Sunday 26th of June 2022

a great amerikan fall-guy .....

from the Centre for American Progress …..

Trials and Tribulations

'On Sunday, the nine-month trial of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and his seven co-defendants is expected to conclude, with the court delivering its verdict.

Should Hussein be convicted, it will be an historic and welcome development for the Iraqis who suffered under his rule.

But already, the White House is trying to make it into a political spectacle. Yesterday on CNBC, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said the verdict would "absolutely" be "a factor" in Tuesday's midterm elections and proof that the "Iraqi government that has been doing what the president has said all along." Snow portrayed Sunday's decision as yet another turning point for Iraq, calling it "a benchmark episode."

Snow's spin matches President Bush's rhetoric when Saddam was captured. Bush said his capture marked "the end of the road...for all who bullied and killed in his name" and predicted "Iraqis can now come together and reject violence." But that was three years ago. Since that time, violence in Iraq has spiraled out of control as the country edges closer to complete chaos.

Saddam hasn't been a threat in Iraq since December 13, 2003, when he was captured. Since that time, 2,385 U.S. troops have died and more than 18,000 have been wounded. Attacks in Iraq have increased 400 percent even though there are 22,000 more U.S. troops on the ground. Saddam's anticipated conviction is gratifying but will not end this cycle of violence.

Saddam’s trial is not evidence of a functioning Iraqi judicial system. Yesterday, Tony Snow said the upcoming verdict was evidence of an Iraqi government that can "sustain itself, defend itself, and govern itself." Actually, it is an illustration of just how much the Iraqi government leans on American resources. AFP notes, "Saddam is being held in a U.S. jail, that the trial is being held in Baghdad's Green Zone, which is controlled by the US military, and that U.S. legal experts have had an omnipresent role in preparing the case against him." Many Iraqi judges are being intimidated by militias and 11 have been killed so far this year. One Iraqi judge told Reuters, "We can't do our job properly with all these pressures. ... [Militias] are controlling everything everywhere, and they do whatever they want. They don't even hesitate to put pressure on us openly."

While the White House is spinning the verdict as "a benchmark episode," many believe that, no matter what the outcome, violence could increase. Ibrahim Khalid, 52, a Sunni from Baghdad's Azamiyah district, told the AP that if Saddam is sentenced to death, "Violence and killings will increase and Saddam will turn into a national hero among Sunnis." Meanwhile, if he avoids the death penalty, "Many Shiites...will be enraged." The nine-month trial has "widened the gulf between Iraq's ethnic and religious groups at a time when sectarian reprisal killings are spinning out of control." Many Iraqis "believe the proceedings are intended to distract attention from failures to restore order and build a functioning government."

The verdict was recently rescheduled to come just two days before the U.S. midterm elections. The timing has raised eyebrows, especially because the Bush administration exercises considerable influence over the trial. The court itself was created by the administration-controlled Coalition Provisional Authority.

The Washington Post reports, "The U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Regime Crimes Liaison Office run much of the day-to-day arrangements for the trial. Plainclothes security workers, many of them Americans, and Iraqi soldiers guard the turreted, fortress-like former Baath Party headquarters in the American-held Green Zone where the trial is playing out."

The New York Times reports, "American influence...has been undeniably pervasive, with about 90 percent of the $145 million in annual costs for the court and associated investigations paid for by the United States Justice Department, and lawyers sent by Washington acting as advisers."

Mission "Fallingapart"

From the BBC

Scores of bodies found in Baghdad

Baghdad police say they have found [|83 bodies], some showing signs of torture, in various locations around the city in the past 36 hours.
The fresh killings came as the US said seven more US soldiers had died, and that troops had killed 13 insurgents.
The Iraqi army has cancelled all leave and put troops on alert ahead of the verdict expected on Sunday in the trial of former leader Saddam Hussein.
Defence lawyers have warned of violence if he is sentenced to death.
The discovery of 56 bodies between Thursday and Friday mornings is the biggest in 24 hours since the Muslim holy month of Ramadan ended.

equal opportunity .....

‘A chief prosecutor of Nazi war crimes at Nuremberg has said George W. Bush should be tried for war crimes along with Saddam Hussein. Benjamin Ferencz, who secured convictions for 22 Nazi officers for their work in orchestrating the death squads that killed more than 1 million people, told OneWorld both Bush and Saddam should be tried for starting "aggressive" wars - Saddam for his 1990 attack on Kuwait and Bush for his 2003 invasion of Iraq.

"Nuremberg declared that aggressive war is the supreme international crime," the 87-year-old Ferencz told OneWorld from his home in New York. He said the United Nations charter, which was written after the carnage of World War II, contains a provision that no nation can use armed force without the permission of the UN Security Council.’

Bush & Saddam Should Both Stand Trial, Says Nuremberg Prosecutor

remember wmd .....

‘The Pentagon has “extended its timeline to destroy its aging chemical weapons arsenal until 2023, despite concerns by Congress & watchdog groups that the stockpiles raise the risk of an accident or theft by terrorists,” & despite the 2012 deadline set by the international Chemical Weapons Convention.