Thursday, July 01, 2004

Ten dinar prostitutes

A NYT editorial on Pentagon stonewalling on Abu Ghraib, including the 2,000 pages of the Taguba report still “missing,” lies by Rummy et al that the International Red Cross isn’t letting them release its reports, and other stuff that should really have been reported in the news section of the paper instead of op/ed.

Ashcroft comments that “The Supreme Court accorded to terrorists, in a variety of cases this week, a number of additional rights”. Additional to zero? The attorney general here shows an ignorance of the function of the judicial branch. The Supreme Court does not “accord” rights; those rights are already there, in the Constitution.

Qatar sentences those 2 Russian spies to life for car-bombing a former president of Chechnya in February.

I hope if Kerry is elected, he won’t be bogged down by a long heresy trial.

Saddam is, what, indicted, by an American-appointed court operating under American rules with American advisors to both the judges and prosecutors, along with 11 other officials (or “henchmen” as they are being called in the interests of neutrality, John O'Farrell says in a funny Guardian piece) and a ham sandwich, which was charged with being unIslamic. Can you say show trial? It was timed for American tv; American networks were allowed in but no Iraqi reporters (one had showed up, but was ordered to leave). In other words, we were watching yet another Bush campaign ad. I’m surprised it wasn’t conducted in English. O’Farrell comments, “The west's biggest baddie could have been tried by a democratic Iraqi regime, but that might have meant waiting until after the American elections.” He also notes that while Hussein is charged with invading Kuwait, nowhere is there mention of his invasion of Iran, with US encouragement.

The highlight was when Saddam said that he invaded Kuwait to prevent “those Kuwaiti dogs” reducing Iraqi women into 10-dinar prostitutes. Reducing from how much? American troops want to know. And what do dogs need prostitutes for anyway? Maybe the 10 dinars is just for leg-humping. Again, American troops want to know.

This was good for the Iraqi puppet government as well, because the way to establish your bona fides from the gitgo is not to say, announce a jobs program, but to piss on the former ruler and cut off his head. I’m pretty sure that’s how FDR did it.

The quotes from the hearing in news stories simply do not capture the hilarious tone of the proceedings. Here’s a transcript, from the Indy (note that the judge has no name, and this is not an accident--transparent justice at its finest):

The Judge opened proceedings by asking Saddam for his name:

SADDAM: ...Hussein Majid, the president of the Republic of Iraq.

The judge then asks his date of birth

SADDAM: 1937.

[Somewhere in here, the judge asked his address. Saddam may not know where he currently resides--Robert Fisk thinks Qatar--but answered “I live in each Iraqi’s house.”]

JUDGE: Profession? Former president of the Republic of Iraq?

SADDAM: No, present. Current. It's the will of the people.

JUDGE: The head of the Baath Party that is dissolved, defunct. Former commander and chief of the army. Residence is Iraq. Your mother's name?

SADDAM: Sobha. You also have to introduce yourself to me

JUDGE: Mr Saddam, I am the investigative judge of the central court of Iraq.

SADDAM: So that I have to know, you are an investigative judge of the central court of Iraq? What resolution, what law formed this court?

The judge's response could not be heard.

SADDAM: Oh, the coalition forces? So you are an Iraqi that - you are representing the occupying forces?

JUDGE: No, I'm an Iraqi representing Iraq.

SADDAM: But you are...

JUDGE: I was appointed by a presidential decree under the former regime.

SADDAM: So you are reiterating that every Iraqi should respect the Iraqi law. So the law that was instituted before represents the will of the people, right?

JUDGE: Yes, God willing.

SADDAM: So you should not work under the jurisdiction of the coalition forces.

JUDGE: This is an important point. I am a judge. In the former regime, I respect the judges. And I am resuming and continuing my work.

SADDAM: So, please let me - I'm not complicating matters. Are you a judge? You are a judge? And judges, they value the law. And they rule by the law, right? Right? Right is a relative issue. For us, right is our heritage in the Koran, sharia, right? I am not talking about Saddam Hussein, whether he was a citizen or in other capacities. I'm not holding fast to my position, but to respect the will of the people that decided to choose Saddam Hussein as the leader of the revolution. Therefore, when I say president of the Republic of Iraq, it's not a formality or a holding fast to a position, but rather to reiterate to the Iraqi people that I respect its will.

JUDGE: If there is evidence, then I'll defer it to a court of jurisdiction.

SADDAM: Let me understand something. Who is the defendant? Any defendant when he comes to a court, before that there should be investigation.

JUDGE: I'm investigating, interrogating you. Second, the president is a profession, is a position, is a deputy of the society. That's true. And originally, inherently, he's a citizen. And every citizen, according to the law in the constitution, if this person violates a law has to come before the law. And that law you know more than I do. So the crimes, the charges: intended killing by using chemical weapons in Halabjah.


JUDGE: Second, intended killing of a great number of Iraqis in 1983. Three, intended killing of a number of members of political parties without trials. Fourth, intended killing of many of the Iraqi religious people. Fifth, intended killing of many Iraqis in Anfal without any evidence against it.

Details of the sixth charge are not picked up

JUDGE: The seventh charge was against Saddam Hussein as president of the republic and the commander-in-chief of the army. And the army went to Kuwait.

SADDAM: Even though this was not an invasion. Will the law judge Saddam Hussein because he defends Iraq?

Saddam refers to Kuwaitis as "dogs".

JUDGE: You are in a legal hearing and we will not allow you to speak in any way that is disrespectful to this court.

SADDAM: Then in the formal capacity, is it permissible to charge an official title? And the person is to be dealt with in violation of the guarantees that are afforded by the constitution. This is the law that you're using to use against me now.

JUDGE: I would like you to sign these documents formally, and this will go into the record. Answer to those charges. This is investigation. Answer. If you read the minutes, we say that we postpone the investigation.

SADDAM: Then please allow me not to sign anything until the lawyers are present.

JUDGE: That is fine. But this is your...

SADDAM: I speak for myself.

JUDGE: Yes, as a citizen you have the right. But the guarantees you have to sign because these were read to you, recited to you.

SADDAM: Anyway, why are you worried? I will come again before you with the presence of the lawyers, and you will be giving me all of these documents again. So why should we rush any action now and make mistakes because of rushed and hasty decisions or actions?

JUDGE: No, this is not a hasty decision-making now. I'm just investigating. And we need to conclude and seal the minutes.

SADDAM: No, I will sign when the lawyers are present.

JUDGE: Then you can leave.

SADDAM: Finished?


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