kilometres north of Baghdad. - cbc.ca

UAE says Saddam agreed to exile before invasion

Big News Network.com Sunday 30th October, 2005

Saddam Hussein agreed to go into exile long before the Iraq invasion, UAE officials have confirmed.

A proposal by the United Arab Emirates late president, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, at an emergency Arab summit held in Egypt in February 2003 that Saddam agree to go into exile, and that elections be held in Iraq within six months, was agreed to by Hussein. The news became public when Al-Arabiya television aired a documentary this week quoting the son of the late UAE president, Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The program was broadcast to con-incide with the first anniversary of the late president's death.

Another unidentified high-ranking official in the UAE government confirmed the arrangement on Saturday. He said Saddam agreed to the proposal to avoid the invasion. He also agreed to elections within a six month period.

"We had the final acceptance of the various parties, the main players in the world and the concerned person, Saddam Hussein," the late UAE president's son, Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said during the Al-Arabiya TV program.

The proposal included safe passage for the Iraqi dictator and his family, and indemnity from prosecution, while Hussein agreed to UN and Arab League control in advance of elections within six months.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was quoted in the Al-Arabiya program as saying the U.S. was aware of the proposal. "To avoid a war, I would be personally, would recommend that some provision be made so that the senior leadership in that country and their families could be provided haven in some other country," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told ABC's This Week in mid-January 2003.

Earlier, on October 1 2002, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, was dodging questions on a similar subject:

Question: If I could follow on that, would the White House like to see Saddam Hussein dead?

Fleischer: The policy is regime change. And that remains -- and that remains the American position. Clearly, in the event that there is any type of military operation, command and control would, of course, be issues that would come up.

Question: Is the hope, though, that he ends up dead in all this?

Fleischer: Regime change is the policy, in whatever form it takes.

Question: I just want to re-ask again then, the question I've been asking for several weeks. Is the administration about to rescind the executive order prohibiting assassination of foreign leaders, and claim that he's an international terrorist, and in fact, put out a hit on him?

Fleischer: No. The policy remains in place, per the law.

Question: Why is there no consideration to rescinding that executive order?

Fleischer: It's just -- because it's not come up as matter that I've heard discussed, Connie. And so I can't tell you why something doesn't get discussed.

Question: Could you ask?

Fleischer: I don't really think it's an issue. The policy remains regime change, as expressed by the Congress.

On March 17 2003, in an address to the Amereican people, President Bush said, "Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing."

Two days later the president announced the start of a "shock and awe" bombing campaign which commenced the biggest bombardment since World War II, and which led to the death of more than 2,000 U.S. troops, 8,000 Iraqi soldiers, several hundred coalition soldiers, UN, Red Cross, and other NGO personnel; and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Damage to the country has been estimated at more than one hundred billion dollars.

Saddam Hussein, who accepted the offer of exile, remains in prison in Iraq awaiting continuation of his trial.

It is not known why the offer to Saddam did not proceed. The Arab League, where Sheik Zayed initiated the offer, refused to comment on the matter. An independent source says the League scuttled the proposal. - bignewsnetwork

Second Saddam trial defence lawyer killed

By Lutfi Abu Oun and Waleed Ibrahim BAGHDAD, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Gunmen shot two lawyers defending Saddam Hussein's co-defendants in a trial for crimes against humanity on Tuesday, killing one and slightly wounding the other, police and defence team sources said.

The attack followed the murder of another defence lawyer who was shot the day after the trial started in Baghdad on Oct. 19 and was certain to stoke controversy over whether the former president can get a fair trial amid Iraq's daily violence.

The defence team had already threatened not to turn up for the next hearing on Nov. 28 unless measures are taken to protect them. Police and defence team sources said Adil al-Zubeidi was killed when the two lawyers' car came under fire in the western Baghdad district of Hay al-Adil, while Thamer Hamoud al-Khuzaie was wounded. Both men were on a team defending Saddam's brother Barzan al-Tikriti and former vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan, legal sources said. Khuzaie was among the lawyers who appeared in the televised trial sitting at the same front bench as Janabi, lawyers who know both men said.

In last month's attack, Saadoun al-Janabi, representing another of the eight defendants, was kidnapped from his office and shot by armed men who local people said identified themselves as employees of the Interior Ministry on Oct. 20, the day after his court appearance at the start of the trial. The government has denied involvement in Janabi's death but the killing renewed accusations of sectarian violence involving government forces and pro-government Shi'ite militias ranged against Saddam's fellow minority Sunni Arabs.


The latest high profile assassination came as bomb attacks aimed at Iraqi security forces killed at least nine people the day after a suicide car bombing claimed the lives of four U.S. soldiers and their Iraqi translator. As U.S. and Iraqi troops pushed ahead with an anti-insurgent operation near the Syrian border, violence continued unabated just over five weeks before Dec. 15 elections Washington hopes will set Iraq more firmly on the road to peace and democracy.

In one of the worst of Tuesday's attacks, four Iraqi soldiers were killed and a fifth critically wounded when a bomb blew up near their patrol car in the small town of Dali Abbas, northeast of Baghdad, police said. Another bomb targeted a police patrol in Daquq, near Kirkuk, killing two policemen and wounding three more, police said. Another policeman was killed in Baquba, north of Baghdad, and a security force colonel and his brother were killed by a bomb in Basra in the south.

On Monday four U.S. soldiers and their Iraqi translator were killed by a suicide car bomber who attacked their checkpoint near Baghdad.

It was one of the highest U.S. tolls from a single attack in recent weeks and a rare instance of suicide bombers hitting a difficult target like a checkpoint rather than a soft civilian target such as a market.

Iraqi security forces come under frequent attack from roadside bombs, known as improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and casualties are often higher than among U.S. troops because the Iraqis do not have the same level of protective clothing and armoured vehicles.

In western Iraq near the Syrian border, Operation Steel Curtain entered its fourth day with Marines and Iraqi troops pushing through the dusty town of Qusayba in search of al Qaeda insurgents. The U.S. says it has killed 36 insurgents so far in the operation, and one U.S. marine was shot dead.

Operation Steel Curtain is the latest in a series of offensives aimed at securing western Iraq against Sunni Arab insurgents and foreign fighters before the Dec. 15 election.

Sectarian tensions are dominating campaigning for the poll, where the 20 percent minority Sunni Arabs are expected to vote in large numbers for the first time since the fall of fellow Sunni Saddam Hussein in 2003. (Additional reporting by Aref Mohammed in Kirkuk, Faris al- Mehdawi in Baquba, Paul Tait and Mussab Al-Khairalla, Mariam Karouny, Claudia Parsons in Baghdad and Abdel-Razzak Hameed in Basra) - reuters

Saddam 'attacked by court employees'

17/11/2005 - Iraqi court officials today denied reports that two court employees attacked Saddam Hussein and punched him several times after he cursed two Shiite Islam saints.

Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Mousawi said "no one in the court attacked Saddam or punished him and we will never allow anyone in the court to harm any of the defendants, whether it is Saddam or someone else."

"I never heard that Saddam Hussein insulted Imam Hussein or Imam Abbas during the investigation," he added.

Efforts to contact Saddam's attorneys were unsuccessful. Last night Iraqiya television quoted "sources close to investigative judges" when reporting that Saddam had been assaulted. Iraqi TV reported that Saddam had insulted Imam Hussein and his brother Imam Abbas, two Shiite saints, provoking two of the court's clerks. Saddam's lawyers said in July that their client was attacked during an interrogation session. The chief investigative judge of the special court dealing with Saddam denied the claims at the time. Al-Mousawi said the only incident he was aware of involved court guards.

"Some two months ago, when the investigative judge ended his work, Saddam remained sitting on his chair then started using the place as a podium for political statements. This happened when he saw a camera shooting him," he said.

The judge told Saddam that this comments had nothing to do with the questioning and "at that point two policemen held him, took him from the chair and took him outside the room." - IOL

Saddam refusing to attend trial

Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is refusing to enter court to attend his trial over the 1982 killing of 148 Shias in Dujail, court officials say. He is complaining about the conditions in which he is being held and how the trial is being conducted. On Tuesday he told his judges to "go to hell", vowing that he would not return to an "unjust" court.

Meanwhile the eight-year-old son of a guard at the trial was abducted from outside his Baghdad home on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear if the kidnapping was related to the trial. Thousands of Iraqis, including many children, have been abducted for money since the Iraqi leader was ousted in 2003.

In overnight violence, a man arrested on suspicion of plotting the kill the top trial investigator in the Saddam Hussein trial was freed by gunmen from a hospital in Kirkuk.

Media war

Saddam Hussein and seven former aides deny the murder charges against them and could face the death penalty if convicted. The resumption of the trial was delayed as the deposed Iraqi leader refused to be present in court for Wednesday's session. Negotiations were under way on how the trial can proceed, with the defence team holding talks with the chief judge.

Under Iraqi law the trial can continue without the defendant present in the court room. Arrangements may be made for the former president to watch the trial on a closed circuit TV link, with the right to intervene at certain points, possibly via a microphone, BBC foreign editor John Simpson says.

However, our correspondent, one of the few international journalists attending the trial, says he finds it unlikely that Saddam Hussein would eschew the media attention he receives at each court appearance in favour of sitting in the wings.

Until now, many observers have felt that Saddam has used his appearances in court to great effect, calling on his followers to continue their fight against the American presence in Iraq and condemning the 2003 invasion again and again.

'Go to hell!'

The hearings have been marked by frequent violent outbursts from the former Iraqi leader, who has complained constantly that the trial is unjust. At the end of Tuesday's hearing, the former leader shouted at the judge: "I will not return, I will not come to an unjust court! Go to hell!"

This was after the judge ruled that the court would reconvene on the next day to hear two more witnesses, overruling Saddam's lawyers' request for a longer break. On Monday there was confusion as defence lawyers staged a walkout after the judge refused to hear their concerns over the legitimacy of the court and calls for extra security after two defence lawyers were murdered in recent weeks.

The defence team has long challenged the legitimacy of the process - which is being conducted by an Iraqi court set up under a mixture of Iraqi and international statutes. On Monday two men appeared in open court to give harrowing accounts of torture and imprisonment. On Tuesday another man and two female witnesses, testifying from behind a curtain, their voices electronically distorted to avoid identification, described being beaten and given electric shocks by Iraqi intelligence agents. - bbc.co.uk

Saddam Shows Up for Resumption of Trial

By MARIAM FAM, Associated Press - 21 /12 /2005 - Saddam Hussein sat quietly in his defendant's chair at the resumption of his trial Wednesday, two weeks after he refused to attend the last session in a court he called "unjust." Saddam and seven co-defendants are on trial in the deaths of more than 140 Shiite Muslims following a 1982 assassination attempt against him in the town of Dujail, north of Baghdad. The deposed president, who was wearing a dark suit but no tie on Wednesday, refused to attend the previous session on Dec. 7.

"I will not come to an unjust court! Go to hell!" he said in an outburst in court the day before.

But on Wednesday his behavior was calm as the proceedings got under way. After greeting the court with a traditional "peace be upon you," he sat quietly in the defendants' area and appeared to pay close attention, writing frequently on a notepad in his lap. It was Saddam's first court appearance following last week's election, when Iraqis swarmed to the polls to vote for the country's first full-term parliament since his downfall.

During previous sessions, Saddam has been defiant and combative at times, often trying to dominate the courtroom. He and his half brother_ Barazan Ibrahim, who was head of the Iraqi intelligence during the Dujail incident_ have used the procedures to protest their own conditions in detention.

The chief prosecutor in the case, Jaafar al-Mousawi told The Associated Press by telephone on Tuesday that five prosecution witnesses were ready to take the stand on Wednesday. It would be up to the court to decided whether to hear all of them, he said. It was unclear how many more prosecution witnesses, if any, would follow.

"We are very prepared for the resumption of the trial," al-Mousawi said. "There is evidence and there are documents with Saddam's signature on them," he told the AP. "When it's time for the prosecution to make its case, there will be a surprise."

He did not elaborate or provide any further details.

The court - which held its first session Oct. 19 - has so far heard nine witnesses, who often gave emotional testimonies of random arrests, hunger and beatings while in custody and torture in detention. Khamis al-Ubeidi, a lawyer on Saddam's defense team, argued that the "witnesses have no legal value. Their testimonies are based on coaching and unjustified narrative." He said the defense team had security concerns that it wanted to tell the court about. "The court has to provide the lawyers and the defense witnesses with security," he told the AP on Tuesday. "How can a lawyer work if he cannot move freely because of the security situation?"

Some Iraqi government officials have said they hope the trial of Saddam will help heal the wounds of his regime's victims and bring Iraqis closer together. But the trial has also highlighted divisions between Iraq's various ethnic and sectarian groups, with many Sunni Arabs expressing sympathy with the former president and even nostalgia for his era. By contrast, many Shiites and Kurds gloated over seeing the once powerful Saddam reduced to a defendant. - news.yahoo.com

Judge Counters Saddam's Claims of Abuse

By MARIAM FAM, Associated Press BAGHDAD, Iraq - 22/12/2005 An investigative judge said Thursday that officials never saw evidence that Saddam Hussein was beaten in U.S. custody, contradicting the ousted Iraqi leader's claims that he was abused and "the marks are still there." U.S. officials strongly denied Saddam's allegations as "completely unfounded." Saddam, in turn, denounced those denials as "lies."

In a theatrical exchange becoming increasingly common at the trial, an assistant prosecutor asked to resign and the defense team threatened to walk out. Saddam also mocked President Bush's claims that Iraq had chemical weapons. When the court gave the former leader an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, Saddam instead used the time to expand on earlier assertions he had been abused in custody. He claimed that the wounds he suffered from the alleged beatings had been documented by at least two American teams.

On Wednesday, Saddam told the court he'd been beaten "everywhere" on his body, insisting "the marks are still there." He did not display any marks and did not elaborate on the alleged beatings except to say some wounds took eight months to heal.

On Thursday, Saddam said American denials that he was beaten could not be believed, noting that no weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq despite Bush's prewar claims that Saddam was harboring such weapons.

"The White House lied when it said Iraq had chemical weapons," Saddam said. "I reported all the wounds I got to three medical committees. ... We are not lying, the White House is lying."

But Investigative Judge Raid al-Juhi, who prepared the case against Saddam and forwarded it to the trial court in July, told reporters that neither the defendants nor their lawyers had ever complained about beatings. Officials never saw signs of beatings, he said. "The defendants receive complete and very good health care by the authorities in charge of the detention. No ordinary Iraqi receives this kind of care," he said.

Saddam and seven co-defendants are on trial for the deaths of more than 140 Shiites after a 1982 attempt on Saddam's life in the town of Dujail, north of Baghdad. The first witness to testify Thursday spoke from behind a curtain and had his voice disguised. He said he was 8 during the killings in Dujail. He said his grandmother, father and uncles had been arrested and tortured, and he never saw his male relatives again, implying they had been killed. Saddam said the court should not depend on the testimony of witnesses who were children at the time of the alleged crime, and one of his defense attorneys got the witness to admit he had not been arrested and did not see any dead bodies.

Saddam's half brother and co-defendant - Barazan Ibrahim, who was head of the Iraqi intelligence services during the Dujail killings - had a heated exchange with prosecutors, accusing them of belonging to the Baath Party, Saddam's former party, in an effort to discredit them in the eyes of Iraqis. One assistant prosecutor threatened to resign over Ibrahim's allegations, but the judge would not allow it.

"The biggest insult I've gotten in my life was being accused of being a member of this bloody Baath Party," the prosecutor said.

The judge at one point told Ibrahim to speed up his answer, and Ibrahim responded: "Don't oppress me. I passed through this experience in the past. During the interrogation I used to be asked questions that need one hour to answer and they wanted a 'yes' or 'no' answer. When I used to answer he used to slap me in the face while my hands were tied from behind."

Defense attorneys said one of the court guards then made threatening gestures toward Ibrahim and said they would walk out if the guard did not leave. The judge had the guard removed. Witnesses on Wednesday graphically described how their captors administered electric shocks and used molten plastic to rip the skin off prisoners in a crackdown following an assassination attempt against Saddam.

Saddam then grabbed center stage with claims that Americans beat and "tortured" him and other defendants while in detention.

A U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad called Saddam's allegations "completely unfounded" but said "we are prepared to investigate." "Beyond that, we have no interest in being a part of what are clearly courtroom antics aimed at disrupting the legal process," Lt. Col. Barry Johnson said.

The trial's chief prosecutor, Jaafar al-Mousawi, said if authorities found evidence of abuse Saddam could be transferred to the physical custody of Iraqi troops.

Saddam on Wednesday also interrupted witness testimony to ask the judge if the court could take a break for prayer. The judge ordered the trial to continue. About 10 minutes later, Saddam swung to the left, closed his eyes and repeatedly bowed his head in prayer, the first time he has done that in court. Muslims are required to pray five times a day at specific times. In the 1980's, Iraq under Saddam was one of the most secular Arab states in the Middle East and Baghdad had some of the most vibrant nightlife in the region. Following Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and as U.N.-imposed sanctions ground down the Iraqi economy, Saddam outwardly became more pious. He was seen praying and launching campaigns to reinforce the faith. Bars were restricted and nightlife became more muted. Critics said his praying in court was a further effort to reach out to increasingly conservative Iraqis. - news.yahoo.com

Gunmen attack Hussein trial judge

24/12/2005 - Gunmen tried to assassinate an investigative judge on the Iraqi Special Tribunal that is investigating Saddam Hussein and members of his regime, a spokesman for the court said today.

The attempt against Judge Munir Hadad took place on Friday as he was being escorted by a security convoy through Baghdad's western neighbourhood of Ghazaliya, said the official.

No one was injured in the attack and some of the vehicles were damaged, he added.

Hadad's exact role on the tribunal was unclear.

There are about 20 investigative judges and up to 20 prosecutors on the tribunal.

He is not taking part in the trial against Saddam that adjourned on Thursday until January 24.

Saddam and his co-defendants are charged with the murder of more than 140 people who were killed in the town of Ducal in 1982 after an attempt on the former leader's life.

If convicted, the accused could be condemned to death. - IOL

Saddam trial judge plans to quit: source

13 - 1 - 2006 - By Twana Osman SULAIMANIYA, Iraq (Reuters) - The chief judge in the trial of Saddam Hussein plans to step down, a source close to the judge told Reuters on Friday, in a development that could throw an already turbulent process into further disarray.

"He wants to withdraw," the source said of Kurdish judge Rizgar Amin, who is due to preside over the next sitting of the court on January 24. "He will oversee the next sitting and then announce his reasons for withdrawing," the source said.

The source declined to explain why the judge, based in the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniya, wanted to pull out of a trial which has made his face one of the best known in Iraq after several days of live television coverage.

All he would say was: "It is too difficult."

The killings of two defense lawyers for some of Saddam's seven co-accused in the trial for crimes against humanity had already highlighted the difficulties of a legal process in a country mired in a virtual civil war. Another of the panel of five judges pulled out earlier in the trial, which opened on October 19 in a heavily fortified courtroom in Baghdad. He withdrew because he discovered he was related to an alleged victim of one defendant and was replaced.

Initially only Amin, whose dry wit marked the early days of the trial, was seen on camera, although one of the other five judges has since been identified. Critics have questioned, however, why Amin has allowed the former president and other defendants to speak at great length. - reuters

Saddam Trial Plunges Into Deeper Disarray


Judges in the trial of Saddam Hussein tried to remove a newly appointed chief judge Tuesday, a dispute that forced an abrupt postponement of the proceedings and deepened the turmoil in what was supposed to be a landmark in Iraq's political progress.

Saddam's lawyers were quick to capitalize on the disarray, saying the confusion provided fresh evidence the former leader could not get a fair trial in Iraq. Former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark, a member of the defense team, said the trial should be abandoned.

Since its Oct. 19 start, the trial has been defined by delays, chaotic outbursts by Saddam, the assassination of two defense lawyers and a judge's decision last month to step down after learning that one of the defendants may have been responsible for his brother's execution.

After the trial's last session on Dec. 22, the confusion worsened.

The chief judge resigned, complaining about criticism by politicians that he was not doing enough to rein in Saddam. Saeed al-Hammash, the member of the five-judge panel initially named to replace him, was suddenly removed, and a new chief judge, Raouf Rasheed Abdel-Rahman, was brought in.

After a nearly five-hour delay Tuesday, court official Raid Juhi told reporters the hearing had been put off until Sunday because several witnesses and complainants were performing the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia and could not appear in court.

The annual Muslim ritual ended nearly two weeks ago, and Tuesday's session had been scheduled more than a month ago. Juhi refused to take questions.

But two judges involved in the case told The Associated Press the real reason for the delay was disagreement over who should replace chief judge Rizqar Mohammed Amin, a Kurd who had shown patience and composure in dealing with repeated attempts by Saddam and others to delay the proceedings.

According to one judge, some judges wanted al-Hammash reinstated while others supported Abdel-Rahman's appointment.

The second judge appeared to complain about outside interference with the court. When asked what the problem was, he replied: "Matters are not in our hands," - a possible reference to the influence of U.S. officials providing legal and logistical support to the Iraqi High Tribunal set up to try crimes committed by Saddam and officials of his 23-year regime.

The two judges were members of the tribunal, though not necessarily sitting on the panel hearing the current case. They spoke on condition of anonymity since court rules bar most judges from being named or speaking to the media.

"There's too much violence in the country, there's too much division and too much pressure on the court," Clark told CNN after Tuesday's postponement. "The project ought to be abandoned. It was a creature of the United States in the first place."

He said political pressures on the court "make it impossible for fairness" and warned failure to hold a fair trial will "lead to more war, no possibility of reconciliation."

Saddam, his half brother Barzan Ibrahim and six other defendants are on trial in the killing of more than 140 Shiite Muslims after a 1982 attempt on Saddam's life in the town of Dujail. They could face death by hanging if convicted.

U.S. and Iraqi officials had hoped the trial would mark a political turning point for the violence-torn country, helping it deal with its past and look forward to a new political system.

Instead, it has heightened divisions. Sunni Arabs sympathetic to the former leader, their patron, were heartened by Saddam's outbursts during the hearings, which are televised nationwide.

But Shiites and Kurds, who make up about 80 percent of Iraq's estimated 27 million people and bore the brunt of Saddam's oppression, found the relative freedom he has had in the courtroom an affront.

"This doesn't serve the people, it serves the dictator Saddam," said school teacher Abdul-Waheed Shawkat, a 28-year-old Shiite from the northern city of Mosul.

"It's a political game," said Khaled Khalil Mohammed, a Sunni Arab construction worker from Fallujah, west of Baghdad.

"This trial is a farce... Its final verdict already has been made and it's in the hands of the Americans," said Aqeel Omar Mohammed, a retired Sunni Arab lecturer from Tikrit, Saddam's hometown.

The Dujail case is one of several being prepared against Saddam and members of his regime. They include the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the suppression of Kurdish and Shiite revolts in 1991 and the alleged 1988 gas attack by Saddam's army against the Kurdish town of Halabja. Some 5,000 people died in that attack, including several relatives of the Halabja-born Abdel-Rahman, the judge named to take over from Amin.

The Dujail case, chosen expressly because officials believed it would be quick to try, has not been the best of starts.

More than a dozen witnesses have been heard, recounting torture at the hands of Saddam's security forces. But Saddam and his half brother have frequently interrupted the court with speeches and complaints. And Saddam refused to attend one session. - Forbes

Saddam Hussein Removed From Court Room

By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press 29th Jan - 2006 - BAGHDAD, Iraq -

Saddam Hussein's trial collapsed into chaos shortly after resuming Sunday, with one defendant dragged out of court and the defense team walking out in protest. The former Iraqi leader was then escorted out after he shouted "down with traitors" and refused his new court-appointed lawyers.

The new chief judge, Raouf Abdel-Rahman, pressed ahead with the proceedings even after the opening drama, hearing a prosecution witness, as he sought to assert tight control over the court. Abdel-Rahman was installed as chief judge after his predecessor resigned amid complaints he was not doing enough to rein in Saddam's frequent courtroom outbursts.

The stormy session was sure to increase doubts over the trial's fairness - a vital concern in a nation that is trying to reconcile its Sunni Arab minority, which dominated Iraq under Saddam, and the Shiite Muslim majority that now controls the government. Sunday's proceedings, the first in over a month, disintegrated almost immediately into shouting and insults.

First, co-defendant Barzan Ibrahim was pulled out by guards after he stood and called the court "the daughter of a whore," while Saddam shouted "down with traitors" and "down with the Americans."

Then Abdel-Rahman, a Kurd, threw out a defense attorneys for arguing with him. The rest of the defense team stormed out in protest as the judge shouted after them, "Any lawyer who walks out will not be allowed back into this courtroom."

Abdel-Rahman appointed four new defense lawyers. But Saddam stood and rejected them. Holding a copy of the Quran and other papers under his arm, he said he wanted to leave. After an argument with the judge - during which guards pushed Saddam back into his chair - guards escorted the former Iraqi leader out of the room. Two other defendants also rejected their new lawyers and were allowed to leave.

The proceedings then resumed with only four of the eight defendants present, and none of their original lawyers.

The court began hearing an anonymous female prosecution witness, who testified for about an hour from behind a beige curtain, as several earlier witnesses have done to protect them from reprisals. The new defense lawyers declined the opportunity to cross-examine the witness.

Saddam and his seven co-defendants are charged in the deaths of about 140 Shiite Muslims following an assassination attempt against the former Iraqi leader in the Shiite town of Dujail in 1982. The defendants could face death by hanging if convicted. The delayed television feed of the proceedings - which is controlled by the judges and broadcast throughout Iraq and the Arab world - was cut off right after Ibrahim's initial outburst. It resumed some time later, cutting out the removal of Ibrahim and the subsequent fight with the lawyers but showing the judge's arguments with Saddam.

Abdel-Rahman obviously came into the session aiming to impose control on a trial that has been plagued by delays and frequent outbursts by Saddam and Ibrahim, who is Saddam's half-brother and former intelligence chief. He began the proceedings with a show of authority, shouting at one defense lawyer for interrupting him and stressing in an opening statement that "political speeches" were not allowed and "if any defendant crosses the lines, he will be taken out of the room and his trial will be carried out with his absence."

Ibrahim stood up, demanded to be allowed to speak and said, "Circumstances have forced us to deal with each other here, in spite of my belief that this tribunal is illegitimate, the daughter of a whore."

The judge ordered him to sit down, shouting, "One more word and I'm throwing you out." When Ibrahim refused to sit, two burly guards grabbed him by the arms and dragged him out of the court. As they scuffled, Saddam stood and shouted, "Down with the traitors. Down with America." Defense lawyers began shouting as well. "Is this a street demonstration, are you lawyers?" Abdel-Rahman barked at them.

The judge turned to defense lawyer, Salih al-Armouti, a Jordanian who recently joined the team, and asked if courts in his country would allow such behavior. "My country gives me my rights," al-Armouti replied.

Abdel-Rahman ordered guards to take al-Armouti out of the court, saying, "You have incited your clients and we will start criminal proceedings against you." The rest of the defense team followed al-Armouti out in protest.

The chief judge appointed new defense lawyers, but Saddam rejected them and told the judge he had a right to leave if he does not accept his attorneys. "You do not leave, I allow you to leave when I want to," Abdel-Rahman said. "For 35 years, I administered your rights," Saddam replied, referring to his time in power. "I am the judge and you are the defendant," Abdel-Rahman said. Two guards pushed Saddam by his shoulders back into his chair, before they were ordered to lead the ousted ruler out of the room.

Saddam's trial has been troubled since it started on Oct. 19, with the killing of two defense lawyers and another judge's decision last month to step down. Heading into Sunday's session, Saddam's defense team said they would file motions questioning the court's independence and legitimacy because of the shake-up among the judges. Former chief judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin resigned in mid-January after politicians complained about the slow pace of the proceedings.

The trial had been due to resume on Tuesday, but that day's session was abruptly called off after some members of the five-judge panel opposed Abdel-Rahman's appointment over Amin's deputy, Saeed al-Hammash, who was removed the case amid accusations he once belonged to Saddam's Baath Party. Al-Hammash - a Shiite - denied the claims.

After the outbursts, the witness told the court she was arrested several days after the 1982 assassination attempt on Saddam. She said her interrogators removed her Islamic headscarf and gave her electric shocks to her head. "I thought my eyes would pop out," she said. Sixteen other members of her family also were arrested, and seven of them were killed in detention - including her husband, who she said was tortured to death. She said two of the defendants who remained in the court - Ali Dayih Ali and Mizhar Abdullah Ruwayyid - were among those who came to her home to arrest her. The two defendants denied the accusation.

The court-appointed defense lawyers declined to cross-examine the witness and the court adjourned for a lunch break. Amin, the former chief judge and a Kurd, watched the trial from home in the northern city of Sulaimaniyah and questioned whether his critics could run the tribunal any better than he did.

"I am happy that I am no longer part of this trial. I am happy to watch it on television while sitting in my house," he told The Associated Press. "I wish the trial were run by a Shiite judge because I want to know how they are going to manage it" - news.yahoo.com

observe: Milosevic standing trial in the International war cimes tribunal in the Hague -

Milosevic trial resumes after health delay

Mon Jan 23, 2006 By Nicola Leske THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The much-delayed war crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic resumed on Monday but did not address the request by the ailing former Yugoslavia president for release for medical treatment in Russia.

Milosevic, who is suffering from a heart condition and high blood pressure, has asked for provisional release from detention in the Hague for specialist heart treatment in Russia, but the prosecution has opposed the request, fearing he may not return.

It was not clear when the court would take a decision on the request, but it usually makes such rulings in writing and not during the trial proceedings.

Russia said last week it would guarantee Milosevic's return. A close ally of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Russia opposed the NATO bombing campaign that led to Milosevic's overthrow in 2000.

U.N. prosecutors suspect Milosevic's wife and son live in Moscow and oppose his release despite Russia's guarantee, fearing he could say his health stops him from travelling back.

Milosevic's brother Borislav Milosevic, who was previously ambassador to Moscow and also lives in Russia, says his brother is genuinely ill, and denying him treatment would be unfair.


The trial, which started almost four years ago, resumed on Monday with the 64-year-old Serb strongman, who looked pale but rested, questioning a new witness. The court had extended the winter break to six weeks to give Milosevic more time to rest.

Milosevic has insisted on his right to self-defence but his poor health has kept him from the trial repeatedly and the court works just three days a week, following his doctors' advice.

The court has said he has used up more than three quarters of the time allotted for his defence and hopes to wrap up the trial this year.

Milosevic won back his right to defend himself in 2004 after the court assigned him two lawyers so that the case could proceed even when he was sick. The lawyers remain on standby, but Milosevic has refused to work with them.

Milosevic is charged with 66 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in complex indictments covering conflicts in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo in the 1990s. - reuters

so why isn't Saddam being tried by this process?

The Saddam 'Show trial 'is a 'made for corporate media' propaganda exercise: Why?

because the US / UK broke the The Geneva and Hague Conventions, The Nuremberg Charter of 1945, and of The Rome Statute of The International Criminal Court.

They simply cannot send Saddam Hussein to a court which would itself also try the coalition on warcrimes


With Reference to The Iraq War 2003 - 2005

This is a request to Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the UN that he should instigate an investigation into the claims listed in the attachment to this memorandum. It is also jointly addressed to Lord Goldsmith the Attorney General of the UK. The UK is a High Contracting Party and Signatory to The Geneva and Hague Conventions and Protocols and The Nuremberg Charter of 1945, and of The Rome Statute of The International Criminal Court. It is thus appropriate that The Attorney General should investigate what appear to be grave breaches of these Conventions and Protocols, and of UN General Assembly Resolution No 95, before and during the Iraq War 2003 - 2005. We are concerned that, should these breaches be established, those responsible should be held to account. This is urgent. It appears that many breaches, even now, are continuing to take place. Submitted by: Tony Benn, Mrs Rose Gentle MFSO mum of Gordon Gentle killed in Iraq 28:7:04, Reg Keys, Harold Pinter, Prof. Richard Dawkins, Bruce Kent, Lindsey German Convenor Stop The War Coalition, Michael Mansfield QC, Corin Redgrave, Jemma Redgrave, Andrew Burgin, Mark Steel, Brian Sewell Columnist on the London "Evening Standard", Professor Ted Honderich, Dr Martha Mundy Reader in Anthropology LSE, David Halpin FRCS, Sara Wood , Nicholas Wood RIBA FRGS, Andreas Whittam Smith, Lord Nicolas Rea, Hywel Williams MP for Caernarfon, Peter Day, Anabella Pellens, Nicolas Kent Theatre Director, Alan Plater, Jonathan Price, Willy Russell Writer, Ralph Steadman, Anna Steadman, Dr C.J.Burns-Cox Consultant Physician MD FRCP, Michael Naish, Richard Gott, Celia Mitchell, Adrian Mitchell, Una Doyle NUT, Geoff Evans Bsc Hons Dip LP, Dr Margaret Evans Phd BSc Hons, David Levitt, David Gentleman Artist, Julian Rea, Sylvester McCoy, Alex Salmond MP Leader SNP. SUPPLEMENTARY SIGNATORIES George Galloway MP Respect, Cicely and Ian Herbert, Elfyn Llwyd MP Parliamentary Leader Plaid Cymru. Maureen Hinton, Yasmin Alibhai Brown, Baroness Dr Jenny Tonge, Roger Lloyd Pack Actor, Jehane Markham Writer, Vanessa Redgrave, Adam Price MP, Bill Paterson, Angela Flowers, Ken Loach, Dr Eric Herring, John McDonnel MP, Paul Mackney General Secretary NATFHE, Martin Rowson Cartoonist, Michael Gambon, T.G. Walker, Chair, Our World Our Say, Simone La Corbiniere, Director Our World Our Say, Tara Healy-Singh, Terry Jones, Chris Coverdale, Michael Culver Actor, Amanda Ward Artist, Rory Bremner, Janet Street-Porter, Maggie Paterson, Mara Stankovitch, Steve Bell Cartoonist, Michael Heath, Dr Adna Siddiqui, Pauline Bradley, Khalid Mahmood-Choham Clr Watford, Estella Schmid CAMPACC, Nick Hildyard, M. Jaral, Angie Zelter, Anne Gray CAMPACC, Jane Kelly NATFHE, Michael T Darwyne, Jacky Thompson, Dr.Louise Purbrick, Submission: We allege that the breaches committed by the UK Government and the USA in coalition partnership during the period 2002 - 2005 outlined as a selection in summary are as follows:- 1 Crimes Against Peace: Planning and Conducting an Aggressive War using deceit, including deliberately falsifying reports to arouse passion in support of this war . 2 Failure to ensure public order and safety by disbanding the army and police of Iraq, without properly replacing those functions. 3 Extensive destruction of service infrastructure, including drinking water, sewage systems, telephones and electricity supply, with grave consequences to the inhabitants of Iraq, especially in hospitals. 4 Deliberate damage to hospitals and medical facilities and personnel including the shooting up of Red Crescent ambulances, and prevention of movement of ambulances. 5 Failure to prohibit looting and arson resulting in the despoliation and pillage of museums, libraries, archaeological sites, hospitals, administrative buildings and state records. 6 Failure to respect cultural property including the use of the Babylon archaeological site as a military camp. 7 Economic exploitation of occupied territories by orders of The Provisional Coalition Administration to the benefit of foreign interests, including the use of Production Sharing Agreements, and IMF rules, even though warnings were made by the Attorney General that these may be construed as contrary to International Law. 8 Seizing botanical assets by Provisional Coalition Administration Order 81, which ends the prohibition of private ownership of biological resources, and introduces foreign monopoly rights over seeds. 9 Political persecution by initially sacking all Baath Party members, thereby very severely reducing the administrative and professional class who had been obliged to be members. 10 Religious persecution: US Defence Secretary memo of 2 December 2002 sanctioned the use of religious humiliation against detainees. 11 Use of cable ties as a restraint to detainees' wrists causing injury and unnecessary suffering . 12 Use of hooding detainees, wilfully causing mental suffering, especially when used for prolonged periods, or when combined with assault. 13 Use of dogs as a means of obtaining information authorised by US Defence Secretary memo of 2 Dec 2002. 14 Forcing detainees to stand for many hours as a means of obtaining information authorised by US Defence Secretary memo of 2 December 2002, and practised at Abhu Ghraib and other US prisons. 15 Sexual and bodily humiliation of detainees, including rapes, and stripping naked for long periods. 16 Aggressive patrolling with indiscriminate mass arrests of males, including 14 year olds, indiscriminate destruction of property, and invasion of women's' quarters contrary to tenets of the Koran. 17 Killing and wounding treacherously by indiscriminate shooting at check points, strafing of groups of obvious civilians, and disproportionate use of force in residential areas. 18 Degrading treatment of detainees by marking foreheads and bodies with indelible marker pens as a means of identification and control. 19 Use of cluster bombs on grounds of military expediency. As well as being munitions causing random unnecessary suffering by steel spicules, incendiary and depleted uranium bomblets, a large number don't explode, effectively becoming land mines. 20 Use of depleted uranium shells, on the grounds of military expediency, causing a very long term legacy of radioactive damage to the environment, cancers and birth defects. 21 Use of white phosphorous (WP) chemical munitions. 22 Collective penalties in Fallujah during the first assault of April 2004 when 1,000 Iraqis including 600 women and children were killed. 23 Evacuation of Fallujah, ( a city nearly the size of Cardiff) in preparation for a second disproportionate assault in November 2004, which employed the use of starvation and thirst on an entire population, targeting of hospitals, medical staff and ambulances, indiscriminate shooting of non combatants and destruction of private and state property 24 Failure to keep a proper record of POW names and locations. 25 Failure to treat POWs humanely, especially those held in the open in the sun. 26 Abolition of Habeas Corpus: holding an estimated 30,000 prisoners without charge or trial over an indefinite period: 27 Failure to record Iraqi deaths and injuries with consequent failure to determine proportionality or medical requirements of survivors. Also causing unnecessary suffering to relatives of the deceased. 28 Unilaterally holding that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to certain actions, especially to the use of private security contractors, and mercenaries and to the detention of certain types of enemy combatants. -------------------------- EVIDENCE Much of the evidence for these actions, which we believe are contrary to International Law, are now in the public domain: for instance: The Secret memo from David Manning to The Prime Minister dated 14 March 2002, The Confidential and Personal memo from The British Ambassador to the USA to the Prime Minister dated 18 March 2002. Clare Short's book "Honourable Deception?" Greg Dyke's "Inside Story", Robert Fisk's " The Great War for Civilisation", President Chirac's interview of 10 March 2003, Hansard, the British Museum sponsored book on the looting of Iraq's National Museum and use of Babylon as a US base, the report on the destruction of "Iraqi Hospitals Ailing Under Occupation" by Dahr Jamail, Lee Gordon's eye witness account in 'Camden New Journal' of the shooting up of ambulances in Fallujah, The Peacerights Report of the Inquiry into the alleged Commission of War Crimes by Coalition Forces in The Iraq War During 2003 ", The Rumsfeld memo of 2 December 2003, gun film footage of the F16 strike against civilians in Fallujah, photographs of mistreatment of POWs at Abhu Ghraib. - via UK indymedia

Saddam Lashes Out at Bush, Judge in Court

By HAMZA HENDAWI BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) 14th Feb 2006 -- Prosecutors produced documents and put former aides to Saddam Hussein on the stand Monday as they made their strongest attempt yet to link him directly to torture and executions.

The ousted president, who looked disheveled and appeared in his slippers, shouted "Down with Bush!"

Saddam's half brother, Barzan Ibrahim - dressed only in an undershirt and long underwear - struggled with guards as he was pulled into the courtroom. Ibrahim, the former chief of intelligence, then sat on the floor with his back to the judge in protest for much of the session.

The defendants have rejected court-appointed attorneys named to replace their own lawyers who walked out of the trial last month, and are demanding the removal of chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman. In Jordan, Saddam's chief defense lawyer said there were no plans to end the boycott and denounced the court for forcing the former leader to attend.

"This is a cheap attitude," Khaled al-Dulaimi told The Associated Press.

After the raucous start, prosecutors tried to prove Saddam's role in a wave of arrests and executions that followed a 1982 attempt on his life in the Shiite village of Dujail. Twenty-six prosecution witnesses have testified since the Saddam trial began Oct. 19, many providing accounts of torture and imprisonment in the crackdown, but they could not directly pin them on Saddam.

For the first time, the prosecution introduced documents and put two former members of Saddam's regime on the stand. The witnesses included one of his closest aides, Ahmed Hussein Khudayer al-Samarrai, head of Saddam's presidential office from 1984 to 1991 and then again from 1995 until Saddam's ouster in 2003.

Screens in the courtroom, including the press gallery, showed a document in Arabic dated to 1984 allegedly written and signed by Saddam in which he ratified "the execution of the Dujail criminals." A handwritten note at the bottom was allegedly by al-Samarrai.

Asked if the note was his handwriting, al-Samarrai, 62, said he could not be sure. "I don't remember," he said. "I don't remember anything at all."

Another document shown in the court was a 1987 memo from the presidential office's legal department saying two people sentenced to death in connection with Dujail had not been executed and suggesting that they be released because of old age and that those responsible for the "oversight" should be investigated.

A note written in the margin at the bottom, allegedly in Saddam's handwriting, approved the investigation but says the two people should be spared execution "because we cannot allow luck to be more compassionate than us even when compassion here goes to the undeserving."

Prosecutors have said that they had documents showing that Saddam was closely following the crackdown. Asked if he recognized the handwriting on the memo, al-Samarrai replied, "Mr. President." That sparked a swift and angry correction from chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi and Abdel-Rahman, the chief judge. "Defendant Saddam Hussein," they shot back.

Al-Samarrai insisted he knew nothing about the events in Dujail except what he said he had heard on foreign radio broadcasts. "I am not fit to be a witness in this case," he pleaded with Abdel-Rahman and al-Moussawi. "I don't want to be a witness."

Both al-Samarrai and the second witness, former intelligence official Hassan al-Obeidi, complained they too had been brought to the court against their will. Both are in custody in connection with other cases, according to al-Moussawi.

In Monday's session, two judges sitting on each side of Abdel-Rahman read affidavits of 23 prosecution witnesses, with further accounts of imprisonment and torture in the crackdown. Saddam and his seven co-defendants are on trial in the killing of nearly 150 Shiite Muslims in Dujail. If convicted, they could face the death penalty by hanging.

Abdel-Rahman, who took over last month as chief judge, rode out the hearing's initial chaos by being both tough and accommodating, allowing Saddam and Ibrahim to talk, but interrupting them when they steered away from matters related to the case or if they spoke for too long. Ibrahim was physically forced into the room Monday, shouting and struggling with guards holding him by the arms. Saddam and the other defendants walked in freely, apparently having decided to comply with the judge's order rather than risk getting the same treatment as Ibrahim. But they made clear their opposition to being ordered to attend, with Saddam shouting chants against Bush.

Later, Abdel-Rahman rebuked Saddam for not rising when speaking to the court. "I don't do this for a man who doesn't respect the law," Saddam replied. He argued that he could not be forced to accept court-appointed lawyers. "We are implementing a law that was issued when you were president," Abdel-Rahman told him.

Even their dress signaled their defiance. Ibrahim appeared in long underwear and a white undershirt. His head was bare without the Arab headdress he insisted on wearing in past sessions as a mark of dignity. Saddam carried a Quran in his left hand and wore a blue dishdashah - or traditional Arab robe - with a black overcoat and slippers, a stark contrast to the smart black suits he has worn to past sessions with a white handkerchief in his breast pocket.

"Why have you brought us with force?" Saddam shouted at Abdel-Rahman. "Your authority gives you the right to try a defendant in absentia. Are you trying to overcome your own smallness?" "Degradation and shame upon you, Raouf," Saddam yelled. Later, he called the investigating judges "homosexuals."

The defiant performance of Saddam and Ibrahim won them instant praise from Saddam's daughter, living in Jordan. "My father dealt well with the Judge. Uncle Barzan is a very educated person and a hero, a real hero," Raghad Saddam Hussein told Al-Arabiyah television. "My father has nothing to lose. ... After being the leader of Iraq for more than 35 years, he cannot be afraid for his life." Associated Press

Saddam Trial Becoming Like a TV Sitcom [my note: it's meant to]

By HAMZA HENDAWI Associated Press Writer Feb 16th 2006 BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- It's supposed to be a serious affair, but after three months and 12 hearings, the Saddam Hussein trial has become like a TV sitcom steeped in Iraqi pop culture and local vernacular. Interest in the trial has spiked since a new tough chief judge, Raouf Abdel-Rahman, took over last month and cracked down on the chaos that had marked the early hearings, which began Oct. 19.

Saddam and Barzan Ibrahim, his half brother and co-defendant, try their best to unsettle the stern new judge, using tactics from insulting his nonexistent mustache to showing up in long underwear. Proceedings are broadcast on state television with a 20-minute delay. Many Iraqis who cannot follow the hearings during business hours watch in the evenings on satellite stations, some of which show the day's full hearing. Perceptions of the trial among Iraqis depend in large part on their sectarian affiliations. Many Shiites, long oppressed by Saddam's Sunni Arab-dominated regime, believe the ex-president's execution is already overdue. To many Sunni Arabs, Saddam and his seven co-defendants are persecuted men. Yet, Iraqis are united over one thing - the trial's entertainment value.

"The toughness of the new judge has turned the whole thing into a farce," said Ismail Ibrahim, a 45-year-old Sunni engineer who watches the hearings at work. "It's funny."

Hatem Abbas Khalaf, a health worker from the holy Shiite city of Karbala, said he finds the whole affair "entertaining." "It makes me gloat over the predicament of Saddam and his associates," he said.

Saddam's daughter even chipped in with her own critique of what goes on in the courtroom. "This judge Raouf is the strangest cartoon character I have ever seen in my life," Raghad Saddam Hussein has told Al Arabiya television Tuesday from Amman, Jordan.

Over two sessions Monday and Tuesday, Saddam and Ibrahim dominated the proceedings with some vintage courtroom theatrics. But in a series of instances, they appeared to break new ground. "May your mustache be cursed," Saddam shouted at Abdel-Rahman. It's a great insult among Iraq's Arab majority to curse a man's mustache, considered to be a symbol of honor among adult males. Abdel-Rahman is a Kurd and sports no mustache.

In another exchange, Abdel-Rahman tried to restore order Tuesday by banging his gavel. "Hit your own head with that gavel," shouted Saddam, who insisted on addressing the court while seated, ignoring the judge's angry protests.

Ibrahim, Saddam's one-time intelligence chief, told Abdel-Rahman on Monday that he missed the judge's predecessor, Rizqar Mohammed Amin, another Kurd who stepped down in January amid charges that he did not do enough to rein in Saddam and Ibrahim.

"I will write a letter to judge Rizqar thanking him," Ibrahim told Abdel-Rahman.

"'Afiyah', Rizqar," said Saddam, using the Iraqi Arabic slang for "bravo," a word Saddam often used to praise his officers before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Saddam, Ibrahim and the other six defendants are on trial for the killing of nearly 150 Shiites after the former president survived an assassination attempt in 1982 in the mainly Shiite town of Dujail north of Baghdad. The eight face death by hanging of convicted.

Ibrahim, who once enjoyed a reputation as a womanizer, was by far the more provocative in this week's sessions.

This week, he showed up in his long underwear to protest Abdel-Rahman's handling of the hearings. He sat on the floor of the defendants' pen with his back to the judges for most of Monday's hearing.

On Tuesday, he scolded the judge for ordering him to be quiet. "Don't tell me to shut up with this hand gesture,"

Ibrahim snapped. "I am a person like you, if not even better." He insisted on calling a witness "comrade" - the title used by members of Saddam's Baath party.

"Don't call him comrade. Call him witness number one," Abdel-Rahman said.

"You call him what you like and I call him what I like," Ibrahim replied.

Later, Ibrahim suggested to Abdel-Rahman that many of his tribunal's employees worked for the intelligence agency which Saddam's half brother once headed.

"I just want to explain to you a few things so you can calm down and help yourself," Ibrahim told the judge.

"This court is calm," Abdel-Rahman replied.

The most bizarre moment of Tuesday's hearing came when Ibrahim briefly abandoned his native Arabic and began to speak in English, explaining the location of his detention facility.

"I don't understand English, please speak to me in Arabic," said a perplexed Abdel-Rahman. - AP WIRE

My trial is a comedy, Saddam tells court

March 16 2006 at 12:33PM By Hassen Jouini Baghdad - Ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has denounced his trial as a "comedy" and called on Iraqis to resist the US-led occupation, prompting the judge to order a closed session.

"I call on the people to begin resisting the invaders instead of killing each other," Saddam told the Iraqi High Tribunal as he began to testify on charges of crimes against humanity.

He called those who destroyed mosques "criminals" - a reference to the spasm of violence rocking the country since the destruction of a Shia shrine in Samarra on February 22.

'It is a comedy against Saddam Hussein and his comrades' "My people will never accept the occupation. It is my people who elected me in a referendum and who trusted me to lead them to safe harbour and I say to my people, I remain faithful to them despite the injustices of which I am a victim." Saddam said he was speaking as "the president of the republic and the commander in chief of the armed forces".

"Your rule has ended, now you are a defendant in a criminal case," Chief Judge Rauf Abdel Rahman told him. "This is a criminal court, we are not interested in politics." .

Saddam replied: "As far as I am concerned, I take my responsibilities to the people seriously, until such a time as the people choose someone else to represent them."It is a comedy against Saddam Hussein and his comrades," Saddam said in beginning his testimony. "Oh, mighty people, I am still your faithful son, oh, Iraqi people... I am still your sword, and despite what has happened to my people, to me, to my comrades because of the criminal occupants, I shall be patient. "It's only a question of time until the sun rises and you (the Iraqi people) will be victorious."

The judge told Saddam several times to confine his comments to the charges against him in the Dujail case.

Saddam countered that he was "talking with the Iraqi people" and later told the judge "if it wasn't for America, not you nor your father could drag me here".

When Saddam then embarked on another speech about the "criminals who invaded the country on the pretext of finding weapons of mass destruction", the judge ordered the session closed and cut the television transmission.

Saddam and his seven co-accused are on trial for the massacre of almost 150 Shias in the village of Dujail in the 1980s.

Earlier, Saddam's half-brother, Barzan al-Tikriti, denied involvement in the reprisals against the village after an attempt was made to assassinate the Iraqi leader there in 1982.

"It was handled by the head of security who has since died."

The trial has been postponed for two to four weeks while its three-judge panel drafts charges against each defendant. - iol.co.za/

Saddam Accused of Genocide in New Charges

By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press - 4th april 2006 -

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Iraq tribunal announced new criminal charges against Saddam Hussein and six others Tuesday, accusing them of genocide and crimes against humanity stemming from a 1980s crackdown against Kurds. The move, tantamount to an indictment under the Iraqi legal system, paves the way for a second trial of the ousted ruler. Saddam already is being tried in the killings of more than 140 Shiites in a town north of Baghdad.

Under Iraqi law, the second trial could begin anytime after 45 days.

Investigative judge Raid Juhi said the charges against Saddam and the others had been filed with another judge, who will review the evidence and order a trial date.

The new case involves Saddam's role in Operation Anfal, a three-phase move against Kurds in northern Iraq during the war with Iran in the late 1980s. Anfal included the March 16 gas attack on the village of Halabja in which 5,000 people, including women and children, died.

Human rights groups consider the Halabja attack one of the gravest atrocities allegedly committed by Saddam's regime.

However, Juhi told The Associated Press that the Halabja gas attack would be prosecuted separately and was not considered part of the charges filed Tuesday. "These people were subjected to forced displacement and illegal detention involving thousands of civilians," Juhi said. "They were placed in different detention centers. The villages were destroyed and burned. Homes and houses of worshippers and buildings of civilians were leveled without reason or a military requirement."

Others accused in the Anfal case include Saddam's cousin, Ali Hassan Majid, or "Chemical Ali"; former Defense Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad; former intelligence chief Saber Abdul Aziz al-Douri; former Republican Guard commander Hussein al-Tirkiti; former Nineveh provincial Gov. Taher Tafwiq al-Ani; and former top military commander Farhan Mutlaq al-Jubouri.

Saddam and seven others have been on trial since Oct. 19 for the deaths of Shiite Muslims following a 1982 assassination attempt against him in the town of Dujail. Iraqi authorities chose to try Saddam separately for various alleged crimes rather than lump all the cases together.

The Dujail trial was the first of what Iraqi authorities say could be up to a dozen proceedings. Saddam could face death by hanging if convicted in the Dujail case.

It is unclear whether the sentence would be carried out while other trials were in progress.

In December, a Dutch court sentenced chemicals merchant Frans van Anraat to 15 years in prison for selling Saddam's regime the chemicals used in the gas attacks. The ruling, the first ever dealing with atrocities under Saddam, concluded that the attacks constituted genocide. The court had no jurisdiction to try Saddam, but prosecutors named Saddam and "Chemical Ali" as co-conspirators. The Iraqi tribunal has access to several weeks of testimony and evidence presented in that trial.

One document was a government decree said to have been signed by Saddam on June 20, 1987, ordering "special artillery bombs to kill as many people as possible" in the Kurdish area. Special artillery, Dutch prosecutors said, meant chemical weapons.

"Chemical Ali" was heard in an April 21, 1988, audio clip ordering that people caught in Kurdish areas "have to be destroyed ... must have their heads shot off." In another radio fragment, he said: "I will attack them with chemical weapons and kill them all." - news.yahoo.com/

Saddam grilled over 1982 executions

Big News Network.com Wednesday 5th April, 2006

The trial of Saddam Hussein has resumed in Baghdad.

The former Iraqi dictator is answering questions about the killing of more than 140 Shi'ite Muslims in 1982.

Saddam is the only defendant present in court for Wednesday's cross-examination. Saddam lashed out at the Shi'ite dominated Iraqi Interior Ministry. He accuses it of torturing and killing thousands of people. He also demanded an international body examine signatures alleged to be his on documents the prosecution has presented as evidence. Prosecutors say the documents are Saddam's orders that resulted in the killings of Shi'ites in the village of Dujail in southern Iraq. Saddam has admitted giving the orders. But he says his actions were not a crime since a judge had found all of the villagers guilty of plotting to assassinate him.

Saddam and his seven co-defendants could be hanged if convicted in the Dujail case. Prosecutors say they also are filing additional charges of genocide and crimes against humanity against Saddam and all but one of his cohorts. Those charges are based on a campaign aimed at Iraq's Kurdish minorities during the 1980s that killed about 180,000 people.

Saddam and his associates will face a separate trial on the additional charges.

Saddam 'did sign death warrants'

19th April 2006 - BBC - Saddam Hussein personally signed documents ordering the killing of 148 Shia villagers in Dujail in 1982, handwriting experts have concluded. He and seven co-accused face charges for their alleged role in the killings after an assassination attempt.

Prosecutors have presented thousands of documents to the court to try to prove a paper trail exists linking the former Iraqi leader directly to the killings.

Defence lawyers have insisted the signatures are a forgery. They have also contested the impartiality of the handwriting experts, who they say are linked to Iraq's current interior ministry.

The BBC's James Reynolds in Baghdad said the experts' decision was a very significant moment for the prosecution.

'Death warrant'

Chief judge Raouf Abdel Rahman had ordered a two-day delay after the previous session earlier this week to allow them more time to evaluate the authenticity of the signatures. Among the documents was one apparently approving the Dujail executions and another authorising rewards for intelligence agents involved.

The judge opened Wednesday's session by announcing the experts' verdict. "The experts verified these documents and the signatures of Saddam Hussein were found be authentic," he told the court.

Documents apparently bearing the signature of former intelligence chief Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Saddam Hussein's half-brother, were also ruled to be genuine. The documents, which have not been released publicly, are said to include Saddam Hussein's signature on a "death warrant" ordering the execution of the 148 Shia villagers. They were tried by Iraq's Revolutionary Court in 1982 and then executed, allegedly with direct authorisation from the country's president.

Fresh charges

Prosecutors have argued that the brutal response was unjustified even by an assassination attempt.

At earlier hearings, Saddam Hussein acknowledged signing execution orders, saying it was his duty as president of Iraq. But he later appeared to dispute their authenticity. If convicted, Saddam Hussein is expected to face the death penalty.

Earlier this month the court announced he would face new charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Those charges relate to the Anfal military campaign against Kurds in northern Iraq in the late 1980s, in which as many as 180,000 people may have died.

The case will be tried separately.

Hussein Is Formally Charged for War Crimes

By JOHN F. BURNS and JOHN O'NEIL BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 15 - nytimes.com

The defense began its case today in the trial of Saddam Hussein after the former president was formally charged by the judge with crimes against humanity and Mr. Hussein responded by defiantly refusing to enter a plea.

Also today, the violence that claimed at least 32 lives on Sunday continued, as four teachers were slain when gunmen opened fire on the minibus taking them to work. In a village north of Basra, members of the al-Ghirmishi tribe closed roads and killed six police officers after their chieftain was slain in broad daylight by gunmen in police uniforms, authorities said. Army troops and police officers were dispatched to the area to quell the outbreak.

And the American military today announced that two soldiers had died when their helicopter was shot down and two Marines were killed in Anbar province in the country's western region. Both incidents occurred on Sunday.

In Mr. Hussein's trial, before the defense began calling witnesses, the lead judge in the case, Raouf Abdel-Rahman, called the eight defendants into court one by one to read them the indictment that was being formally lodged against them on the basis of the case presented by the prosecutors over the last seven months. In the Iraqi system, the final charges that defendants face are determined by judges at the trial's midpoint.

The charges presented by Judge Abdel-Rahman closely followed the case presented by the prosecution over the last seven months. Mr. Hussein and the others are charged with responding to an assassination attempt against him in the Shiite village of Dujail in 1982 by executing 148 people, many of whom were tortured and as many as 32 of whom were minors at the time of the attack, and destroying farms and orchards in a mass reprisal.

Mr. Hussein was charged for his role in issuing orders that led to these events.

When Judge Rahman finished the recitation, which took about 15 minutes, he asked Mr. Hussein, "In light of the facts I have outlined, are you guilty or not guilty?"

Mr. Hussein, who had entered the courtroom smiling, wearing the charcoal gray suit and tieless white shirt that has been his usual garb, stood up and replied in an angry voice: "I cannot give you a short answer to a lengthy presentation that disregarded all the testimony given in this court."

"Do you want me to answer you here for the sake of public opinion?" he demanded. "Whether you or someone else has written this is of no concern to me, and won't disturb one hair on my head."

When Mr. Hussein, his voice rising, declared that "You are in front of Saddam Hussein, the president of the republic," Judge Abdel-Rahman burst out: "You are a defendant!"

"I am the president of the republic by the will of Iraqis, and I respect their will," Mr. Hussein continued. "I do not recognize the agents who were brought here under banners and given titles."

Mr. Hussein pointed out that the law under which he was charged, which is retroactive and does not recognize any immunity for the actions of a head of state was drafted by Paul Bremer, the administrator of the American occupation. "Therefore, I cannot say yes or no," he concluded.

Judge Abdel-Rahman: "I will give you and your lawyers a chance to talk freely at a later time but for procedural purposes this is enough. Please sit down now."

Mr. Hussein sat down quietly, appearing to relax, and the judge told the court clerks that "the defendant replied by denying the charges."

Later, during a lunch break, Mr. Hussein could be seen through a gap in a curtain separating spectators from the defendants, chatting, apparently amiably, with the lead prosecutor in the case. And while several of his co-defendants also responded to Judge Abdel-Rahman's charges with rambling denials, the session's orderliness was a sharp contrast to the succession of outbursts and walkouts that marked its initial stages.

The first defense witnesses to take the stand testified on behalf of Ali Dayih Ali, a former Baath party official in Dujail. All five, who testified from behind a screen, as had the prosecution's witnesses, gave the same account: that the defendant had not been in Dujail at the time of the assassination attempt, that he never participated in the arrests and that his family had also suffered from Mr. Hussein's repression.

Judge Abdel-Rahman seemed unimpressed, and implied that the witnesses had been coached. "Are you reading a poem?" he asked several of them.

In the violence on Sunday, two suicide car bombers tore into a central checkpoint for Baghdad's airport on Sunday, setting off blasts that killed at least 14 people and wounded 16, the military and the police said.

The bombings were a brazen strike at one of the capital's most heavily guarded areas. Foreigners, members of the military and hundreds of Iraqi workers and travelers move through the area daily, waiting in cars between two roads and giant slabs of cement. The ease with which the two bombers drove into the parking area, just east of a statue and a larger, more secure lot, demonstrated how far Iraqis still have to go to improve security.

In another set of attacks, Sunni Arab insurgents struck at five small Shiite shrines in the village of Wjihiya, northeast of Baghdad and close to Baquba, a mixed city that has been tormented by sectarian violence.

A group of between 20 and 30 gunmen slipped into the area of the shrines around 3:30 a.m., said a member of the regional council for Diyala Province, who lives in Wjihiya, and detonated explosives inside each one. The official, who spoke by telephone and declined to give his name for fear he would be killed, said the bombings had neither hurt anyone nor set off protests there.

The strikes raised fears of retaliation by Shiite militias, which have been blamed for kidnappings and secret killings of Sunni Arabs. A February bombing of a shrine in Samarra, an important symbol for Iraqi Shiites, touched off days of sectarian killings and attacks.

The violence comes as American officials press Iraqi political leaders to finish forming a new government. Officials hope that a strong central government will be able to pacify Iraq's increasingly violent ethnic and sectarian groups, but disagreements over crucial ministries have caused delays. Under Iraqi law, the leaders face a May 22 deadline to form the government.

Even Iraq's new leaders at times appear to have irreconcilable positions. Iraq's Sunni Arab vice president, Tarik al-Hashimy, said in an interview on Al Jazeera television on Sunday night that he approved of Iraqi nationalist guerrillas holding talks with American officials, but that they should "not stop the fight."

He said, "The stopping of fighting should be part of the final deal."

The texture of the killing has shifted in recent months. Spectacular suicide bombings like those on Sunday had fallen sharply, according to American military statistics. But secret killings and kidnappings by Sunni and Shiite militias have soared, and in some neighborhoods, like Dora in southern Baghdad, militias openly fight one another on the streets.

"When I get to work, I don't feel so sure that I'll return home," said Anmar Abed Khalaf, a 24-year-old Shiite from Dora, whose family plans to move to Egypt.

John F. Burns reported for this article from Baghdad and John O'Neil from New York. Sabrina Tavernise contributed reporting from Baghdad.

Defense Lawyer Thrown Out in Saddam Trial

Bu SINAN SALAHEDIN - May 22, 2006 BAGHDAD, Iraq (Associated Press) --

Guards forcibly ejected a defense lawyer from the courtroom and the chief judge shouted down Saddam Hussein in a stormy start Monday to the latest session of his trial.

After the initial squabbling, the court heard the first defense witness for Barzan Ibrahim, the former chief of Saddam's Mukharabat intelligence service. The witness - Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan, who was a presidential adviser and, like Ibrahim, one of Saddam's half brothers - has been in U.S. custody since February 2005.

The arguments and shouting began when chief judge informed defense lawyer Bushra Khalil that she would be allowed to return to the court after being removed from a session in April for arguing with the judge. But when she tried to make a statement, he quickly cut her off, saying, "Sit down."

"I just want to say one word," she said, but Abdel-Rahman yelled at guards to take her away. Khalil pulled off her judicial robe and threw it on the floor in anger, then tried to push the guards who were grabbing her hands, shouting, "Get away from me."

As she was pulled out of the court, Saddam objected from the defendants' pen, and Abdel-Rahman told him to be silent.

"I'm Saddam Hussein, president of Iraq. I am above all," Saddam shouted back.

"You are a defendant now, not a president," the judge barked.

Recent sessions of the trial have been remarkably orderly because Abdel-Rahman has taken a tough line to put a stop to frequent outbursts by Saddam and his co-defendants. He first removed the Lebanese-born Khalil, the only woman on the defense team, in an April 5 session after she objected to a video of Saddam shown by prosecutors.

As the chief judge tried to restore order, a defense lawyer shouted that chief judge had committed a 'serious breach of defense rights' by removing one of his colleagues from court.

After Monday's testimony, the court adjourned until Wednesday.

Saddam and seven former members of his regime face possible execution by hanging if convicted on charges of crimes against humanity in a crackdown against Shiites in the town Dujail in the 1980s.

Saddam and the upper-level defendants have insisted the sweep of arrests - in which some detainees, including women and children, died in prison and 148 Shiites were sentenced to death - was a justified response to a 1982 assassination attempt on Saddam in the town.

Al-Hassan took the stand in support of Ibrahim, who is accused along with Saddam of ordering the crackdown. Al-Hassan said Ibrahim told him after the shooting attack on Saddam that he went to Dujail only to make sure the presidential guard had not been lax in its protection of Saddam.

"He told me that he only went there to check if what happened was due to any neglect from the guards and that he didn't take part in anything else," al-Hassan said.

"I asked him (Ibrahim) whether they (the attackers) were from Dujail or not, and he said most of them were not," al-Hassan said.

Al-Hassan, once a powerful adviser to Saddam, was on a list on a list of 55 most wanted regime figures when U.S. forces invaded Iraq in 2003 and was suspected of being a leading financier of the anti-U.S. insurgency. He was arrested in Syria, which handed him over to American forces in Iraq in February 2005.

Monday's first witness was a former employee of the Revolutionary Court, Murshid Mohammed Jassim, who testified on behalf of defendant Awad al-Bandar, the judge who sentenced the 148 to death. Abdel-Rahman has accused al-Bandar of convicting the Shiites without a proper trial, though al-Bandar has maintained the trial was fair.

Jassim, who shook his cane at times as he spoke, acknowledged that he did not work at the court at the time of the Dujail trial in 1984. But he insisted the court was "the most fair, the most just ... (Al-Bandar) is a quiet, polite, fair man." He said the Revolutionary Court always gave defendants a full chance to defend themselves and ensured they had lawyers and that Saddam or his officials never intervened in its proceedings.

Referring to the ejection of Khalil, al-Bandar asked Jassim, "Were defense lawyers ever thrown out of court when they tried to make an argument." Jassim said no, then added: "Lawyers were always treated with respect in accordance with the law."

Al-Bandar has said the 148 defendants confessed. But he has also acknowledged that there was only one defense lawyer for all of them and the trial only lasted 16 days.

The prosecution has argued that it was a show-trial in which the defendants had no opportunity to present their cases. It has presented documents showing that a number of minors below the age of 18 were convicted, including one as young as 11.

The prosecution has also argued that the crackdown went far beyond the perpetrators of the attack on Saddam, sweeping up entire families in an attempt to punish the town.

will he stay alive long enough to face justice?



Captain Wardrobes

Down with Murder inc.