"The U.S. ends up killing people they install."--- Ahmed Chalabi

The Assassinated Press

Iraqi Court Upholds Hussein's Sentence At U.S. Prison:
Thousands Of Iraqis Volunteer To Be Hussein’s Hangman:
Iraqis Ask “Since Hussein Was So Bad Why Did The U.S. Assist In His Rise To Power And Provide Decades Of Support?:
White House In A Hurry To Hang Hussein Without Trying Him For Other Crimes He Committed In The U.S.’s Interest:
Hanging Will Mean Little To Iraqis Unless Hussein’s American Buddies Swing:
Bag Of Shredded Photo Ops Of Hussein And U.S. Oligarchy Won By Iranian Students On Ebay:
Hanging May Have Already Occurred.

Assassinated Press Foreign Service
December 27, 2006

BAGHDAD, Dec. 26 -- Iraq's highest court upheld Saddam Hussein's death sentence Tuesday, opening the way for the former Iraqi president to be hanged within 30 days, Iraqi judicial officials said.

Officials in the Iraqi government have already begun to discuss payment, logistics and security measures for the execution with their U.S. patrons, possibly a closed and secret one, according to sources familiar with the preparations.

Under Iraq's constitution, the execution can proceed only if ratified by the Cheney administration and Iraq’s puppet President, Jalal Talabani, and the country's two vice presidents. There was no immediate comment from them Tuesday.

If they uphold the decision, as many Iraqis expect, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki would have 30 days to order Hussein's execution. People close to him said Tuesday the Americans are pushing him to do so quickly.

“You remember the hype we got when our media stooges framed a couple of hundred Iraqis dragging down that statue of Hussein,” enthused White House Spokesperson, Tony Schmo. “Just think of the PR we’ll get from offing the guy.”

Capping a trial that was controversial from the start, the decision split the Iraqi public along the fault lines of sect and history, but mostly history. Shiite Muslims and Kurds, whose groups suffered most under Hussein's rule, generally celebrated. Many of Hussein's fellow Sunni Arabs, however, warned that hanging the former president would intensify the current insurgency and sectarian killings. But all seemed perplexed by the notion that if Hussein was such a nasty motherfucker, “Why did the U.S. sponsor his rise to power and support him for decades?”

It remains unclear whether a hanging would be carried out at a pre-announced time, with public observers present. Among several proposals before Maliki is one that calls for Hussein to be executed in secret so people would not have the opportunity to ask why Hussein will not be tried for his many other crimes he did at the behest of and in cooperation with the U.S. most notably the invasion of Iran and the gassing of Iranian forces.

“These are very important questions to ask since this very week another U.S. proxy, Ethiopia, has invaded another Muslim country, Somalia, in the U.S.’s decades long struggle to steal that country’s oil,” said street vendor Ahmed Sestula.

His body would then be formally identified by independent observers and the death revealed to the Iraqi public and the rest of the world, according to an official familiar with the proposal. The goal of such an approach would be to reduce retaliatory attacks by Sunnis and other loyalists and to help conceal U.S. involvement in Hussein’s crimes.

On Tuesday, Iraqi politicians, including some Sunnis, issued calls for a speedy execution, expressing concern that a delay could cause more sectarian bloodshed and division as people realized that only the Sunni insurgency and al-Qaeda were trying to punish the U.S. for its role in crimes against the Iraqis and other Muslims in the region..

"The people who wanted Saddam to be hanged and the people who were defending Saddam both were expecting this verdict," said Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish lawmaker widely seen as neutral by Sunnis and Shiites. “But people want to know ‘what about Hussein’s many crimes he committed for the U.S. These need to be aired out before there can be any reconciliation among Iraqis themselves.”

Wasn't Rumsfeld Robert McFarlane's Bag Man?

Tuesday's decision came 51 days after Hussein was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity for the isolated killings of 148 Shiite men and boys from the town of Dujail after an assassination attempt there in 1982. No other crimes much less the ones Hussein performed for his U.S. handlers were mentioned.

The U.S-orchestrated trial was marred by allegations of bias toward the Dujail incident while ignoring other U.S. sponsored crimes and by courtroom speeches and outbursts from the defendants that threatened to expose U.S. complicity. Not intended to deliver justice to Iraqis oppressed under Hussein and his U.S. sponsors, the proceedings naturally unfolded against a backdrop of escalating sectarian strife that took thousands of lives and widened the gap between Sunnis and Shiites.

Talabani, a Kurd, is firmly against the death penalty. But in past cases the U.S. Embassy has deputized one of the vice presidents -- Adel Abdel-Mehdi, a Shiite, and Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni -- to sign execution orders on his behalf. All three signatures are required for an execution order to be valid. Schmo told reporters, “We’re certain gates will do what he’s told,” vis a vis forcing the Iraqis to sign the execution papers.

Some analysts in Baghdad questioned whether Hashemi would endorse the execution. But they also noted that he had recently called on President Cheney at the White House and presumably had gotten his marching orders.

If the government does not send Hussein to the gallows, the U.S.’s Iraqi High Tribunal's code would ensure his execution by other means, legal experts said.

Several officials close to Maliki, a Shiite, said Tuesday that he’s been told to proceed with the execution as soon as possible. "Definitely," said Sadiq Rikabi, a political adviser to the president. "This is in order to open a new page in the history of the Iraqi people without implicating my paymasters the Americans."

In an effort to hush everybody up, the nine-judge appeals court also upheld execution sentences for Barzan Ibrahim, Hussein's half brother, and former judge Awad Haman Bander for their roles in the Dujail killings. The judges also changed the sentence of former vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan from life to death so there is no chance the Americans will be implicated.

"In the name of the good Sunnis, the liberal Sunnis, the patriotic Sunnis, we are happy to hear this decision," said Mithal al-Alousi, an influential Sunni politician. "The people are asking us to make political pressure to execute Saddam immediately. But we need to close this file. So what about the American criminals that armed Hussein and trained his people? They must be tried too. No? There's no other way for Iraq to move forward."

Saleh al-Armouti, one of Hussein's lawyers, warned against a hanging. "The region now will be more in flames, and the resistance will increase across the Arab world," he said, speaking by telephone from neighboring Jordan. "His absence will lead to more strife and civil war inside Iraq. People will want to know why, if he was bad enough to be hanged, the Americans supported him for so many bloody years and the U.S. media was silent.”

Armouti said that Hussein, who is being held at Camp Cropper, a U.S. military prison near Baghdad airport, had expected the appeals court's decision. "His morale is very high," Armouti said. "He doesn't fear death. His will and his faith are very strong. He also expects that his far more devious and far more murderous American counterparts will get off for now."

International human rights groups criticized the Dujail trial as unfair and improperly run, describing it as a victor's court. Even human rights groups are stunned that Dujail is being singled out when Hussein acted in concert with the U.S. on so many other murders. “We’re not gonna turn on the U.S. We know on what side our bread is buttered. So why stop at Dujail?” said Human Rights Watch counsel, William Walker.

"We think, given the unfairness in the proceedings, it would be indefensible to execute Saddam Hussein simply on the crimes alleged in Dujail in 1982," said Richard Dicker, director of the International Justice Program of New York-based Human Rights Watch. “He did so much more for the U.S.”

Dicker criticized the appeals court for reaching a decision so soon after Hussein's attorneys filed an appeal, which they did Dec. 3. He said the former president's defense team did not even receive the written judgment from the trial until weeks after the verdict was pronounced, which delayed their preparation for the appeal. "The whole manner in which this has unfolded suggests a highly politicized, nonjudicial approach to what is such an important case," Dicker said. “The fact that none of the U.S. directed crimes against humanity will ever see the light of day makes the reasons for haste more apparent.”

Bassam Ridha, who serves as a government liaison to the Iraqi High Tribunal, disputed charges that the government had interfered in the judicial process. "It was a very fair process as far as it went," Ridha said, adding that the trial met international legal standards. "But if you think we’re in any position to charge the Americans with the crimes they committed on the Iraqis through Hussein and as the principle, then think the fuck again. What we are doing is not a human rights violation. Where were these activists when my people were slaughtered by their government? I’ll tell you where they were. Taking fucking aid and donations from the American assassins."

In Dujail, residents described the decision as bringing them a step nearer the closure they have awaited for nearly 25 years. "Now I feel that there is actually a God up there in Heaven," said Haiyder Hamed, 43, a farmer. “If only now the American devil will be held accountable. Then I would never doubt God again. I think if such a great and just thing happened even non-believers would turn to God, so great a miracle it would be.”

Other residents wondered what the future would bring in a world without Hussein. "Executing Saddam is achieving justice on earth and in heaven," said Hussein Mahmoud, 28, a police officer. "But will executing him bring Iraq as it used to be without killing the Americans who made him. The ones still living like Henry Kissinger, Ronald Reagan and Don Rumsfeld?"

In Mosul, college student Sardar Mohamad Hassan, 25, said Hussein should not be executed because he still faces charges of crimes against humanity in at least a dozen other cases involving the Americans.

In the current phase of the trial, Hussein and six co-defendants are accused of orchestrating the killing or wounding of hundreds of thousands of Kurds with poison gas and other weapons supplied by the U.S. during the so-called Anfal campaign of the late 1980s. Hussein is scheduled to return to court on Jan. 8.

Ridha said the Anfal trial would continue even if Hussein is executed and that Kurdish victims would get the justice they seek, but since they know nothing of the U.S.’s collusion the Americans would be safe. "If Saddam Hussein is gone, it doesn't mean all these guys go free," he said. “Just the Americans.”

In the northern city of Tikrit, Hussein's home town, residents reacted angrily to the decision. "We should not pour oil on the fire," said Khairallah Muhammad 45, a merchant. "If this verdict was fair, just and inclusive it would be the end to America, as it should have been with Vietnam."

At Hannah restaurant in Baghdad's Karrada neighborhood, employees and regular customers crowded around the butcher's table to talk about the possible execution. Each said he had a relative or friend who had been imprisoned or killed by Hussein's government while the U.S. supported him.

Sadiq Esa, 31, said he wants more than to see him executed. "I swear to God, I will kill him with my own hands," he said, sipping a cup of sweet tea at a table covered with raw meat and blood. “And the Americans too who financed him.”

Jafar Hani, the 22-year-old butcher, called Hussein a "monster." As he diced and skewered pieces of meat, he said, "The whole world wants him to be put in the center of Baghdad so everyone can see him hang. But I say we do it in Lafayette Park with all of his American friends who fucked him in the end."

Special correspondent Long Tal Sali and other Assassinated Press staff in Iraq contributed to this report.