Sunday, January 07, 2007

Saddam Execution: Parody of Justice


Those of you who have frequented this website in the past know exactly what Mox News is about. It’s a website that uses satire to mock the main stream media establishment while informing Muslims of issues that concern them. Normally, we use a literary device called a “parody” when making fun of the news. This past week, Saddam Hussein was executed in Iraq. Fortunately for us (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it) there is no need to make a parody of this event because the event itself was a parody. The parody in the execution of Saddam Hussein is not one of humor, but of justice. Saddam Hussein was a tyrant and a despicable man. He killed his own countrymen and engaged in war crimes against others using heinous weapons, some of which were provided by the US government when it was supporting him to contain the Iranian Revolution. As terrible of a dictator and a human being as Saddam was, however, he deserved a fair trial. The manner in which his trial was conducted was not all that different being lynched from a lamppost on the streets of Baghdad, like some of his countrymen are being hung today. Street justice is not justice at all. It is a parody of justice.

This farce of a trial began when it was decided that the location of the trial itself which was in Iraq instead of the International Criminal Court. This tribunal was established in 2002 in order to prosecute individuals charged with genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crimes of aggression. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. has avoided submitting itself to the jurisdiction of the ICC and has gone so far as to have made treaties with a variety of countries that prohibit the surrender of American nationals, current or former government officials, military personnel, and employees. Countries that refused to sign such agreements have had their aid cut. The main reason why the U.S. has expressed such opposition to the ICC is most likely because it doesn’t want to be charged with violating these crimes. With regards to Saddam Hussein, perhaps the reason why the U.S. didn’t want him tried in the ICC was because the ICC doesn’t utilize the death penalty.

Although the court is often described as a court of “last resort” and normally defers to national judicial systems, there is something very suspicious about the decision not to have the trial in the ICC.

Firstly, the decision to try Saddam Hussein in the Iraqi Special Tribunal and not the ICC was not a decision of a democratically elected indigenous Iraqi leadership, but a decision that was made by the Coalition Provisional Authority, which was created, funded, and sustained by the U.S. Department of Defense and had its authority enforced by the military, not the Iraqi police or its military. The CPA still occupies many of Saddam’s palaces as offices, even though power has been supposedly “transitioned” back to the Iraqi people.

The second point to take note of regarding this "trial" was the crimes that Saddam was charged with. He was charged with committing crimes against humanity for his ruthless oppression of the inhabitants of Dujail after a failed assassination attempt by Shi’as in 1982. What is suspicious is not necessarily what he was charged with, but he was not charged with. In his tenure as dictator, he was responsible for countless tortures, assassinations, use of chemical weapons against civilians, and many other heinous crimes dating up to the invasion in Gulf War II. Yet, this laundry list of crimes was completely ignored and the focus was solely on the actions that occurred in 1982. Why weren’t all of the charges brought against him?

Perhaps the US was concerned about evidence being exposed that showed that it was complicit in some of Saddam’s acts. The American relationship with Iraq began in early 1980’s when President Reagan removed Iraq from the list of known terror states. Desperate to lock in the Islamic Revolution of Iran, the US began sending massive financial and military aid to Iraq: in 1982, Iraq was given 60 defender helicopters, the Defense Intelligence Agency began providing the Iraqis detailed information on Iranian deployments, tactical battles, plans for air strikes and bomb damage assessments; in 1983, the CIA began funneling $5 billion in unreported loans to Iraq; they were given computer controlled machines tools, computers, scientific instruments, special alloy steel and aluminum, chemicals, and other materials that would be used to develop Iraq’s missile, chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs; the US also began sending Howitzers, Huey helicopters, and bombs to Iraq in violation of the Arms Export Control Act. In spite of known intelligence that Iraq was using chemical weapons against both Iranian military and civilians, an American civilian named Donald Rumsfield met with Saddam Hussein and assured him of US friendship and materials support on December 20th, 1983. A year after this meeting, the CIA began sharing information with Iraqi intelligence on how to calibrate mustard gas attacks on Iranian troops. In 1986, when the United Nations Security Council passed resolutions condemning Iraq’s use of chemical weapons, the US blocked this resolution. Around the same time, the US Department of Commerce licensed 70 biological exports to Iraq, at least 21 of which were lethal strains of anthrax. These very chemicals were used against Saddam’s own citizens in subsequent years such as in 1988 when Saddam killed thousands of Kurdish civilians. Later that year, the US Department of Commerce approved shipments to Iraq that were used in manufacturing mustard gas. 1988 was also a good year for Dow chemicals, which sold $1.5 million in pesticides to Iraq, even though they knew that such “pesticides” were going to be used to eliminate human beings, not insects and other vermin. During this entire period, not a single official in the American government raised any concerns or objections to the legality of these actions. They ignored them entirely because the U.S. was focused solely on defeating Iran and not dispensing justice. It turned a blind eye to the atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein and remained silent about it until it was against the “national interest” to support Saddam. Suddenly, some of these skeletons were brought out of the closet when Saddam was charged with these war crimes. Unfortunately, many other skeletons, both figuratively and literally speaking, will remain hidden because they can indubitably traced to the American government through financial or military support. [For more information, click here]

The third point to take note of regarding this “trial” was the day that the verdict was announced: November 5th, 2006. Two weeks before the U.S. mid-term elections. This fact did not go unnoticed by Saddam’s defense attorneys, who urged the court to delay the announcing of the verdict.

Fourthly, according to the former judge who presided Saddam’s trial, Rizkar Mohammad Amin, stated that the decision to perform the execution on Eidh ul Adha was in violation of Iraqi law. He said “The implementation of Saddam's execution during Eid al-adha is illegal according to chapter 9 of the tribunal law. Article 27 states that nobody, even the president (Jalal Talabani), may change rulings by the tribunal and the implementation of the sentence should not happen until 30 days after publication that the appeals court has upheld the tribunal verdict. The hanging during the Eid al-Adha period (also) contradicts Iraqi and Islamic custom. ‘Article 290 of the criminal code of 1971 (which was largely used in the Saddam trial) states that no verdict should implemented during the official holidays or religious festivals,’ he said.” [Source] Even though such a ruling was in violation of the law, a fatwa was given by Shi’a ‘Ulema approving of the hanging. Why is that not surprising?

From this point onwards, everyone knows the story because they’ve seen the video. Witness how this man was taunted by his executioners, witness how they cut him off while reciting the Shahadah. The fact that such a video was take in the first place shows that protocol at the highest levels of the Iraqi government was violated, illustrating exactly how deep sectarian affiliations have penetrated the government.

Saddam Hussein was not the sole person to be lynched that day, justice itself was lynched. His execution will not bring solace to his victims nor to Iraq as a whole. The manner in which his execution was handled will inflame sectarian violence to greater levels than they already are at. After the execution, Sunnis aggrieved by his execution barged into the Shi’a Samarra mosque and staged a fake janazah.

Of course, from the beginning, this "trial" was not about justice, it was about vengeance, it was about dealing with a rogue agent, it was about eliminating challenges to American hegemony. There is nothing more glaringly morally bankrupt than hosting an execution for crimes against humanity that is carried out by a government which has been deeply infiltrated by death squads.

The United States government will deny responsibility for this debacle, just like it refused to accept responsibility for the terrible deeds done at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay. These sorts of activities reveal a very ugly pattern of behavior that is downright psychotic. Who will be held accountable for these crimes?

Our suggestion:

Impeach President Bush and his entire administration and ship them over to the International Criminal Court so that they can be tried for crimes against humanity, like Saddam should’ve been tried.

"O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to Piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do."

[Surat Al-Maidah 5:8]

16 comments:

Mujahideen Ryder said...

beautiful post!

Liam Saiful Din said...

I agree with MR. Very insightful bro. I love this site as do my co-workers. Keep up the good work.

Veiled Muslimah said...

awesome article guys. :thumbup: Impressive.

salaam

sanurii said...

this is an amazing post, mashaAllah. awesome.

keep the ummah in your duas.

Anonymous said...

Well, our chance to convince Nancy Pelosi to Impeach Bush/Cheney is this Monday Jan. 15th..

Pelosi most likely said impeachment was "off the table" to remove any appearance of conflict-of-interest that would arise if she were thrust into the presidency as a result of the coming impeachment.

What we need to do is to pressure Pelosi not to interfere with impeachment maneuverings within her party. Sending her Do-It-Yourself impeachments legitimizes her when she is forced to join the impeachment movement in the future.

Sacks and sacks of mail are about to arrive in Nancy Pelosi's office initiating impeachment via the House of Representative's own rules this Monday January 15th. This legal document is as binding as if a State or if the House itself passed the impeachment resolution (H.R. 635).

There's a little known and rarely used clause of the "Jefferson Manual" in the rules for the House of Representatives which sets forth the various ways in which a president can be impeached. Only the House Judiciary Committee puts together the Articles of Impeachment, but before that happens, someone has to initiate the process.That's where we come in. In addition to a House Resolution (635), or the State-by-State method, one of the ways to get impeachment going is for individual citizens like you and me to submit a memorial. ImpeachforPeace.org has created a new memorial based on one which was successful in impeaching a federal official in the past. You can find it on their website as a PDF.

You can initiate the impeachment process and simultaneously help to convince Pelosi to follow through with the process. Do-It-Yourself by downloading the memorial, filling in the relevant information (your name, state, etc.), and sending it in. Be a part of history.

http://ImpeachForPeace.org/ImpeachNow.html

Jinnzaman said...

Thanks Causal. I'll definitely look into it.

Ahmed Zihni said...

The only valid point you bring up is the 4th one, and it really encompasses most of the problems with Saddam's trial. The execution was carried out illegally because the justice system in Iraq gets pressured inappropriately by political leaders.

Saddam was charged for his various crimes, he had 12 trials in all. The Dujail case was actually one of the minor ones. It was just that the charges against him in that case were easy to prove because he personally signed documents that implicated him in the murders. He was convicted and executed for those crimes, but he was indicted for many others including the gassing of kurds, execution and torture of political opponents, killing civilians during the shia uprising after the gulf war, etc. As far as I know, he was not indicted for invading Kuwait. He also was not charged for attacking Iran (which goes with the comments you made regarding Reagan's aid to iraq during that war, along with the aid of every arab country).

But in any case, the ICC is not intrinsically more just than an Iraqi tribunal. They probably would have handled Saddam's trial better, but it wouldve been a 20 year affair that wouldve continued without any results until Saddam Hussein died of old age, and that is not justice either. Milosevic died without having a guilty verdict imposed on him, even though his case was just as clear as Saddam's. So the ICC isnt a magical justice machine either. Just a thought.

You should stick to one theme for the blog

Jinnzaman said...

I think taking it to the ICC would've been beneficial for two reasons:

First, the tribunal wouldn't have been tainted by sectarian differences that a tribunal within Iraq would have.

Second, Saddamn wouldn't have received the death penalty and, thus, his sentencing wouldn't have been triggered inflaming sectarian divisions within Iraq. It also would've been more likely respected by the international community.

Thirdly, justice is not vengeance. Justice in modern Constitutional democracies is ensuring certain rights such as a fair trial, independent adjudicator, the assistance of counsel, and exhausting all legal remedies. In Saddam's trial, its prettiy apparent that their was not an independent adjudicator nor was their an independent adjudicator for his sentencing. Its also not clear that all legal remedies were exhausted, although thats what the American media is claiming. So I think that the ICC would've been inherently more just and pragmatic than having him tried in Iraq.

Of course, this decision wasn't originally made by Iraqis but the CPA before Saddam was even captured. This seems to indicate that their was a pre-conceived program for quickly executing Saddam from the beginning.

Because of these gross injustices that are very apparent, sectarian divisions are more entrenched now than before and Saddam, unfortunately, is being viewed as a martyr.

Ahmed said...

salam

yeah, the ICC would not be tainted by sectarian differences. However, you would be naive to think that the international court is free from interference by various parties. It is not. Think about Milosevic and the russian doctor who was sneaking medication to him, medication that ultimately led to his death. Also various nations are not members of the ICC and their citizens cannot be served with a subpoena from that court, chief among them the United States (but others as well). Third, the International court is essentially a voluntary organization. Even signatory nations can ignore anything that comes out of it because there is no mechanism to make its rulings binding. Thats why the court has so far been used only for victor's justice in third world failed states like Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Its a great idea to have an international court, but you know better than I do that the current manifestation is not ideal.

Would it have been better for Saddam to be tried in the ICC? I dont know. The judges wouldve been foreigners, mostly from the west. The Arab states and the USA and other governments wouldve interfered in the trial the way some governments did during milosevic's trial. The trial wouldve dragged on and on because it probably would have been designed as one massive trial for all of Saddam's thousands of crimes. It would never have ended. In Iraq, Kuwait, and Iran, Saddam Hussein's victims would be outraged that the murderer is not being punished for his crimes. etc

We would have exchanged one set of irregularities and faults for another.

I dont understand your point about the tribunal being designed by the CPA. An elected Iraqi parliament wrote their current constitution and the tribunal was endorsed within it. They could have chosen to refer the defendants to some other court, including the international court, or even to drop the charges against them, but they didnt. And the shia and kurdish political parties that formed Iraq's transitional government, and continue to dominate the parliament, were in favor of trying Saddam themselves. That is particularly true of the Shias, and clearly there was an element of vengefulness in that decision. That was evident in the political interference in the trial and the scene that we all saw within the execution chamber.

Its very clear that the trial and execution of Saddam Hussein had the support of most Iraqis. It is a minority of Iraqis, and a very large number of foreigners, who opposed them for a variety of reasons. But your idea that the trial and execution were somehow imposed on Iraq by the CPA or the United States is incorrect. If anything, taking the trial out of Iraq's hands and sending it to the ICC wouldve been interference with Iraq's affairs, because the Iraqis wanted it to be conducted by Iraqis in Iraq.

Saddam Hussein was an evil man. Everybody deserves a fair trial and everybody deserves to be treated with dignity, but we shouldnt lose sight of that fact. He was given a trial. It was a flawed trial, but it was a trial in which he was allowed representation of his choice, he was allowed to state his case, he was given significant freedom of action in the courtroom and was treated with respect in jail. The dujail case was open and shut, his signature was on the orders that led to innocent people being murdered. It was a very easy case to prosecute, which is why they chose to do it first. The whole idea was to convict and execute him quickly, before going on to the tougher cases. Ideally, Saddam would have been treated better. Unfortunately that didnt happen. His death is going to

But Saddam Hussein is not the first president to be killed, and he got off easy in comparison to some. Remember what happened to mussolini? And even among Muslim presidents, what was done to Saddam was very minor.

An ex-president of a muslim country was dragged out of a UN compound by armed men in violation of international immunity laws. He and his brother were driven away and tortured and killed. His testicles were cut off and his corpse was dragged behind a jeep then hung from a lightpost in front of his palace for a few days. And this was done by people that many of you admire and support, to a man who committed far less evil than Saddam (but was by no means innocent). I dont remember such a ruckus over that situation, despite the extremely grotesque nature of the mistreatment and the complete lack of a trial or due process (flawed or not). Why so much attention for Saddam of all people?

Luqman لقمان said...

If you think that the government currently ruling Iraq is any reasonable sense democratic, I think you are very mistaken. Voting for lists of candidates which you have no hand in choosing and which are in fact chosen for you by religious, political, and economic elites (and, in the case of Allawi, foreign occupiers) is in no reasonable sense democratic. As for the constitution, substantial parts of it are simply copied from the CPA consitution which was imposed on Iraq by the occupiers. In addition, the US Ambassador/Procunsul had a great deal of influence over the final content of the constitution. Why so much attention for Saddam? Because his country was invaded by a force of non-Muslims. It doesn't matter what his crimes were; you don't turn over Muslims to non-Muslims who have invaded your country, destroyed your cities, and raped your sisters. Who has been holding Saddam for nearly the entire time he was in custody? Who was leaning heavily on the Iraqi Government to conduct a very quick trial with a certain outcome? Who despite its protestations that Iraq is a 'sovereign' nation, actually determines the lionshare of policy, especially military policy? What percentage of official Iraqi Military forces does the government actually control? And when the US leaves, how long do you think this supposedly democratic government will last? I have an answer: as long as it takes to transport the spoils to Tehran.

Ahmed said...

voting for lists or slates of candidates is a common practice that is used in many functioning parliamentary democracies. The Iraqis didnt invent that system, nor did the Americans invent it for them. Incidentally, the Palestinians use a similar electoral system, and its unique quirks were responsible for bringing Hamas into power as the leading party in the current government.

The constitution was written by Iraqis. Yeah, some of it was based on the TAL, but it is an iraqi document. Most importantly- the Iraqi constitution was put to a popular referendum and was ratified by the Iraqi people themselves. There was no sunni boycott of the referendum and it was observed by international and iraqi monitors. The Iraqi constitution is what a majority of Iraqis (or the parties that represent the Iraqi majority) want for themselves.

You are exactly right about why Saddam is getting attention. It has nothing to do with the crimes he committed, and it has nothing to do with justice being done or not being done. Like you said, it is all about the fact that his country was attacked by the USA (and I do mean HIS country). The details of the trial are all secondary to that fact. Saddam could have been tortured to death and thrown in a dumpster without being given a trial, or he could have been given the most legitimate and fair trial possible, and the perception would still have been the same. Saddam became a symbol in April of 2003, the stuff that happened to him in November and December of 2006 are just details.

You're also right that Iraq's democracy is not likely to last, unfortunately. In fact we can see it disintegrating before our eyes every time we open up a newspaper or turn on CNN

ws

Luqman لقمان said...

Assalamu 'Alaykum,

Perhaps the fact that we give credence to what we see on CNN or elsewhere in the mainstream media is why we have Muslims sincerely believing that Iraq is in any way a democracy. Besides, the fact that other countries follow a similar system in no way makes that system democratic; as it is, the identities of the candidates who were to appear on the lists were kept secret for some time before the election, further eroding its respectability as a democratic political expression. You also ignored the important role played by the US imperial overseer cum ambassador in the content of the Constitution. What exactly is the evidence that the elections themselves were fair and honest? We have serious irregularities in our own elections which are held under much more favourable conditions; do you honestly think that referendums and elections held under the conditions of an ongoing civil conflict can really be representative of the will of the people? There is also the question of whether such elections have any validity from an Islamic point of view; I am not a scholar so I won't touch on that myself, but it needs to be addressed.

Jinnzaman said...

here's Keith Olberman on the execution:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkGoCyvhOL4&eurl=

Yaser said...

Just came across this site. This was a well written post. Inshallah I will see more in the future. Keep me in your ad'iyyah.

Yaser

Provident 360 said...

Revelation 13:5 - Are we in this 42 month period?

ibn Abu Jetmir said...

any articles coming soon?