Monday, January 23, 2006

Silencing the tyrant

By Eric Margolis

Saddam Hussein's trial in Baghdad has become a circus. The presiding judge refuses to return to court, and defence lawyers have been murdered.


What to make of this spectacle? Emotionally, it's good to see the tyrant who terrorized so many on trial for his life. But morally and legally, Saddam's trial is a travesty of justice. This is an old-fashioned Soviet-style show trial set up by U.S. occupation authorities.

Its goal is not to determine Saddam's guilt or innocence, but to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq which, by the way, was a blatant violation of international law.

The court lacks any legal basis, being created by the puppet regime installed by the U.S. after the invasion. Saddam has no proper legal defence. Witnesses remain secret and beyond cross-examination. Defence witnesses risk murder by Shia hit squads.

Pre-trial publicity -- the vast propaganda campaign by the U.S. to demonize Saddam -- and Iraqi TV programs (controlled by U.S. authorities) about Saddam's alleged crimes, would trigger a mistrial in any proper legal system.

In short, a kangaroo court, designed to find Saddam guilty and probably order his execution.

Dead dictators tell no tales. If allowed to fully testify, Saddam would reveal the whole sordid story of America's long, intimate collaboration with his regime, and how the U.S. and British governments of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher encouraged, armed and financed Iraq to invade Iran.

Saddam is being tried for ordering a massacre in a small Shia village where he narrowly escaped assassination. He will not be tried for his worst crime, the invasion of Iran, that caused 1.5 million casualties on both sides.

Saddam's regime ferociously repressed Kurdish tribes, and used poison gas against them -- as it did against Iranian troops. But these attacks occurred while Iraq was fighting to the death against Iran, and its chronically rebellious Kurdish tribes had defected to the Iranian invaders.

Similarly, Saddam's forces killed many Shia after George Bush Sr. called on them to rebel against Baghdad. Israel and Iran had been stirring up, arming and financing Kurdish rebels in Iraq for decades.

Under international law, Saddam had every right to fight rebels seeking to either overthrow Iraq's government, or trying to secede. Across the border, Turkey waged similar war against its Kurdish rebels.

Recall that when Imperial Britain ruled Iraq, which it created to grab Mesopotamian oil, that saint of neoconservatives, Winston Churchill, ordered the RAF to use poison gas against "Kurds, Pathans, and other primitive tribesmen." When Iraqis rose in the 1920s against British rule, Her Majesty's soldiers gunned down some 20,000.

Ironically, U.S. forces in Iraq are doing the same things Saddam's thuggish regime did: Bombing and blasting rebels (this time Sunnis); holding 18,000 political prisoners; torturing and executing suspects. Uncle Sam is the new Saddam.

Saddam should face trial for his many crimes, but in a proper legal venue, under full western and international law. The trial should be moved at once to the UN tribunal at the Hague. A fair trial will establish an important international legal precedent.

Those citing the World War II Nuremberg trials as precedent for Baghdad's kangaroo court should read the magisterial words of that court's Chief Justice, Robert Jackson: "No political or economic situation can justify the crime of aggression." Please take note, President Cheney and VP Bush.

8 Comments:

Blogger Mel from B.U. said...

very informative post, thanks for filling me in

January 23, 2006 3:58 am  
Blogger _H_ said...

Ooops Anonymous you just crossed the line of what is considered an acceptable comment on this site so it has been removed

Personal insults are not allowed on this site

Insulting the mentally ill to get at me is very sad
But then you go one better and display copious amounts of homophobia
Finely served with a dose of non sequiturs and a complete failure to supply any facts to question the post in question

if you are able to correct all of the above then feel free to post again though I am sure there are plenty of blogs out there more suited to your particular taste

January 23, 2006 11:11 pm  
Blogger DJEB said...

You did the right a favour again by deleting one of their great "thinkers," eh?

January 24, 2006 10:12 am  
Blogger runningman said...

Have you been there? Have you sat down with men and women who have? Have you carried on a conversation who someone who lived there under that regime? Yeah I didn't think so. The truth should be heard from where the tire meets the road not from your TV set. Instead of sensoring your viewers' comments why not go there and get it first hand for yourself and then I will respect your views. Until then you are only a target for the Peace Makers.
Fletcher Christian Bowhay

January 24, 2006 3:54 pm  
Blogger _H_ said...

Infact I have been there runningman which makes your comments all the more amusing.

thanks.

we all have standards and the comments made by anonymous are a criminal offence in my country (as well they should be)

I do not support such obvious bitotry and have every right not to accept it on my own web site :-)

Now as I said if anon wishes to return and abide by the points I have mentioned then he/she is welcome

Its funny I find that almost always when I post on right wing sites I find my comments deleted (about 90 % of the time)

but I never delete comments ( anon's was only my third ever deletion excluding advertisements etc) people are free to attack the views on this site from where ever they sit ...

But respect and good manners are not much to ask for , If people attack the post or comment and not the poster then thats fine by me

But personal attacks agaisnt people , race , colour , religion , sexual preference etc is just pathatic

and there sadly are plenty of places to read such crap

January 24, 2006 10:32 pm  
Blogger DJEB said...

There is absolutely nothing magical about the opinion of an occupier. Nor does being a participant in occupation give one the right to insult others, insult the developmentally challenged, insult homosexuals and make comments that are completely unrelated to the issue.

As a (claimed) former marine, you should know this, runningman. According to your corp's website, Marines are "warriors of the finest kind... tempered with compassion, respect and maturity. You even claim yourself that you "learned all about honor... and doing the right thing..." So what went wrong? Why are you defending indefensible comments?

January 24, 2006 11:41 pm  
Blogger DJEB said...

Those aren't rhetorical questions runningman. I want to know why you are defending the indefensible.

January 26, 2006 3:03 pm  
Blogger _H_ said...

Oops there you go again.

try again without the insults and pathetic name calling then it might stay on the site to actually be debated .

January 30, 2006 3:48 am  

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