When the former President of Iraq first was paraded into the theater
of the Iraqi Special Tribunal on July 1, 2004 — only days after the
Americans handed over the keys to the country to Puppet No. One,
Prime Minister-designate Ayad Allawi, along with god-only-knows
how many billions in bribes — the charge for which the ex-President
and his two associates were just hanged did not appear on the list of charges read out
against him (Associated Press, July 1, 2004):
- Killing members of political parties in the last 30 years
- Killing of religious figures in 1974
- Killing the Kurdish Barzani clan in 1983
- The 1986-88 "Anfal" campaign of murdering and displacing Kurds
- Gassing of Kurds in Halabja in 1988
- The 1990 invasion of Kuwait
- The suppression of the 1991 uprisings by Kurds and Shiites
As a matter of fact, the charges stemming from the Dujail massacre were first leveled not against the ex-President, but against five of his regime's high-ranking associates, including two who just accompanied him to the gallows: Barzan Ibrahim al-Hassan, a half-brother and member of Baghdad's intelligence services; and Awad Hamad Al-Bandar, a head of a revolutionary court.
Nevertheless. The date of the events for which these three men were convicted and so quickly dispatched is significant: Not 1983. Not 1986. Not 1988. Not 1990. And not 1991. But 1982. For it was in July 1982 that the former regime carried out a scorched-earth attack on the largely Shiite town of Dujail, north of Baghdad, a reprisal to make a bloody example of the entire town for some of its residents who had attempted to assassinate the President as his motorcade passed through Dujail days earlier.
With the execution of Saddam Hussein so quickly after his conviction for the July 1982 Dujail massacres, the Iraqi Special Tribunal has just placed a seal over the that part of the historical record the publication of which would reveal Saddam – era crimes in the context of the massive American support that began in earnest in 1983. (Though as a prelude to this in 1982, the Reagan regime did remove Iraq from the State Department's list of states that support international terrorism, thus legally opening the door for the assistance that followed.)
Anyone wanting to know the reasons why this trial on charges stemming from July 1982 had to be concluded first, and why the Iraqi Special Tribunal dispatched its world-historic defendant as quickly as it did, with all of the other charges still pending against him, the verdicts in each case never to be delivered — look no further than the needs of the American occupiers to escape the scrutiny and the blame they deserve.
Dead men tell no tales.
Erratum (January 3, 2007): Based on my initial misreading (no doubt some early misreporting, too — compare my third paragraph above) of reports about the hanging of the former President of Iraq, I wrote that the gentleman's two co-defendants in the trial for the July 1982 Dujail massacre, Barzan Ibrahim al-Hassan and Awad Hamad al-Bandar, had been dispatched right along with him.
Critically, this was in error. (Apologies. — But I'll leave the error stand. While correcting it here.)
More important, just today, Philip Alston, a New York University law professor and the UN Human Rights Council's Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions (a.k.a. lynchings), issued a plea to the ruling autorities in the Green Zone under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to stay the executions of al-Hassan and al-Bandar. ("Tragic Mistakes Made in the Trial and Execution of Saddam Hussein Must Not Be Repeated," Philip Alston, UN Human Rights Council, January 3, 2007; and "UN human rights expert deplores Saddam's trial and execution; calls for overhaul," UN News Center, January 4, 2007.)
Also today, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour both directed the same plea to the current Iraqi President, Jalal Talabani. ("High Commissioner Renewals Call for Restraint in Iraq," January 3, 2007; and "UN human rights chief calls on Iraq not to hang co-defendant of Saddam," UN News Center, January 3, 2007.)
"A Town That Bled Under Hussein Hails His Trial," John F. Burns, New York Times, July 3, 2005
"De-designation of Iraq as Supporter of International Terrorism," Alexander M. Haig, U.S. Department of State, February 27, 1982
"U.S. Strategy for the Near East and Southwest Asia," National Security Study Directive 4-82, March 19, 1982
"United States Security Strategy for the Near East and South Asia," National Security Decision Directive 99, July 12, 1983
"Iran-Iraq War: Analysis of Possible U.S. Shift from Position of Strict Neutrality," Jonathan T. Howe, U.S. Department of State, October 7, 1983
"Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984," National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 82, Ed. Joyce Battle, February 25, 2003
"Bush Silences a Dangerous Witness," Robert Parry, Consoritum News, December 30, 2006 (as posted to Truthout)
"Top Ten Ways the US Enabled Saddam Hussein," Juan Cole, Informed Comment, December 30, 2006
"He takes his secrets to the grave," Robert Fisk, The Independent, December 31, 2006
"Conviently forgotten," Tariq Ali, The Guardian, January 1, 2007
"The crows join the lynching," Gabriele Zamparini, The Cat's Blog, January 2, 2007
"These shameful events have humiliated the Arab world," Ghada Karmi, The Guardian, January 2, 2007
"'Illegal' Execution Enrages Arabs," Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily, Inter Press Service, January 2, 2007
"Lynching the Dictator," Christopher Hitchens, Slate, January 2, 2007
"U.S.-ordered rush job," Gwynne Dyer, Philadelphia Inquirer, January 3, 2007
"Saddam Hussein’s Last Words: 'To the Hell that is Iraq!?' What the Media has Deliberately Concealed," Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, GlobalResearch.ca, January 31, 2007
"Saddam Hussein," ZNet, December 31, 2006