Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Cowboy Justice Suffered By Saddam

People outside the control of the western-media are free to remain common-sensical, they have an unobstructed view:

OPINION January 12, 2007 -- Elijah Ngurare - Windhoek, Namibia

Unfortunately in this part of the world, much of what we know of and about the world is brought to us courtesy of the news outlets of our colonial masters mainly through their British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and England based Sky News, America's Cable News Network (CNN, which like the Fox News is aligned to the US Foreign Policy), and others.

Naturally , the news from these sources is designed to fit and feed the respective foreign policies of the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the European Union and their kith and kin throughout the world. It is not far-fetched to assume that the dominant Western media would appear to classify the whole world as having one President, Mr George Bush, Jr, one Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, one Monarch, Queen Elizabeth, all of whom have the divine right to invade any country and execute any world leader who is seen to be inhibiting their pursuit of commercial interests in all territories of the world.

This divine right which is a sort of modern Manifest Destiny is the catalyst which is driving their neo-imperialist and colonial agenda to defy the will of the United Nations by invading Iraq and destabilizing other countries particularly in the developing world at will. It is now common knowledge that after three years since his capture by his former allies and friends (United States of America and Britain), President Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging on 30th December 2006. The Eurocentric press, mentioned above, showed the entire world images of a lifeless Saddam swinging from the gallows, his neck broken.

Generally, in international law (or what is left of it), although prisonersofwarhave generally no protection from the law of the nation that captures them and thus have little recourse for civil remedy, they are however supposed to be granted humane treatment by the enemy in accord with the customs, treaties and conventions of international law.

The international legal instrument which governs the treatment of prisoners of war is The Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War which was adopted on 12 August 1949 and entered into force on 21 October 1950. According to Articles 3 and 4 thereof (read in full) President Saddam Hussein and his co-accused would qualify to be prisoners of war and not as a 'deck of cards'. In the case of the occupation of Iraq, Article 2 provides the scope of the Convention to cover "all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance..." Moreover, the Convention under Article 3 prohibits "at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples."

In relation to his execution, the Convention under Article 101 explicitly states that, in the case where "the death penalty is pronounced on a prisoner of war, the sentence shall not be executed before the expiration of a period of at least six months from the date when the Protecting Power receives, at an indicated address, the detailed communication provided for " in the Convention. It is clear that in the case of Saddam Hussein the execution was rather carried out with a whirlwind speed in contravention of the Geneva Convention.

It is evident also that since his capture, Saddam Hussein was being preserved for death at a later date. Indeed this is what an African American nurse Master Sergeant Robert Ellis did confirm to a US newspaper after Saddam's execution. Sergeant Robert Ellis confirmed that he had checked Saddam's health twice a day, with orders to do whatever was needed to keep him alive.

"That was my job: to keep him alive and healthy, so they could kill him at a later date," he said in an interview with the St Louis Post-Dispatch.

In other words, the Anglo American occupiers will not be successful in their attempts to claim that the execution was purely an Iraqi affair since the hanging took place at a US-controlled military facility in Baghdad, and Hussein remained in US custody until he was handed over to the executioners. It is obvious that the US largely orchestrated the trial from behind the scenes. President Saddam Hussein was hanged for the death of 148 Shias who plotted to assassinate him and he may have also been responsible for the death of few more thousands during his reign. But does this exonerate President George Bush Jr and Prime Minister Tony Blair's crimes against the innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan? Referring to President George Bush Jr, Shakeel Mohammed in his column in Aljazeera Magazine wrote that "if we count the death toll of the Afghanistan invasion, Israeli aggression against Lebanon and Palestine, with the active support of the U.S. president, then we will realize that we are looking at probably the worst killer in the history of mankind."

It is clear also that, for a long time, Saddam Hussein had been a reliable ally and friend of America. In the same way that PW Botha, F W de Klerk, Jonas Savimbi, Mobutu Sese Seko and many other despots that the world has ever known. However, unlike De Klerk who was rewarded with a Nobel Peace Prize for his Apartheid brutality and crimes, Saddam Hussein has been hanged for killing 148 Shias at a time when the United States was supplying him with state-of- the-art military hardware to wage a war against Iran. One wonders if the US-run United Nations can demand from the US Administration to make public the details of weapons and other materials of violence they have supplied Saddam?

Many commentators including the World Socialist Web Site have documented the close relationship between Washington and President Saddam Hussein.

On its part, the World Socialist Web Site reveals that initially Saddam Hussein launched the war on Iran in September 1980 with the tacit backing of President Jimmy Carter's administration, which was then locked in a confrontation with Iran over the student seizure of the US embassy in Tehran and the taking of US officials as hostages. Thereafter, President Ronald Reagan's administration provided significant aid to Hussein throughout the eight years of war, supplying tactical military intelligence used to target Iranian forces for chemical weapons attacks, and backing arms sales to Iraq by European allies of the United States such as Britain, France and Germany.

Thus on two occasions, in 1983 and 1984, Donald Rumsfeld (one of the architects of the Iraq war together with his then deputy Paul Wolfowitz, who is now President of the World Bank) was sent to Iraq as a special US envoy to reassure Hussein that despite occasional noises about human rights violations, the US would maintain its allegiance to Baghdad in the war.

There are also many legal questions regarding the execution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. There is every indication that it serves not justice, but the political purposes of the Bush administration and its Iraqi stooges.

Rather than a tribunal modelled on Nuremberg, where the surviving Nazi leaders received far more extensive due process rights than were accorded Hussein, the proceedings in Baghdad resembled a "Stalinist or Nazi show trial, with a puppet judge, a predetermined verdict and a sentence carried out in the dead of night". As Richard Dicker, international justice director of Human Rights Watch, explained in a column in the Guardian, the legal procedure was a travesty. According to Dicker, "The trial judgment was not finished when the verdict and sentence were announced on November 5. The record only became available to defense lawyers on November 22. According to the tribunal's statute, the defense attorneys had to file their appeals on December 5, which gave them less than two weeks to respond to the 300-page trial decision. The appeals chamber never held a hearing to consider the legal arguments presented as allowed by Iraqi law. It defies belief that the appeals chamber could fairly review a 300-page decision together with written submissions by the defense and consider all the relevant issues in less than three weeks."

The reaction to the execution of President Saddam Hussein was expectedly mixed. Throughout much of the developing world the lynching of President Saddam Hussein was generally regarded as barbaric and a mockery of 'rule of law, good governance, transparency and respect for human rights'. In essence, I am of the view that there should from now on be measured need to give new meanings to these principles. Clearly in the vocabulary of Bush and Blair 'rule of law, good governance, transparency and respective for human rights' is equivalent to mass murders of innocent civilians as witnessed in Iraq. It would be better therefore that revolutionary leaders of the developing world rather utter these principles with new meaning and application.

Otherwise, Bush and Blair's meanings are recited, without modification, and is equivalent to being puppets of choice for these modern mass murderers.

Simply, the lynching of Saddam Hussein was wrong, whether or not you agree with capital punishment and irrespective of the magnitude of his crimes. It is further my view that the execution of Saddam Hussein, however, should also serve as a lesson for many would-be 'reliable allies or friends of the Anglo American alliances', namely, that when you serve their purpose you remain a 'darling' but once you are threatening their national interests and security, like a bubblegum which has lost its sweetness, you shall be spat out in order to 'die alone'. One can only hope that our leaders in the developing world, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, are taking note!

On the other hand, President George Bush Jr and his loyal friend Prime Minister Tony Blair all described the execution as a "milestone and that he was held to account for his crimes". Ironically, in recent days, some Western politicians particularly in England are voicing opposition for the "manner in which Saddam Hussein was executed" although they blindly voted to support the illegal invasion of Iraq. However, the International Herald Tribune quoted the Deputy Prime Minister of the UK, John Prescott, who while refusing to criticize their puppet Government in Iraq, thought that the manner in which President Saddam Hussein was executed "was quite deplorable, really, I don't think one can endorse in any way that, whatever your views about capital punishment." The Finance Minister Gordon Brown, who is Scottish and heir apparent to Tony Blair, also added his opposition to the manner of Saddam Hussein's execution. Grudgingly, Tony Blair also followed suit but too late to make any impact. Meanwhile, the French President Jacques Chirac is quoted by the Associated Press as saying that the "U.S.-led invasion of Iraq destabilized the entire Middle East and allowed terrorism to spread."

In general terms, the view of the Anglo American coalition about the execution of Saddam Hussein would appear to have recently been summed up by an editorial in the Washington Post which perfectly captured the hypocrisy with which the Bush administration, the congressional Democrats and Republicans, and the Western media approached the case against Saddam Hussein. In the editorial the Post sententiously declared its general opposition to the death penalty, before declaring that if it was appropriate for anyone it should be applied to "Saddam Hussein-a man who, with the possible exception of Kim Jong II, has more blood on his hands than anyone else alive."

This view was rebutted perfectly by the editorial in the World Socialist Web Site which declared that George W. Bush and by extension Tony Blair have "already caused the deaths of more Iraqis than Saddam Hussein, some 655,000 since the US invasion in March 2003, according to a study by the US-based Johns Hopkins school of public health. This is to say nothing of the still living US accomplices of Hussein in the Iran-Iraq War, and the successive US presidents, Bush's father, Clinton, Bush himself, who backed the US-led embargo on Iraq that caused the death of an estimated 1.5 million Iraqis from 1991 to 2003." Accordingly, it is argued that "true justice for the tortured and oppressed people of Iraq, as well as the American, British and other victims of the US-led war, will come only when those responsible for the invasion and occupation, Bush, Blair, Cheney and their acolytes, face their own trials for waging an illegal war of aggression."

Finally, in the presence of the defeat in Iraq the official line in Washington DC and London is that the world without Saddam Hussein is a better place and 'democracy and freedom' is on the 'rise' in Iraq as well as the wider Middle East. Strangely more troops will be sent to Iraq while 'Iraq is a sovereign country'. Billions of dollars have been spent to occupy a 'sovereign Iraq' and billions more dollars will be spent in the next months and years, all in the name of "the world is free without Saddam Hussein" while nothing at this point is being said about those illusive Weapons of Mass Destruction. As Tariq Ali tells us in the Guardian of 20 December 2006, "once a war goes badly wrong and its justifications are shown to be lies, to insist that a 'democratic' Iraq is visible on the horizon and that we must stay the course becomes a total fantasy."

Indeed the habitual denials of Bush and Blair about the blunders in 'Iraq' can now be equated to the "pop hero of the Iraq war" Mr Muhammad Said al-Sahhaf (remember him?), the Iraqi information minister who, in his daily press conferences during the invasion, heroically denied even the most evident facts and stuck to the Iraqi line. It will be recalled that even with American invader tanks only a few hundred yards from his office, he continued to claim that the televised shots of tanks on the Baghdad streets were just Hollywood special effects. It will be recalled further that, sometimes, he even struck a strange truth, when confronted with claims that American invaders were in control of parts of Baghdad, he would snap back: "They are not in control of anything, they don't even control themselves!"

The irony is that this distinction encapsulates perfectly what went wrong and is going wrong with the United States occupation of Iraq. The press conferences in London and Washington DC continue to insist that "Iraq is a sovereign country when it is an occupied territory"; that the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein when in face-to-face interviews with 2,000 Iraqi adults by the Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies in November, it was found that "90 per cent of them said the situation in their country had been better before the US-led invasion"; and that democracy and freedom is on the rise in wider Middle East when in fact Hamas's victory at the ballot box was denied by US and the UK resulting in untold suffering of the Palestinians. Let the truth be told, there can be no sustainable peace in the "wider Middle East", even after the death of Saddam Hussein, until the people of Palestine are free from the yoke of Israeli Zionism and imperialism which is funded and armed by the United States of America and its Western allies.


What imperial powers are willing to do in order to keep the old order:

France wanted union with Britain in 1956

LONDON, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Declassified British documents in London's National Archives show France's prime minister proposed forming a union with Britain in 1956.

Documents dated Sept. 10, 1956, show French Prime Minister Guy Mollet made the proposal to British Prime Minister Anthony Eden during a visit to London, the BBC reported. France was having problems in Egypt, where President Gamel Abdel Nasser had nationalized the Suez Canal and was also funding separatists in French Algeria.

Eden turned down the request for a union, but while he was in Paris the following Sept. 28, Mollet then suggested France be allowed to join the British Commonwealth. However, nothing more came of the exchanges, and no records of them appear to exist in the French archives, the report said.

Henri Soutou, professor of contemporary history at Paris's Sorbonne University was aghast when he learned of the exchange. "Really I am stuttering because this idea is so preposterous," Soutou told the BBC.

Similarly, nationalist member of French parliament Jacques Myard said he was "astonished" by Mollet's plans. "I had a good opinion of Mr. Mollet before. I think I am going to revise that opinion," he said.
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posted by u2r2h at 11:53 AM


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