View Full Version : Saddam Hussein Executed

12-29-2006, 11:32 PM
Reports: Saddam Hussein executed
Deposed Iraqi dictator hanged for deaths of 148 Shiites in 1982


(Gold9472: What does our leader get for the deaths of 655,000?)


BAGHDAD, Iraq - Three years after he was hauled from a hole in the ground by pursuing U.S. forces, Saddam Hussein was hanged Saturday under a sentence imposed by an Iraqi court, al-Hurra TV, al-Arabiya and Sky News TV reported.

The deposed president was found guilty over the killing of 148 members of the Shiite population of the town of Dujail after militants tried to assassinate him there in 1982, during Iraq’s war with Shiite Iran.

The official witnesses to his execution gathered Friday in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone in final preparation for his hanging, as state television broadcast footage of his regime’s atrocities.

The Pentagon said U.S. forces, always on high alert in Iraq, were braced for any upsurge in violence from Sunni insurgents loyal to Saddam.

A U.S. judge refused late Friday to stop the execution, rejecting a last-minute court challenge by the former Iraqi president.

"Petitioner Hussein's application for immediate, temporary stay of execution is denied," U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said in Washington after a hearing over the telephone with attorneys.

An Iraqi appeals court upheld Saddam’s death sentence Tuesday for the killing of 148 people who were detained and tortured after the attempt on his life.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said in statements released Friday that those who opposed the execution of Saddam were insulting the honor of his victims. His office said he made the remarks in a meeting with families of people who died during Saddam’s rule.

“Our respect for human rights requires us to execute him, and there will be no review or delay in carrying out the sentence,” al-Maliki said.

‘God’s gift to Iraqis’
In his Friday sermon, a mosque preacher in the Shiite holy city of Najaf called Saddam’s execution “God’s gift to Iraqis.”

“Oh, God, you know what Saddam has done! He killed millions of Iraqis in prisons, in wars with neighboring countries and he is responsible for mass graves. Oh God, we ask you to take revenge on Saddam,” said Sheik Sadralddin al-Qubanji, a member of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, known as SCIRI.

Rumors and reports swirled Friday over when the execution would take place and whether U.S. forces had handed Saddam over to Iraqi custody, presumably the last step before the execution.

Earlier reports said al-Maliki feared fueling religious tensions if Saddam were executed during Eid al-Adha, a Muslim holiday that starts at sundown Saturday.

An execution during Eid carries great symbolism. The feast marks the sacrifice the prophet Abraham was prepared to make when God ordered him to kill his son, and many Shiites could regard Saddam’s death as a gift from God. Such symbolism could further anger Sunnis, who are resentful of new Shiite power.

Najeeb al-Nueimi, a member of Saddam’s legal team, said U.S. authorities were maintaining physical custody of Saddam until the time of the execution to prevent him from being humiliated beforehand. He said the Americans also want to prevent the mutilation of his corpse, as has happened to other deposed Iraqi leaders.

Saddam has been held at a U.S. base near Baghdad airport, but the place of execution has been kept secret.

Meeting with half-brothers
Saddam, who said in court he had no fear of dying, had a farewell meeting with two of his half-brothers on Thursday, his lawyers said, adding the fallen dictator was in high spirits and ready to die a “martyr.” A third half-brother and another aide are also condemned to die for crimes against humanity.

Saddam’s conviction was hailed by President Bush as a triumph for the democracy he promised to foster in Iraq after the 2003 invasion.

International human rights groups criticized the year-long trial, during which three defense lawyers were killed and a chief judge resigned complaining of political interference.

Rights groups, along with the United Nations and many of the United States’ Western allies, oppose capital punishment and have voiced unease over the decision to put Saddam to death.

Saddam's lawyers issued a statement Friday calling on "everybody to do everything to stop this unfair execution." The statement also said the former president had been transferred from U.S. custody, though American and Iraqi officials later denied that.

The governments of Yemen and Libya made eleventh-hour appeals that Saddam's life be spared.

Yemeni Prime Minister Abdul-Kader Bajammal wrote to the U.S. and Iraqi presidents, warning in his letter to President Bush that Saddam's execution would "increase the sectarian violence" in Iraq, according to the official Yemeni news agency Saba.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi made an indirect appeal to save Saddam, telling Al-Jazeera television that his trial was illegal and that he should be retried by an international court.

12-29-2006, 11:38 PM
Pentagon: U.S. forces in Iraq vigilant about any escalation in violence


By Lolita C. Baldor
1:48 p.m. December 29, 2006

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon said Friday that U.S. fighting forces in Iraq are ready for any escalation of violence there – even as condemned former President Saddam Hussein waged an 11th-hour appeal in American courts to spare his life.

“U.S. forces in Iraq are obviously at a high state of alert anytime because of the environment that they operate in and because of the current security situation,” said spokesman Bryan Whitman, in advance of an appeal filed here on Saddam's behalf by his lawyers.

Whitman said U.S. forces will “obviously take into account social dimensions that could potentially led to an increase in violence which certainly would include carrying out the sentence of Saddam Hussein.”

Saddam has been in U.S. custody since he was captured in December 2003. As his execution drew near, Saddam's lawyers filed an appeal trying to stave it off.

Hussein's lawyers filed documents Friday afternoon asking for a stay of execution. The 21-page request was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington before Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.

His attorneys argued that because Hussein also faces a civil lawsuit in Washington, he has rights as a civil defendant that would be violated if he is executed. He has not received notice of those rights and the consequences that the lawsuit would have on his estate, his attorneys said.

“To protect those rights, defendant Saddam Hussein requests an order of this court providing a stay of his execution until further notice of this court,” attorney Nicholas Gilman wrote.

A similar request by the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, Awad Hamed al-Bandar, was denied Thursday and is under appeal. Al-Bandar also faces execution. The Justice Department argued in that case that U.S. courts have no jurisdiction to interfere with the judicial process of another country.

Meanwhile, the White House declined Friday to talk about the timing of his execution.

Deputy White House press secretary Scott Stanzel, talking to reporters Friday from Crawford, Texas, where President Bush was vacationing, said the hanging of Saddam was a matter for the sovereign Iraqi government. Earlier, the White House said the appeals court decision to uphold the sentence marked an important milestone for the Iraqi people's efforts to replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law.

At the Pentagon, Whitman said U.S. military forces “stay at a constant state of high readiness in Iraq and I would expect through this period they would do the same.”

He wouldn't comment further on any potential troop movements to strengthen security for the execution, but said the commanders in Iraq have the ability to move forces as they deem appropriate based on conditions on the ground.

Whitman also said he wouldn't comment on anything that President Bush might be contemplating in terms of changing U.S. war policy in Iraq or in connection with the intensive administration review now under way on American strategy there.

12-29-2006, 11:39 PM
U.S. Court Refuses to Spare Iraqi


The Associated Press
Friday, December 29, 2006; 8:11 PM

WASHINGTON -- A U.S. appeals court refused to block the military from sending a former top Iraqi official to his death Friday. A similar request by former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is pending before a federal judge in Washington.

Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, was convicted and sentenced alongside Saddam. He asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to order the military not to turn him over to Iraqi officials.

The appeals court issued only a short order denying al-Bandar's request, removing a procedural hurdle before the execution is to be carried out.

Al-Bandar argued that his trial violated his rights under the U.S. Constitution, but the Justice Department argued that foreigners being tried in foreign courts are not protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Cloak & Swagger
12-30-2006, 12:23 AM
(Gold9472: What does our leader get for the deaths of 655,000?)

Is that figure with or without the 9/11 victims?

12-30-2006, 12:30 AM
Is that figure with or without the 9/11 victims?


12-30-2006, 07:56 AM

12-30-2006, 08:09 AM
Iran terms Saddam's execution as "victory for Iraqi people"


dpa German Press Agency
Published: Saturday December 30, 2006

Tehran- Iran on Saturday termed the execution of Saddam Hussein as a "victory for the Iraqi people", state news agency IRNA reported.

"The execution of Saddam Hussein was a victory for the Iraqi people and no other country should take credit for that," Deputy Foreign Minister Hamid-Reza told IRNA in a first reaction by Tehran to the execution.

Assefi however criticised the swift execution and speculated that the United States preferred to avoid disclosure of more details in the court hearings.

"Investigation into the Iraqi invasion in Iran (1980-1988) and in Kuwait (1990) could have disclosed the US involvement in Saddam's crimes and therefore the Americans preferred to close the case earlier," the Iranian official said.

12-30-2006, 10:05 AM
Justice has been dealt. Time to move forward, hopefully Irag will their own affairs in order now.

12-30-2006, 06:10 PM
Saddam: The questions that will live on


From Andrew Buncombe in Washington
Published: 30 December 2006

So why did George Bush decide to invade Iraq? Nearly four years and hundreds of thousands of casualties later, the reasons appear both as obvious and as elusive as they were in the spring of 2003.

The official reasoning was always straightforward. Key among the claims included in the so-called Iraq War Resolution passed by Congress in October 2002 was that Iraq "poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region". It added that Saddam's regime harboured chemical and biological weapons and was seeking to develop a nuclear arsenal.

In an address to the nation just three days before the invasion, Mr Bush declared: "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."

It quickly became clear that central claim was not true, and it became equally clear the administration had been manipulating uncertain and "caveated" intelligence to make the case for a war that had been decided on long before. The famous Downing Street memo suggests that as early as July 2002 " intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy". Indeed, within hours of the attacks of 9/11, senior elements within the administration were seeking for a strike against Iraq even though there was no evidence it was involved.

But if the alleged threat of WMD was based on manipulated intelligence – some provided by Iraqi exiles such as Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress - what else motivated the US? Many remain convinced the overwhelming factor was a desire to control Iraq's oil supplies, the second largest proven reserves in the world. Such a view has been reinforced by recent recommendations of Iraq Study Group which said: " The United States should assist Iraqi leaders to reorganise the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise, in order to enhance efficiency, transparency, and accountability."

Veteran dissident Noam Chomsky said: "It is glaringly obvious that Iraq is estimated to have the second largest energy reserves in the world and is right at the heart of the world's major energy producing region, and that establishing a client state in Iraq would considerably enhance policies that go back to the dawn of the oil age, and in particular to the post-war period when the US was taking over global domination, and established as a very high and natural policy principle the need to control this ‘stupendous source of strategic power'."

He added: "It takes remarkable obedience to authority to believe that the US would have 'liberated' Iraq - or taken revenge - if its main exports were lettuce and pickles, and the major petroleum resources were in the South Pacific."

Some point out that a desire among some in government to oust Saddam predated 9/11, and suggest in the aftermath of those attacks, a climate existed in which it was easier to pursue an invasion. Indeed, among the signatories to the 1998 letter from the neo-con Project for the New American Century calling on President Clinton to take on Saddam were former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz.

Mr Wolfowitz later said Saddam's alleged possession of WMD was just one of many reasons for invading. "For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on," he said.

David Swanson, a founder of afterdowningstreet.org, a coalition of peace and activist groups, said: "The one thing we know is that the reasons they told us were false. [I think] they wanted an Iraq that looked free but isn't and they wanted to control it¿They wanted the oil and the power that comes with controlling that oil and making profits for British and US oil companies."

Did other factors influence Mr Bush? Was he seeking revenge against "the guy who tried to kill my dad" – a reference to an alleged plot to kill the president's father during a visit to Kuwait in 1993 or was there even a broader strategic rationale, one that would benefit Israel – something claimed by peace activist Cindy Sheehan.

What does seem certain is that there was a confluence of factors and interests coming together in the aftermath of 9/11 that allowed Mr Bush to proceed to war with little opposition from the Congress, or indeed, the media.

12-30-2006, 06:23 PM
EU opposes death penalty against Saddam Hussein


2006-12-31 03:00:23

BRUSSELS, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) leaders and officials expressed on Saturday the EU's opposition to the death penalty against former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

"The passing of Saddam Hussein closes a long, painful chapter in the history of Iraq. While the EU opposes capital punishment as a matter of principle, Saddam's trial and punishment mean that those who commit crimes against humanity cannot escape justice," EU commissioner on external relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner said.

The commissioner made the comment in a written statement in response to the execution of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who was hanged earlier on Saturday.

Waldner noted that Saddam Hussein's career and legacy show the "futility of the politics of violence and terror", adding that she hopes that all Iraqi leaders will now find the wisdom and courage to join forces to end the violence and to build a future of stability and prosperity for their country and people.

"The European Commission will continue to give active and substantial support to those who work for reconciliation and progress in Iraq," she added.

Earlier, Cristina Gallach, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana reiterated the EU's opposition to death penalty.

"The EU condemns the crimes committed by Saddam Hussein. The EU's position is that we are always against death penalty," the spokeswoman, who was reluctant to notify her name, told Xinhua over phone.

Finland, which will hand over the EU presidency in two days to Germany, echoed the similar position.

"The EU has a very consistent view against using the death penalty and it should have not been used in this instance either, although there is no doubt over Saddam's guilt of very serious crimes against humanity," Finland's Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja told Finnish YLE television.

EU Aid and Development Commissioner Louis Michel believed capital punishment was at odds with the democracy Iraq's leaders were trying to build.

"You don't fight barbarism with acts that I deem as barbaric. The death penalty is not compatible with democracy," he said.

"Unfortunately Saddam Hussein risks to appear as a martyr, and he does not deserve that. He is not a martyr, he committed the worst things," he added.

12-30-2006, 07:29 PM
I wonder if our leader Bush would have the same composure as Saddam when his turn came at the gallows?

12-30-2006, 09:40 PM
He would be a crying little baby.

12-30-2006, 10:17 PM
He would be a crying little baby.
Damn, you read my mind.

12-31-2006, 03:19 PM
I've got a feeling we might not have heard the last of Saddam, he could very well have arranged for some very incriminating evidence to come out after his death.

01-01-2007, 10:33 AM
If I were him...I would make sure those "files or information" got out.

I do think he became somewhat of a scapegoat...however, killing an entire village of his own citizens finally caught up with him, not to mention all the other otracities (sp) that occurred under his rule/regime. Politics kinda reminds me of the Mafia. It's just business, nothing personal...and for him, he finally ran out of political pull.

The fact that not enough people around the world, including here in the US does not DEMAND answers for the BS claims of WMD made by our own officials is appalling. And if we, American citizens, ever hope to get support from the rest of the world, those who blantantly lied have to be called upon to face their own kind of retribution.

01-01-2007, 10:58 AM

Robert Fisk: He takes his secrets to the grave. Our complicity dies with him

How the West armed Saddam, fed him intelligence on his 'enemies', equipped him for atrocities - and then made sure he wouldn't squeal

Published: 31 December 2006

We've shut him up. The moment Saddam's hooded executioner pulled the lever of the trapdoor in Baghdad yesterday morning, Washington's secrets were safe. The shameless, outrageous, covert military support which the United States - and Britain - gave to Saddam for more than a decade remains the one terrible story which our presidents and prime ministers do not want the world to remember. And now Saddam, who knew the full extent of that Western support - given to him while he was perpetrating some of the worst atrocities since the Second World War - is dead.

Gone is the man who personally received the CIA's help in destroying the Iraqi communist party. After Saddam seized power, US intelligence gave his minions the home addresses of communists in Baghdad and other cities in an effort to destroy the Soviet Union's influence in Iraq. Saddam's mukhabarat visited every home, arrested the occupants and their families, and butchered the lot. Public hanging was for plotters; the communists, their wives and children, were given special treatment - extreme torture before execution at Abu Ghraib.

There is growing evidence across the Arab world that Saddam held a series of meetings with senior American officials prior to his invasion of Iran in 1980 - both he and the US administration believed that the Islamic Republic would collapse if Saddam sent his legions across the border - and the Pentagon was instructed to assist Iraq's military machine by providing intelligence on the Iranian order of battle. One frosty day in 1987, not far from Cologne, I met the German arms dealer who initiated those first direct contacts between Washington and Baghdad - at America's request.

"Mr Fisk... at the very beginning of the war, in September of 1980, I was invited to go to the Pentagon," he said. "There I was handed the very latest US satellite photographs of the Iranian front lines. You could see everything on the pictures. There were the Iranian gun emplacements in Abadan and behind Khorramshahr, the lines of trenches on the eastern side of the Karun river, the tank revetments - thousands of them - all the way up the Iranian side of the border towards Kurdistan. No army could want more than this. And I travelled with these maps from Washington by air to Frankfurt and from Frankfurt on Iraqi Airways straight to Baghdad. The Iraqis were very, very grateful!"

I was with Saddam's forward commandos at the time, under Iranian shellfire, noting how the Iraqi forces aligned their artillery positions far back from the battle front with detailed maps of the Iranian lines. Their shelling against Iran outside Basra allowed the first Iraqi tanks to cross the Karun within a week. The commander of that tank unit cheerfully refused to tell me how he had managed to choose the one river crossing undefended by Iranian armour. Two years ago, we met again, in Amman and his junior officers called him "General" - the rank awarded him by Saddam after that tank attack east of Basra, courtesy of Washington's intelligence information.

Iran's official history of the eight-year war with Iraq states that Saddam first used chemical weapons against it on 13 January 1981. AP's correspondent in Baghdad, Mohamed Salaam, was taken to see the scene of an Iraqi military victory east of Basra. "We started counting - we walked miles and miles in this fucking desert, just counting," he said. "We got to 700 and got muddled and had to start counting again ... The Iraqis had used, for the first time, a combination - the nerve gas would paralyse their bodies ... the mustard gas would drown them in their own lungs. That's why they spat blood."

At the time, the Iranians claimed that this terrible cocktail had been given to Saddam by the US. Washington denied this. But the Iranians were right. The lengthy negotiations which led to America's complicity in this atrocity remain secret - Donald Rumsfeld was one of President Ronald Reagan's point-men at this period - although Saddam undoubtedly knew every detail. But a largely unreported document, "United States Chemical and Biological Warfare-related Dual-use exports to Iraq and their possible impact on the Health Consequences of the Persian Gulf War", stated that prior to 1985 and afterwards, US companies had sent government-approved shipments of biological agents to Iraq. These included Bacillus anthracis, which produces anthrax, andEscherichia coli (E. coli). That Senate report concluded that: "The United States provided the Government of Iraq with 'dual use' licensed materials which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological and missile-systems programs, including ... chemical warfare agent production facility plant and technical drawings, chemical warfare filling equipment."

Nor was the Pentagon unaware of the extent of Iraqi use of chemical weapons. In 1988, for example, Saddam gave his personal permission for Lt-Col Rick Francona, a US defence intelligence officer - one of 60 American officers who were secretly providing members of the Iraqi general staff with detailed information on Iranian deployments, tactical planning and bomb damage assessments - to visit the Fao peninsula after Iraqi forces had recaptured the town from the Iranians. He reported back to Washington that the Iraqis had used chemical weapons to achieve their victory. The senior defence intelligence officer at the time, Col Walter Lang, later said that the use of gas on the battlefield by the Iraqis "was not a matter of deep strategic concern".

I saw the results, however. On a long military hospital train back to Tehran from the battle front, I found hundreds of Iranian soldiers coughing blood and mucus from their lungs - the very carriages stank so much of gas that I had to open the windows - and their arms and faces were covered with boils. Later, new bubbles of skin appeared on top of their original boils. Many were fearfully burnt. These same gases were later used on the Kurds of Halabja. No wonder that Saddam was primarily tried in Baghdad for the slaughter of Shia villagers, not for his war crimes against Iran.

We still don't know - and with Saddam's execution we will probably never know - the extent of US credits to Iraq, which began in 1982. The initial tranche, the sum of which was spent on the purchase of American weapons from Jordan and Kuwait, came to $300m. By 1987, Saddam was being promised $1bn in credit. By 1990, just before Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, annual trade between Iraq and the US had grown to $3.5bn a year. Pressed by Saddam's foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, to continue US credits, James Baker then Secretary of State, but the same James Baker who has just produced a report intended to drag George Bush from the catastrophe of present- day Iraq - pushed for new guarantees worth $1bn from the US.

In 1989, Britain, which had been giving its own covert military assistance to Saddam guaranteed £250m to Iraq shortly after the arrest of Observer journalist Farzad Bazoft in Baghdad. Bazoft, who had been investigating an explosion at a factory at Hilla which was using the very chemical components sent by the US, was later hanged. Within a month of Bazoft's arrest William Waldegrave, then a Foreign Office minister, said: "I doubt if there is any future market of such a scale anywhere where the UK is potentially so well-placed if we play our diplomatic hand correctly... A few more Bazofts or another bout of internal oppression would make it more difficult."

Even more repulsive were the remarks of the then Deputy Prime Minister, Geoffrey Howe, on relaxing controls on British arms sales to Iraq. He kept this secret, he wrote, because "it would look very cynical if, so soon after expressing outrage about the treatment of the Kurds, we adopt a more flexible approach to arms sales".

Saddam knew, too, the secrets of the attack on the USS Stark when, on 17 May 1987, an Iraqi jet launched a missile attack on the American frigate, killing more than a sixth of the crew and almost sinking the vessel. The US accepted Saddam's excuse that the ship was mistaken for an Iranian vessel and allowed Saddam to refuse their request to interview the Iraqi pilot.

The whole truth died with Saddam Hussein in the Baghdad execution chamber yesterday. Many in Washington and London must have sighed with relief that the old man had been silenced for ever.

'The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East' by Robert Fisk is now available in paperback

01-01-2007, 11:21 AM
Rush to Hang Hussein Was Questioned


Published: January 1, 2007

BAGHDAD, Dec. 31 — With his plain pine coffin strapped into an American military helicopter for a predawn journey across the desert, Saddam Hussein , the executed dictator who built a legend with his defiance of America, completed a turbulent passage into history on Sunday.

Like the helicopter trip, just about everything in the 24 hours that began with Mr. Hussein’s being taken to his execution from his cell in an American military detention center in the postmidnight chill of Saturday had a surreal and even cinematic quality.

Part of it was that the Americans, who turned him into a pariah and drove him from power, proved to be his unlikely benefactors in the face of Iraq ’s new Shiite rulers who seemed bent on turning the execution and its aftermath into a new nightmare for the Sunni minority privileged under Mr. Hussein.

The 110-mile journey aboard a Black Hawk helicopter carried Mr. Hussein’s body to an American military base north of Tikrit, Camp Speicher, named for an American Navy pilot lost over Iraq in the first hours of the Persian Gulf war in 1991. From there, an Iraqi convoy carried him to Awja, the humble town beside the Tigris River that Mr. Hussein, in the chandeliered palaces that became his habitat as ruler, spoke of as emblematic of the miseries of his lonely and impoverished youth.

The American role extended beyond providing the helicopter that carried Mr. Hussein home. Iraqi and American officials who have discussed the intrigue and confusion that preceded the decision late on Friday to rush Mr. Hussein to the gallows have said that it was the Americans who questioned the political wisdom — and justice — of expediting the execution, in ways that required Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to override constitutional and religious precepts that might have assured Mr. Hussein a more dignified passage to his end.

The Americans’ concerns seem certain to have been heightened by what happened at the hanging, as evidenced in video recordings made just before Mr. Hussein fell through the gallows trapdoor at 6:10 a.m. on Saturday. A new video that appeared on the Internet late Saturday, apparently made by a witness with a camera cellphone, underscored the unruly, mocking atmosphere in the execution chamber.

This continued, on the video, through the actual hanging itself, with a shout of “The tyrant has fallen! May God curse him!” as Mr. Hussein hung lifeless, his neck snapped back and his glassy eyes open.

The cacophony from those gathered before the gallows included a shout of “Go to hell!” as the former ruler stood with the noose around his neck in the final moments, and his riposte, barely audible above the bedlam, which included the words “gallows of shame.” It continued despite appeals from an official-sounding voice, possibly Munir Haddad, the judge who presided at the hanging, saying, “Please no! The man is about to die.”

The Shiites who predominated at the hanging began a refrain at one point of “Moktada! Moktada! Moktada!”— the name of a volatile cleric whose private militia has spawned death squads that have made an indiscriminate industry of killing Sunnis — appending it to a Muslim imprecation for blessings on the Prophet Muhammad. “Moktada,” Mr. Hussein replied, smiling contemptuously. “Is this how real men behave?”

American officials in Iraq have been reluctant to say much publicly about the pell-mell nature of the hanging, apparently fearful of provoking recriminations in Washington, where the Bush administration adopted a hands-off posture, saying the timing of the execution was Iraq’s to decide.

While privately incensed at the dead-of-night rush to the gallows, the Americans here have been caught in the double bind that has ensnared them over much else about the Maliki government — frustrated at what they call the government’s failure to recognize its destructive behavior, but reluctant to speak out, or sometimes to act, for fear of undermining Mr. Maliki and worsening the situation.

But a narrative assembled from accounts by various American officials, and by Iraqis present at some of the crucial meetings between the two sides, shows that it was the Americans who counseled caution in the way the Iraqis carried out the hanging. The issues uppermost in the Americans’ minds, these officials said, were a provision in Iraq’s new Constitution that required the three-man presidency council to approve hangings, and a stipulation in a longstanding Iraqi law that no executions can be carried out during the Id al-Adha holiday, which began for Iraqi Sunnis on Saturday and Shiites on Sunday.

A senior Iraqi official said the Americans staked out their ground at a meeting on Thursday, 48 hours after an appeals court had upheld the death sentence passed on Mr. Hussein and two associates. They were convicted in November of crimes against humanity for the persecution of the Shiite townspeople of Dujail, north of Baghdad, in 1982. Mr. Hussein, as president, signed a decree to hang 148 men and teenage boys.

Told that Mr. Maliki wanted to carry out the death sentence on Mr. Hussein almost immediately, and not wait further into the 30-day deadline set by the appeals court, American officers at the Thursday meeting said that they would accept any decision but needed assurance that due process had been followed before relinquishing physical custody of Mr. Hussein.

“The Americans said that we have no issue in handing him over, but we need everything to be in accordance with the law,” the Iraqi official said. “We do not want to break the law.”

The American pressure sent Mr. Maliki and his aides into a frantic quest for legal workarounds, the Iraqi official said. The Americans told them they needed a decree from President Jalal Talabani, signed jointly by his two vice presidents, upholding the death sentence, and a letter from the chief judge of the Iraqi High Tribunal, the court that tried Mr. Hussein, certifying the verdict. But Mr. Talabani, a Kurd, made it known that he objected to the death penalty on principle.

The Maliki government spent much of Friday working on legal mechanisms to meet the American demands. From Mr. Talabani, they obtained a letter saying that while he would not sign a decree approving the hanging, he had no objections. The Iraqi official said Mr. Talabani first asked the tribunal’s judges for an opinion on whether the constitutional requirement for presidential approval applied to a death sentence handed down by the tribunal, a special court operating outside Iraq’s main judicial system. The judges said the requirement was void.

Mr. Maliki had one major obstacle: the Hussein-era law proscribing executions during the Id holiday. This remained unresolved until late Friday, the Iraqi official said. He said he attended a late-night dinner at the prime minister’s office at which American officers and Mr. Maliki’s officials debated the issue.

One participant described the meeting this way: “The Iraqis seemed quite frustrated, saying, ‘Who is going to execute him, anyway, you or us?’ The Americans replied by saying that obviously, it was the Iraqis who would carry out the hanging. So the Iraqis said, ‘This is our problem and we will handle the consequences. If there is any damage done, it is we who will be damaged, not you.’ ”

To this, the Iraqis added what has often been their trump card in tricky political situations: they telephoned officials of the marjaiya, the supreme religious body in Iraqi Shiism, composed of ayatollahs in the holy city of Najaf. The ayatollahs approved. Mr. Maliki, at a few minutes before midnight on Friday, then signed a letter to the justice minister, “to carry out the hanging until death.”

The Maliki letter sent Iraqi and American officials into a frenzy of activity. Fourteen Iraqi officials, including senior members of the Maliki government, were called at 1:30 a.m. on Saturday and told to gather at the prime minister’s office. At. 3:30 a.m., they were driven to the helicopter pad beside Mr. Hussein’s old Republican Palace, and taken to the prison in the northern suburb of Khadimiya where the hanging took place.

At about the same time, American and Iraqi officials said, Mr. Hussein was roused at his Camp Cropper cell 10 miles away, and taken to a Black Hawk helicopter for his journey to Khadimiya.

None of the Iraqi officials were able to explain why Mr. Maliki had been unwilling to allow the execution to wait. Nor would any explain why those who conducted it had allowed it to deteriorate into a sectarian free-for-all that had the effect, on the video recordings, of making Mr. Hussein, a mass murderer, appear dignified and restrained, and his executioners, representing Shiites who were his principal victims, seem like bullying street thugs.

But the explanation may have lain in something that Bassam al-Husseini, a Maliki aide closely involved in arrangements for the hanging, said to the BBC later. Mr. Husseini, who has American citizenship, described the hanging as “an Id gift to the Iraqi people.”

The weekend’s final disorderly chapter came with the tensions over Mr. Hussein’s body. For nearly 18 hours on Saturday, Mr. Maliki’s officials insisted that his corpse would be kept in secret government custody until circumstances allowed interment without his grave becoming a shrine or a target. Once again, the Americans intervened.

The leader of Mr. Hussein’s Albu-Nasir tribe, Sheik Ali al-Nida, said that before flying to Baghdad on an American helicopter, he had been so fearful for his safety that he had written a will. Bizarrely, Sheik Nida and others were shown on Iraqi television collecting the coffin from the courtyard in front of Mr. Maliki’s office, where it sat unceremoniously in a police pickup.

After the helicopter trip to Camp Speicher, the American base outside Tikrit, the coffin was taken in an Iraqi convoy to Awja, and laid to rest in the ornate visitors’ center that Mr. Hussein ordered built for the townspeople in the 1990s. Local officials and members of Mr. Hussein’s tribe had broken open the marbled floor in the main reception hall, and cleared what they said would be a temporary burial place until he could be moved to a permanent grave outside Awja where his two sons, Uday and Qusay, are buried.

At the burial, several mourners threw themselves on the closed casket. One, a young man convulsed with sobs, cried: “He has not died. I can hear him speaking to me.” Another shouted, “Saddam is dead! Instead of weeping for him, think of ways we can take revenge on the Iranian enemy,” Sunni parlance for the Shiites now in power.

01-01-2007, 11:28 AM
My point is as follows: Yes Saddam was awful to kill those people. BUT: If we are going to go after/ hang everyone who kills some of their own, then I say we should get into China RIGHT NOW. Those fuckers are killing their own by the tens of thousands, but we don't go after them because A: They are holding alot of our debt. and B:We are pussies. Bullies not to put too fine of a point on it. You aren't gonna go into a coutry like that that can actually hit you back. Who made us the world police? I am more disgusted daily by what this country is turning into. We went after Saddam because our greed drives us. We SUPPORTED him as recently as a year before we invaded the first time! You can find pics of him shaking hands and taking walks with some of our people (I think Bush sr. was one) So yes, horrified by what Saddam did. But MORE horrified by what is being done around the globe in our names. You realize this, right? If we tout ourselves as a democracy, then all of these attrocities can be laid at our feet.

01-01-2007, 03:56 PM
China doesn't sit on a large oil reserve, like Iraq does.

Yes, Saddam was a brute, but Bush is worse.

01-01-2007, 06:15 PM

I concur!

01-02-2007, 10:38 PM
From an earlier post in this thread:


Saddam has been held at a U.S. base near Baghdad airport, but the place of execution has been kept secret.
According to NBC Nightly ‘news’ (tonights broadcast), the gallows were on a U.S. military base.

(I’m on a dial-up connection at the moment, so I’ll leave it to somebody else to track down this detail if it is deemed important.)