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The Saddam trial: Liberation or judicial assassination?
The verdict on Sunday puts Saddam to the gallows. What the western world and power blocs show as liberation may be a well-planned judicial assasination.
IN FOUR MINUTES and five seconds the Iraqi High Tribunal shook the defiant Saddam and jurists all over the world, with the sentence that the ousted President should be sent to the gallows. The trial of Saddam will add a new chapter in modern history. Books will be written and the trial will be referred to time and again. The once invincible leader of the secular state of Iraq will pay for all he did, his repression and the defiance. The verdict has sent a clear message across the world, the message that has a sure death at the opposite end of the established power structure. It is no more about justice, but who wins and who loses, a battle fought to secure focused group interests and serve personal motives. When deciphered, the verdict reads as the sustenance of neo-imperialism. 
 
It is very unfortunate that the trial won’t escape the New World Information and Communication Order. Irony is that we are but spectators and the whole show is directed by them; the courts are but theirs, the investigation agencies are theirs, media is theirs, government is theirs. We are only spectators. For who will question the failed mission of America, the invasion of Iraq for Weapons of Mass Destruction that were never there, the occupation of the secular state, the death of 600,000 Iraqi civilians, the demolition of hospitals and schools, a defunct democracy that can give nothing but a civil war? Who will question the death of innocent Vietnamese killed during the American invasion? For who will question the brutalities inflicted on Palestine and Lebanon? This is not liberation, but the death of democracy.
 
The media played to the tunes of its masters. It is not a new thing. They have always done so. So what is actually portrayed is the reaction of the people who bear resentment to Saddam’s regime. Iraq is once again shown in pictures, some lifeless and some moving, as being liberated of some evil rule and tyranny. Propaganda has once again saved the powerful and that too at a very crucial point of time. With 48 hours left for the mid term US elections, can it save the GOP? Read the words of Bush, which he spoke when he addressed a rally a day before: “I understand the consequences of retreat (in Iraq). That’s why we’ll support our troops in Iraq and that’s why we will win in Iraq.”
 
Middle East has a mixed reaction on the verdict. Supporters of Saddam say that the sentence was prepared in Washington and Tel Aviv and it is Bush and Ariel Sharon who are victorious. “Ehud Olmert should go to gallows as well for his crimes against humanity in Lebanon,” says one.
 
Doubts about the farce trial have been accumulating since its inception. Saddam was caught on December 14, 2003 by US troops and the court proceedings began two years later. During this period the President barely got any chance to defend himself. Saddam Hussein was charged for the repression of Kurds after an alleged assassination attempt on the President in 1982. The charges centered on the willful killing of 148 people from Dujail, who earlier had plotted to assassinate the President. The jury, which comprised of two benches, with five members in each bench, found him guilty of these charges. During the trial, the ousted President reiterated that the executions were carried to suppress the militant activities backed by Iran. Those executed were Shiite militants and Iraq at that point of time was technically at war with Iran, which is from 1980 to 1988.
 
Iraqi Special Tribunal was established in December 2003. The tribunal later came to be known as the Iraqi High Tribunal. All these happenings came into play in the presence of the US led occupation authorities. Whereas Saddam’s statue was razed to ground in a couple of minutes, the real Saddam was brought down gradually and in a very organised and well-planned manner. International tribunal was refused and the trial was carried as an internal matter. But more than once foreign interference has been recorded. Facts show that there was a total 39 days of testimony out of which Saddam boycotted and sometimes was ejected in 12, three defence lawyers were assassinated, two judges were replaced and some 9,000 Iraqis were killed during the trial period.
 
The prime minister of Iraq, al Maliki said: “The execution could partially appease the victims. The martyrs of Iraq now have a right to smile.” What is sinister is that the PM’s Islamic Dawa Party was the one that carried the aborted assassination attempt on Saddam in 1982. His party members are none other than the Iranian backed militants during Saddam’s regime.      
 
In those four minutes and five seconds Saddam rose in defiance, raising his index finger high in the air and crying out the words: “Long live the people. Down with the traitors. Allahu Akbar (God is great). Long live the people, down with the traitors, down with the conquerors. God is great. Long live the Iraqi people. God is great, God is great.” Saddam raised his finger and spelled his own verdict. His supporters will be watching his every move and will be observing the directions that their sentenced leader gives before departing.
 
The verdict leaves more questions and doubts than the final end. Is it liberation? If it is liberation why is curfew imposed in the state in the first place? Why is there blackout at some places in Iraq? Why has the violence erupted within moments of the verdict? What does the power structure want to convey?
 
Are Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party being eliminated because they refuse to be at the beck and call of America? How can anyone holding such an apex position be sentenced to death for his misadministration and alleged adventures of horror? How many American presidents will go to the gallows if they are tried for similar crimes done during their invasions? Isn’t it an act that justifies neo-imperialism more than it does justice? Whatever be the truth Iraq has been divided and civilian war ignited. Rest is all but not the peace.

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Vinod Sailes
INVADERS OF DICTIONARY Some three years back I made a comment on the rediff pages, more out of speculation than from intuition that Saddam Hussain would slip from his captivity into eternity. Did I go wrong ? The above surmise is in contrast to Saddam’s own intuition a couple of months back when he asserted that the US may reinstate him on their own, in order to quell the violence that was spreading ominously and gradually engulfing the whole of Iraq. The same Saddam Hussain, upon awarded the death penalty on Sunday, invoked God with his ‘Allah ho Akbar’ and shouted ‘Down with the invaders’. Invaders, did he say ? Then, what was he about on the 2nd of August, 1990 ? Back in his cell, he certainly must be reminiscing with regret the grueling sequence of events that made the US ultimately enter Iraq after chasing his military might away from Kuwait. How mercifully he was spared the ignominy of being dethroned from his made to believe invincible post of President after his ‘Mother of all battles’ backfired. The sarcastic chuckle he must have been enjoying subsequently at the cost of UN inspectors, who were made to shuttle back and forth with Saddam making all sorts of allegations, trying to steal time off to shift the left overs of his WMD ammunitions from one part of the country to the other. All these must have provided him with some solace to jeer with the “fools, for I also had my hour, one far fierce hour and sweet”. He surely must have been reckoning with regret at the offer of safe passage into a peaceful exile to live a life to his heart’s content as a free man, but which offer he spurned with his ‘I shall not run away’. Indeed, the brave President that he was, stayed put in Iraq only to surface at the beckoning of American soldiers with his emphatic ‘I am the President of Iraq – I want to negotiate’. The same president of Iraq, while arguing on the need that compelled him to order chemical attack on Kurdish civilians, the torture and butcher of shiites, the scores of crimes he committed right till the last man who provided information to US about Saddam’s whereabouts and whose tongue was cut off and made to die bleeding, could have saved his own skin as also the lives of his sons Qasi and Uday, and lived happily ever after, had he but consented to the suggestion of US to go in to exile. The same Saddam Hussain who had the whole of Iraq behind him in large numbers carrying his portrait and yelling ‘Death to US’ if ever they dared to attack his country, today stands reduced to an ordinary human being shaken at being handed down the sentence by none other than a Judge from same Kurdish tribe, who were made to suffer at his hands. Has Saddam outlived his utility ? Will the US haunt Saddam Hussain for having rejected the offer of exile or will they finally give him a lease of another life ? Answers to these and similar questions will best be possible once the Al Qaida and other terrorist outfits come forward with their own reaction to what Saddam has earned through years of his defiance.
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