Riverbend & Blogs.ABC.com & Kurt Nimmo – 2007-01-01 21:20:31
Riverbend / Baghdad Burning
Girl Blog from Iraq… let’s talk war, politics and occupation
BAGHDAD (Sunday, December 31, 2006) — It’s official. Maliki and his people are psychopaths. This really is a new low. It’s outrageous — an execution during Eid. Muslims all over the world (with the exception of Iran) are outraged. Eid is a time of peace, of putting aside quarrels and anger — at least for the duration of Eid.
This does not bode well for the coming year. No one imagined the madmen would actually do it during a religious holiday. It is religiously unacceptable and before, it was constitutionally illegal. We thought we’d at least get a few days of peace and some time to enjoy the Eid holiday, which coincides with the New Year this year. We’ve spent the first two days of a holy holiday watching bits and pieces of a sordid lynching.
America the savior… After nearly four years and Bush’s biggest achievement in Iraq has been a lynching. Bravo Americans.
Maliki has made the mistake of his life. His signature and unhidden glee at the whole execution, especially on the first day of Eid Al Adha (the Eid where millions of Muslims make a pilgrimage to Mecca), will only do more to damage his already tattered reputation. He’s like a vulture in a suit (or a balding weasel).
It’s almost embarrassing. I kept expecting Muwafaq Al Rubaii to run over and wipe the drool from the corner of his mouth as he signed for the execution. Are these the people who represent the New Iraq? We’re in so much more trouble than I ever thought.
And no — not the celebrations BBC are claiming. With the exception of a few areas, the streets are empty.
Now we come to CNN. Shame on you CNN journalists — you’re getting lazy. The least you can do is get the last words correct when you write a story about an execution. Your articles are read the world over and will go down in history as references.
You people are the biggest news network in the world — the least you can do is spend some money on a decent translator. Saddam’s last words were NOT “Muqtada Al Sadr” as Munir Haddad claimed, according to the article below. If anyone had seen at least part of the video they showed on TV, you’d know that.
“A witness, Iraqi Judge Munir Haddad, said that one of the executioners told Hussein that the former dictator had destroyed Iraq, which sparked an argument that was joined by several government officials in the room.
As a noose was tightened around Hussein’s neck, one of the executioners yelled “long live Muqtada al-Sadr,” Haddad said, referring to the powerful anti-American Shiite religious leader.
Hussein, a Sunni, uttered one last phrase before he died, saying “Muqtada al-Sadr” in a mocking tone, according to Haddad’s account.”
From the video that was leaked, it was not an executioner who yelled “long live Muqtada al-Sadr”. See, this is another low the Maliki government sunk to — they had some hecklers conveniently standing by during the execution. Maliki claimed they were “some witnesses from the trial”, but they were, very obviously, hecklers.
The moment the noose was around Saddam’s neck, they began chanting, in unison, “God’s prayers be on Mohamed and on Mohamed’s family…” Something else I didn’t quite catch (but it was very coordinated), and then “Muqtada, Muqtada, Muqtada!”
One of them called out to Saddam, “Go to hell…” (in Arabic). Saddam looked down disdainfully and answered “Heya hay il marjala?” which is basically saying, “Is this your manhood…?”.
Someone half-heartedly called out to the hecklers, “I beg you, I beg you — the man is being executed!” They were slightly quieter and then Saddam stood and said, “Ashadu an la ilaha ila Allah, wa ashhadu ana Mohammedun rasool Allah…” Which means, “I witness there is no god but Allah and that Mohammed is His messenger.”
These are the words a Muslim (Sunnis and Shia alike) should say on their deathbed. He repeated this one more time, very clearly, but before he could finish it, he was lynched.
So, no, CNN, his last words were not “Muqtada Al Sadr” in a mocking tone — just thought someone should clear that up. (Really people, six of you contributed to that article!)
Then again, one could argue that it was a judge who gave them that false information. A judge on the Iraqi appeals court — one of the judges who ratified the execution order. Everyone knows Iraqi judges under American tutelage never lie — that explains CNN’s confusion.
Muwafaq Al Rubai was said he was “weak and frightened”. Apparently, Rubai saw a different lynching because according to the video they leaked, he didn’t look frightened at all. His voice didn’t shake and he refused to put on the black hood. He looked resigned to his fate, and during the heckling he looked as defiant as ever. (It’s quite a contrast to Muhsin Abdul Hameed’s public hysterics last year when the Americans raided his home.)
It’s one thing to have militias participating in killings. This is allegedly the democracy the Americans flaunt. Is this how bloodthirsty and frightening we’ve become? Is this what Iraq stands for now? Executions? I’m sure the rest of the Arab countries will be impressed.
One of the most advanced countries in the world did not help to reconstruct Iraq. They didn’t even help produce a decent constitution. They did, however, contribute nicely to a kangaroo court and a lynching. A lynching shall go down in history as America’s biggest accomplishment in Iraq.
So who’s next? Who hangs for the hundreds of thousands who’ve died as a direct result of this war and occupation? Bush? Blair? Maliki? Jaffari? Allawi? Chalabi?
2006 has definitely been representative of Maliki and his government — killings like never before and a lynching to end it properly. Death and destruction everywhere.
I’m so tired of all of this…
Saddam’s Hanging — Uncut
Several hours after Saddam Hussein was hanged this morning in Baghdad, the state-run television channel, Iraqia, began to run edited video, without sound, of the run-up to the hanging. The video shows Saddam being guided up the steps to the top of the gallows, a scarf being put around his neck and then the noose placed over his head and tightened on his neck. Then it stops. This footage, about a minute long, was played and replayed over and over during the day, and quickly found its way onto all major television stations around the world.
Later this evening, another video of the hanging popped up, this time being shown on Al-Jazeera and Arabiya, two Arabic TV channels based in the Gulf. The new video was of poor quality, was very jerky, and had clearly been shot on a cell phone or some similar device from below by one of the two dozen witnesses to the event. It also had sound. The picture it gave of Saddam’s last moments was very different from the edited, silent version that the Iraqi government had released earlier.
There are five men in black facemasks who are visible on the gallows platform around Saddam, acting as guards. As they guide him towards the trap door and put the noose over his head, they start chanting religious slogans with the names of Moqtada al Sadr (the head of the Mahdi army, accused of organizing death squads against Sunnis) and Baqr al Sadr (the father-in-law of Moqtada). Saddam, a Sunni, is outraged at this last-minute provocation and tells them to “go to hell.”
This is generally where the two TV stations cut the video, but on at least one occasion that we saw, Arabiya allowed the video to keep rolling: The cell phone camera is jerked down to the ground, as if the person holding it had to conceal the camera, then it is slowly raised up to Saddam again, and suddenly his body shoots down through the trapdoor.
At this, the Arabiya anchor came on and made a scissors symbol with two fingers with a mischievous grin on his face, as if to say that they really shouldn’t have shown that, but so be it. A cynical voyeuristic ploy, nudge nudge wink wink.
However, the impact of this video could be quite significant. First, it will reinforce Sunni suspicions that the execution of Saddam was merely an act of Shiite revenge for decades of repression under Saddam. The building where the execution took place was expressly chosen because it was once used as a detention center by a division of Saddam’s secret police that was focused on the Shiite Dawa party.
Some of the witnesses whom the government invited to the execution had themselves once been tortured in that same building. Indeed, Prime Minister Maliki, who signed the execution order the day before the hanging, is a long-term member of the Dawa party and had himself been sentenced to death by Saddam back in 1980 before fleeing the country.
Worse, it will also reinforce the fears of Sunnis that Maliki’s government is beholden to the Mahdi army, Moqtada’s militia. Executions are generally expected to be solemn affairs – — certainly not opportunities for thugs to score some final sectarian points before the “enemy” is disposed of. The video itself seems quite distasteful – — but it is informative to the extent that it reveals the political baggage that the current government carries on its shoulders. It does not add up to a pretty picture.
Hang ’em High in Baghdad:
The Object Lesson of Saddam’s Execution
(December 30, 2006) — It was like a scene from a Sergio Leone spaghetti western-Saddam Hussein, or somebody we are told is Saddam Hussein, was marched to the gallows and strung up, a victim of frontier justice, the frontier in this case being a country illegally and brutally invaded for the sake of Israel, as Philip Zelikow unabashedly tells us, not that the corporate media pays attention to such bothersome details.
In old B-movies, characters often declared the guilty to be “hung at dawn,” and this is precisely what happened to the man we are told was Saddam. “Saddam Hussein was hanged at dawn on Saturday for crimes against humanity, a dramatic, violent end for a leader who brutally ruled Iraq for three decades before he was toppled by a US-led invasion in 2003,” reports the CIA’s favorite newspaper, the Washington Post.
Saddam’s alleged crimes against humanity were more fiction than reality — he was ultimately convicted of killing a handful of people in response to an assassination attempt against him, never mind the horrific stories of mass graves, containing the bodies of hundreds of thousands, fantastic charges the puppet government, installed and micromanaged by the perfidious neocons, were unable to make stick, even
with incessant media hype.
Of course, Saddam’s crimes pale in comparison to those committed by the United States, including the imposition of sanctions against Iraq, resulting in the murder of more than a million, 500,000 of them children. Saddam did not kill 655,000, the number of dead estimated by the Lancet to have perished since the United States invaded. Not unlike a Mafia consigliere, Rumsfeld trotted off to Iraq to shake Saddam’s hand and sell him weapons to kill hundreds of thousands of Iranians. Meanwhile, the murderous Israelis sold the Iranians weapons to kill Iraqis.
But what is really disgusting is the prospect of the corporate media gloating over Saddam’s execution. In the hours before Saddam was handed over to the puppet government installed by the neocons, coiffured talking heads on Fox News chatted about broken necks, asphyxiation, how it may take up to eight minutes for Saddam to swing at the end of a rope before strangling to death.
“We heard his neck snap,” Sami al-Askari, a lickspittle of the installed prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, told Reuters. “Saddam’s execution puts an end to all the pathetic gambles on a return to dictatorship,” said al-Maliki, never mind lately the neocons have talked about installing a dictator in Baghdad.
“Senior administration officials have acknowledged to me that they are considering alternatives other than democracy,” an anonymous “military affairs expert” told the Times Online in August. “Everybody in the administration is being quite circumspect, but you can sense their own concern that this is drifting away from democracy.”
Recall the neocon Jonah Goldberg suggesting on the pages of the “liberal” Los Angeles Times that it “would be great if the US could find an Iraqi Augusto Pinochet.” Never mind that Pinochet was responsible for “disappearing” at least 3,200 people, torturing tens of thousands, and launching a bloody coup, with help of the CIA, that resulted in the murder of Salvador Allende, the democratically elected president of Chile.
According to the scurrilous Goldberg, there is a “plus side” to all of this, as “Pinochet’s abuses helped create a civil society,” that is to say “civil” for multinational corporations and neolib bankers, a process Goldberg calls “free-market reforms,” a catch phrase for neoliberal thievery and back-to-back fire sales of the public trust, a process Goldberg claims “lifted the Chilean people out of poverty.”
Au contraire, Sparky. In fact, as Sara Larrain has documented, Chile’s “poverty rate grew from 20 percent of the population in 1970 to 40 percent in 1985. Today, after 13 years of 6 to 7 percent annual growth, almost 30 percent of the Chilean population (about 4 million people) still struggles at the poverty level. And poverty today is not because of the lack of jobs, since the unemployment rate is only 5 to 6 percent. The poor have jobs, but they have very low-paying jobs.”
Neolibs like to call this exponentially increasing misery the “Chilean Miracle,” a situation Goldberg and the neocons want to replicate in Iraq-or that is to say the three Bantustans the neocons are diligently working to carve off the body of a supine and increasingly disassembled Iraq.
“Which model do you think the average Iraqi would prefer?” Goldberg continues. “Which model, if implemented, would result in future generations calling Iraq a success? An Iraqi Pinochet would provide order and put the country on the path toward liberalism, democracy and the rule of law,” never mind that large numbers of Iraqis, indeed a vast majority, tell us they would prefer the rule of Saddam to “liberalism, democracy and the rule of law,” translating daily into chaos, murder, disease, and staggering poverty. But never mind. According to Goldberg, “if you can contemplate reinstalling a Hussein, you’d count yourself lucky to have a Pinochet.”
Indeed, Pinochet is the model, not only in Iraq but here in America. Bush considers himself the unitary decider, able to attach unconstitutional “signing statements” to laws (more than 800 to date), never mind that George Washington said a president “must approve all the parts of a bill, or reject it in toto” (the former George, of course, is irrelevant, even despised, by the current crop of neofascist Straussian neocons, followers of Carl Schmitt, the Nazi jurist and Hobbesian troll). Our version of the Pinochet “model” condones torture, war crimes (including nuclear war through depleted uranium), and the implementation of a nightmarish police state, complete with a massive snooping apparatus.
Finally, it should be remembered Pinochet was arrested in London back in 1998 at the request of a Spanish judge who sought his extradition on various charges of international criminality, including torture. Although Pinochet was held for a year, he was eventually sent back to Chile, as he was in poor health.
More recently, Donald Rumsfeld, AG Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet, Stephen Cambone, former deputy assistant attorney general John Yoo (who advocates torturing children), David S. Addington, Cheney’s chief of staff, and other senior US civilian and military officers face criminal prosecution in Germany for crimes against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, most notably for their roles in the routine torture at Camp Gitmo and Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.
Of course, this was
the reason, at least in part, the Military Commissions Act was passed earlier this year… it provides a get out of jail card for these malicious criminals.
Bush and crew will likely never face justice, or for that matter the prospect of hooded thugs fitting a rope around their necks. In America, war criminals are allowed to retire and write their memoirs.
Saddam was executed not so much as an act of justice — as if a kangaroo court, installed by an occupation military force, can seriously deliver justice — for the US government does not give a damn about justice for the Iraqi people, or for that matter any other people, but rather the execution of Saddam was engineered to serve as an object lesson to those who would resist the combined interests of the international banker criminal cartel, the think tank neolibs, and their neocon kissing cousins who serve the interests of the Likudniks in Israel, with plenty of profitable spillover for the military-industrial-intelligence complex, a behemothic monster over shadowing the threat Dwight Eisenhower warned us about as he left office on January 17, 1961.
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