Saddam’s end: yes, it was an atrocity

On the morning that Saddam Hussein was killed (I think 'executed' should be reserved for the culmination of something resembling due process), I said in a private e-mail to a few friends:

The gruesome videos of Saddam before and after are at
(needs Windows Media Player 9.0 or later, and it works in Internet Explorer but not apparently in Mozilla Firefox).
He was an authentic villain and criminal, but he showed great courage (it seems to me) both at his trial and immediately before his execution, notwithstanding some of the allegations by witnesses of the latter.
"Our respect for human rights requires us to execute him…"  Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq prime minister, quoted in FT 30.xii.06.

Yet another atrocity.

Two judicious and moderate recipients of my message have politely reproached me for describing the hanging of Saddam Hussein as an atrocity.  Further reflection has however confirmed me in the view that the description was and is amply justified.

Like all civilised people in the western world, I regard all forms of capital punishment as disgusting and unacceptable:  I wouldn't think it an exaggeration to call every such killing an atrocity, although I certainly meant much more than that in this case.  There were at least ten separate elements that in combination add up to something properly described as atrocious:

1.  The American government was plainly responsible, along with the Shia-dominated government which they sustain (the question of legitimacy through election is for another day) for the trial, verdict, sentence and its execution (in the purely literal sense).  The tribunal, specially tailor-made for Saddam and his co-defendants, was originally established by decree of Paul Bremer when US Pro-Consul administering Iraq.  Under international law, the occupying power has no right to change the pre-existing laws of a country in this way.  The court had no legitimacy from the beginning.

2.  The charge against Saddam, i.e. that he was guilty of crimes against humanity, should plainly have been heard in an international tribunal of some kind under clearly specified legal statutes defining the powers, rights and roles of the court, the defendant and the prosecution.  It seems to me obvious that the main reason for US resistance to this was that it would have been impossible to assemble an international panel of reputable judges for a court empowered to impose the death sentence: and the Americans were determined to have the man killed.  (But see also (8) below.)

3.  The trial was a travesty.  As all the reputable human rights groups have pointed out, the political pressure on the first judge was so intense that he resigned;  two defence lawyers were murdered;  the defence was given wholly inadequate time to study the mass of detailed prosecution evidence or to call witnesses to rebut it;  the proceedings often degenerated into vulgar slanging matches.  The presence of television and film cameras and microphones confirmed the status of the process as a show trial.  There were similar defects in the 'appeal' process.  To kill a defendant on the basis of such a charade was grotesque.

4.  Even if the conduct of the trial had been impeccable, everyone concerned — judge, defence and prosecution lawyers, Saddam, world opinion — knew in advance that the results were pre-ordained.  To pretend that a fair trial can be conducted on such a basis is simple hypocrisy.  (To pre-empt the likely retort that this reasoning would apply equally to the Nuremburg trials, I would reply that I condemn the executions of the Nazi war criminals as unacceptable and dishonourable 'victors' justice', while accepting the value to posterity of the trials themselves as an essential procedure for establishing in detail what had actually been done during the Nazi era.  For the contrast with the Saddam trial, see (5).)

5.  The only acceptable purpose of putting Saddam on trial would have been to establish a detailed and incontrovertible record for all the world to see (including his hundreds of thousands of victims and their families) of the appalling crimes committed by this mass murderer and torturer.  No attempt was made to establish such a full record:  Saddam's sole conviction was for one of the less grotesque of his crimes, and the haste with which he was almost immediately put to death for it has prevented any possibility of a judicial process to get the rest of his iniquities on the record.  It's no exaggeration to say that the Kurds and the Iranians, for example, have thereby been robbed of the justice due to them.

6.  At the time when Saddam was committing some of the worst of his crimes, he was being actively supported by the United States and its allies who were even supplying him with some of the wherewithal for committing them.  The nature of his régime and his lavish employment of gas, torture and repression were well known to western capitals at the time.  He was supported then in part as a bulwark against violent and extreme anti-western Islamism — which he continued to be until he was overthrown by his former patrons in 2003.  He was also an effective enemy of al-Qaida terrorism:  Osama will have rejoiced at his extinction.  Moreover, even the US, and yet more explicitly its co-conspirator, the British government, pretended throughout the run-up to their illegal attack on Iraq that their purpose was not to overthrow this evil dictator but to force him to give up his weapons of mass destruction.  President Bush's final ultimatum to Saddam offered him and his sons the opportunity to leave Iraq by a given deadline in order to avert military action against their country;  Mr Blair went further, publicly asserting that Saddam could remain in office if only he would obey UN resolutions and disarm.  For either of them to turn round only a few months later, after their avowed casus belli had proved to be groundless, and say that Saddam was such a monster that only his death could satisfy the demands of Iraqi justice (Blair's foreign minister adding primly that of course Britain didn't hold with capital punishment, but that was a matter for the Iraqis) is enough to turn the stomach.  Bush's announcement that the hanging represented "a step on the road to democracy" is, if anything, even more sickening.

7.  Not only did the trial and appeal fail to satisfy the most elementary requirements of due process:  the American-led occupiers lacked the moral (and possibly also the legal) legitimacy to preside over and arrange the repulsive outcome.  It was bad enough to launch an illegal attack on a sovereign state, however repressive its recognised government, and to substitute a new régime of local people more or less subservient to the occupiers and largely bent on sectarian revenge for their past wrongs at Saddam's hands: to capture the former head of state, put him through a farcical show trial and then kill him, lacked any kind of moral legitimacy, a legitimacy that could have been achieved only by handing him over for trial and punishment to a properly constituted authority established by a UN organ.

8.  On the face of it, the Americans' rigid determination to preserve their own sole custody of Saddam throughout his captivity, and even throughout a trial which purported to be by and for Iraqis, until only a couple of hours before he was killed, looks decidedly fishy, especially as it exposed the falsity of the pretence that the whole thing was Iraqi-inspired and Iraqi-organised.  What seems the likeliest explanation for this determined US control right to the end?  We shall never know, I suppose;  but it's not easy to overlook that film clip of Donald Rumsfeld, at that time head of the multinational pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle & Co., smilingly and respectfully shaking the bloodstained hand of the dictator when visiting Baghdad in December 1983 on a mission[1]  —

'to establish "direct contact between an envoy of President Reagan and President Saddam Hussein," while emphasizing "his close relationship" with the president…  Rumsfeld met with Saddam, and the two discussed regional issues of mutual interest, shared enmity toward Iran and Syria, and the U.S.'s efforts to find alternative routes to transport Iraq's oil; its facilities in the Persian Gulf had been shut down by Iran, and Iran's ally, Syria, had cut off a pipeline that transported Iraqi oil through its territory. Rumsfeld made no reference to chemical weapons, according to detailed notes on the meeting…'

Considering this and other evidence of active US support for Saddam in his self-inflicted struggle with Iran and the Kurds, it's clear that Saddam "knew where the bodies were buried" in more senses than one;  that if he had been given half a chance in further, more extensive trials, or if transferred from American to international custody, he would have spilled some very embarrassing and incriminating beans about the roles played by some of those now bent on having him killed.  Is it not at the very lowest plausible that this was the reason for trying him on charges which didn't involve evidence about supplies of gas and other weapons by the west, for cutting short his trials on any other, wider charges, for keeping him in US custody until the very last minute, and for the absolute insistence that at the end of the process Saddam must be killed, not sentenced by some international tribunal to life-long exile and incarceration?  If this wasn't at least part of the explanation, what better explanation is there? 

9.  As more details of Saddam's last minutes begin to seep out, supported by both the official and some unofficial videos and superseding the official line put out by one of the official witnesses (according to whom Saddam was an obviously "broken man", "fear in his face" at every step as he was led to the gallows, all definitively contradicted even by the officially released film), it becomes clear that one or more of the hangmen in their ski-masks were taunting and shouting insults at Saddam even as they took him to his death, and that Saddam was replying in kind, with the defiance that he had exhibited throughout the trial.   This hideous behaviour by the executioners makes the cold-blooded killing of a living, healthy, vigorous human being even more obscene.

10.  Even on the lowest calculus of political expediency, and even allowing for Iraqi and other Arab attitudes towards capital punishment and the treatment of one's defeated enemies, this was a patently counter-productive deed connived at by a government purportedly committed to national reconciliation and the end of inter-sectarian violence, egged on by an occupying power that still pretends that the purpose of its occupation is to restore human rights to Iraq and to guide the country to democracy.  To carry out the killing at the beginning of an Islamic sacred festival compunded the divisiveness of the act. 

In short, the killing of Saddam raises profound doubts about its morality, legality, and political expediency, and unavoidable suspicions about the true motives of its perpetrators.  It combined elements of farce, charade, hypocritical pretence and tragedy.  

I know of no better description of this disgusting event and its incriminating background than that by Robert Fisk in The Independent of 30 December 2006, obligatory reading in full — but here's a sample (hat-tip: once again, to David Tothill): 

No, Tony Blair is not Saddam. We don't gas our enemies.  George W Bush is not Saddam.  He didn't invade Iran or Kuwait.  He only invaded Iraq.  But hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians are dead — and thousands of Western troops are dead — because Messrs Bush and Blair and the Spanish Prime Minister and the Italian Prime Minister and the Australian Prime Minister went to war in 2003 on a potage [sic] of lies and mendacity and, given the weapons we used, with great brutality.
In the aftermath of the international crimes against humanity of 2001 we have tortured, we have murdered, we have brutalised and killed the innocent — we have even added our shame at Abu Ghraib to Saddam's shame at Abu Ghraib — and yet we are supposed to forget these terrible crimes as we applaud the swinging corpse of the dictator we created.

Who encouraged Saddam to invade Iran in 1980, which was the greatest war crime he has committed[,] for it led to the deaths of a million and a half souls?  And who sold him the components for the chemical weapons with which he drenched Iran and the Kurds?  We did.  No wonder the Americans, who controlled Saddam's weird trial, forbad[e] any mention of this, his most obscene atrocity, in the charges against him.  Could he not have been handed over to the Iranians for sentencing for this massive war crime?  Of course not. Because that would also expose our culpability.

If all this doesn't add up to "another atrocity", it's hard to imagine what does.  No, I don't apologise for the word.

[1] The official account of all this in the National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 82 of February 25, 2003 is well worth reading.  There is also a link here to the video clip of Rumsfeld's call, as President Reagan's official envoy, on Saddam in 1983 (Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player required).

Update (11 January):  A friend has helpfully pointed me at Robert Fisk's characteristically eloquent article in the Independent of 6 January which makes many of the same points.   I part company with Fisk on only one thing:  I believe that the objectionable features of the hanging of Saddam are objectionable regardless of one's views on capital punishment generally.  Fisk's final sentences seem to suggest that the objections to this specific hanging are bound up with wider objections to capital punishment in general.


14 Responses

  1. Tony Hatfield says:


    And the whole business also allowed Saddam to avoid a trial on perhaps his worse atrocity- the Hallabja massacre.

     Though I suspect such a trial,  which would have exposed all the double dealing of the UK/USA in providing the materials, was one the US certainly wanted to avoid.


    Seymour, Indiana

    Still struggling with this US keyboard!

    Brian writes:  Good to hear from you in foreign parts, Tony, making two of my own points much more pithily than I managed to do.  Don't stay on that side of the water for too long, though, or you might catch something nasty (a taste for judicial murder, for example).

    One additional point that neither of us has so far made:  can there be any relevance to the Saddam hanging of the often-quoted remark of President Bush that Saddam was the "man that tried to kill my Dad"? Revenge has nothing in common with justice.

  2. Brian says:

    David Tothill has authorised me to pass on his own comment:

    I'm with you that the SH hanging was an atrocity, including the way it was carried out.  I thought at the time of his capture that Saddam should have followed the example of his sons and died fighting or otherwise have fallen on his sword to avoid the charade of a trial followed by his inevitable execution.  Too bad those ski-masked clowns on the gallows lacked the courage to expose their faces.  It's easy enough to mock a man on the point of death if one's face is covered in the hope of being able to escape retribution from the man's followers.  The whole business was redolent of the lack of class and taste symptomatic of this American-inspired and -led operation from the start.

    Brian adds:  Amen to all that.  The way in which the hanging was carried out is rapidly escalating into a global scandal, with the Iraqi government setting up an inquiry to find out who was responsible — not only for shouting abuse and curses at Saddam during his last seconds on earth, but also and more menacingly for secretly filming the events on a mobile phone — sound as well as vision — and then releasing it to the media.  Unfortunately these issues, disgraceful as the treatment of a man about to die undoubtedly was, threaten to obscure the broader question of the rights and wrongs of the hanging: whether and why not, as well as how.  On that, there was an excellent column by Minette Marrin in the Sunday Times of 31 December 2006.  Three cheers also to John Prescott, UK Deputy Prime Minister, too often underrated, for his robust condemnation of the behaviour of the Saddam executioners, in his BBC Today Programme interview this morning (link is to mp3 recording of the interview).

  3. Rory says:

    The Iraq debacle soldiers on. Although America paints itself as the land of wealth and freedom we all now know that it is a greedy, violent Empire run by profit. There are no morals behind any of their actions on the international stage and all talk of any of their actions being for the greater good is a dark spin on the truth…and as a Brit I’m utterly disgraced that our government back their every whim. As a life long Labour supporter I’m amazed to find myself shouting DON’T VOTE THEM BACK IN.

  4. Tiffany says:

    Thanks for your clear delineation of the 10 aspects of this travesty. I’m appalled by this entire event, by my country’s continued support of the death penalty, and by the general behavior of the U.S. War-Criminal-in-Chief.

  5. Gabriel says:

    May I ask a question, Brian. At any point during Saddam’s reign of terror did you take any practical steps, whatsoever, either to end his rule or mitigate the suffering of his people? Or did you look the other way? Did you ever spend one minute bemoaning the appalling suffering visited upon innocents by that man?

    Given the obvious answer  to these questions, what possible right do you think you have to oppose Iraqis getting just one moment of satisfaction in their miserable lives from this ghoul’s death? Sure, it might not be a terribly enlightened emotion to have, perhaps your empathy doesn’t extend to it, but guess what? these people have had s**tty lives and the odds are, thanks to the ‘resistance’ they are not going to get any better soon. To begrudge them this little satisfaction is the callous faux-piety of the impotent.

    It’s always notable among certain more obnoxious forms of Tory that what offends them most about the Bolsheviks is not the gulags, the purges, the artificial famines, but the murder of the Tsar – the one person they killed (apart from high ranking bolshies cought in the purges) who indisputably deserved exactly what he got. It appeals to some perverted romaticism that blinds them to a basic sense of justice. Your attitude differs not one iota.

    I can only presume that you are a polymath, fluent in many languages and have written one of the greatest poems in the English language (otherwise you would never be so vain and foolish as to claim no civilised people take your attitude to the disposing of tyrants), but nevertheless I hope you will debase yourself to ponder the words of a brutish boor by the name of John Milton, who wrote ‘neither do bad men hate tyrants, but have been always ready with the falsified names of Loyalty, and Obedience’. I would sumbit that in this age Compassion, Decency or Civilization are more likely to find themselves quoted in this bracket.

    So take your vapid imperialist bleatings, your insane demand that Iraqis follow the dictats of liberals in the ‘western world’, your nonseniscal assertions that this is both the fault of the U.S. and Iraqi government’s simultaneously, your reactionary moans for tyrants and most of all your crashing, nauseating, degenerate arrogance and shove ’em.

  6. Gabriel says:

    P.S. It hardly seems worthwhile to point out that evidence of Saddam’s involvment with the U.S. is well known and documented, invalidating many of your points.. What is even more well documented, for those who care to look, is France and Russia’s material and moral support for the regime, which certainly puts the vaccilating attitude of the Anglo Saxon world to shame if we are to use consistency as our ultimate moral criteria. 

    So why the one sided view? Simple self loathing can’t explain it because your condemnation of the U.S. is much more strident than that of your own nation. I, at least, would never be so presumptuous as to presume that you are simply ignorant of the facts surrounding international politics in the Ba’athist years. There are various other explanations, but they all revolve around you having an enormous reserve of hypocrisy and other gross character flaws. I must admit, I’m stumped.

  7. Brian says:

    The two comments above by ‘Gabriel’ should be compulsory reading for those who find it difficult to distinguish between (1) vigorous debate on issues that give rise to legitimate disagreement, and (2) personal insults and abuse directed at those with whom the writer disagrees.  I note in passing that we’re not allowed to know who ‘Gabriel’ really is, nor (if he or she has a blog) what his or her views on these or other issues are: but even if ‘Gabriel’ (no angel, sadly) were to expose him- or herself and his/her views to scrutiny in the way that some of the rest of us do, I doubt if I would feel sufficiently confident to go onto the Web with a lengthy analysis of his or her "character flaws", gross or otherwise.  You have to salute such chutzpah, really.


  8. Gabriel says:

    I'm sorry I neglected to read the other comments and misjudged the sort of genre one is expected to aim for here.

    The U.S. War-criminal-in chief (ho ho!) has murdered Saddam in cold blood simply to cover up his links with Donald Rumsfeld. Presumably his next move will be to take over the internet, so we will no longer be able to see the pictures by typing in "Donald Rumsfeld Saddam Hussein" into a Google image search. This sentence by the Iraqi courts proves beyond dispute that America is a greedy empire run for profit; moreover, the actions of Iraqi prison workers perfectly illustrates the lack of class of the average American. Some imperialist lackies of the ZOG may enquire as to why we do not share the same concern over four Japanese executed last week. You just tell them "Buffoon! They only killed one person Saddam killed thousands, hence his crimes were mere statistiocide – we have no problem with that."


    Brian replies:  Difficult to decide which is more tiresome and distracting:  personal abuse or heavy sarcasm.  Two doses of the first and one of the second are quite enough.  Perhaps you would now leave the field free for those with something to say about the issues?

  9. Aidan says:

    Is Gabriel really Melanie Phillips? There can’t be all that many people who argue like this.

  10. Rob says:

    I'm not sure quite how much sympathy I have with Gabriel. It strikes me that to regard Saddam's killing by the Iraqi state as worth this much vitriol is, for all its horror, a little over the top: one judicial killing is, after all, much like another, and since the Iraqi state has the death penalty, I assume we can expect more, on top of those others that have doubtless already occurred. I doubt few of these prisoners will have received substantially better treatment than Saddam, and many may have received significantly worse. This is quite apart from the surely infinitely greater horror of a country of tens of millions of people sliding, where it has not already reached it, into a state which makes the description total anarchy seem far too mild. The death of one man, however unjust, however crudely administered, however monumentally stupid, just doesn't seem that important.

    Brian writes:  I take Rob's point about the arguably relative unimportance of the hanging of Saddam, but against this it can obviously be argued that this was a uniquely iconic event, not only because Saddam was one of the outstandingly wicked monsters of our age,with an enormous influence on the history of his own country and region and also on global politics, but also because of the manner of his overthrow and the partial responsibility of the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for his fate, as well as for the potentially significant political consequences of his 'execution'.  This seems to me well analysed by Ian Mayes in yesterday's Guardian —,,1984805,00.html.   Incidentally, I don't know whether Rob was referring to my condemnation of the hanging of Saddam when he referred to 'vitriol':  if so, I plead Not Guilty.  But I may have misread him.  It seems an apt description of some other comments here.

  11. Rob says:

    The ‘vitriol’ was aimed generally. But on the substance – and I hope I am avoiding damning myself by discussing something I said wasn’t particularly worth discussing – it strikes me that the politically significant effects of the hanging follow directly from people thinking that something which isn’t really important is. Saddam’s only political significance at this stage was that people thought he had political significance, unlike, say, when he was captured, when he appears to have been a major player in a part of the resistance to the occupation. Strip away that unwarranted attribution of importance to the man, and he’s just another person ill-treated by the Coalition and the Iraqi government, of whom I am sure there are many, many of whom have been significantly more seriously ill-treated. I can’t quite get my head round the idea that there’s anything special about him any more, and the things which seem to have really upset people seem so incidental, and presumably so common as well, to the major wrong – the hanging – that I can’t really understand that either. I suppose I’d be happy describing it as monumentally stupid – which isn’t quite the same as an insult to human dignity in the way an atrocity is – to have mocked him on the way to the gallows, and perhaps I’d change my mind if I’d actually seen the video, though. On a related note, if Shuggy thinks that rejecting utilitarianism means being indifferent to consequences altogether, he is sorely mistaken, and so there is nothing wrong with noting, and intending as criticism, the total stupidity of the manner of the execution.

  12. Milos says:

    Good day to all. I am sorry for my broken English; that's why I'll make this short. Mr. Brian, please, you are free to "translate" this into normal English.

    I am a scientist, physicist, so I'll go straight to the point…

    1. This here is the person I hated. (Just to "explain" the position from where I am standing: I fought against him, against his "dictatorship" and his "tyranny". I also fought against "commies". I was a student at the University of Belgrade at the time.) I guess you all can search the above-mentioned web-site and read that SM speeches seem to be more peaceful than we all thought. But that's not what I wanted to say now. What I really wanted to say is this:
    2. Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia, Yugoslavia
    3. Saddam Hussein, Iraq
    4. Fidel Castro, Cuba
    5. etc. (perhaps Kim Il-sung, North Korea, and others)

    …does anyone see the pattern? In short, and because of my broken English, I'll try to give only a simple picture, and will leave it to everyone's common knowledge and sanity to make further analysis and have conclusions; I say it once again: this is just simplified view.

    Algorithm: ———–

    a) Interests, interests, interests… It does not have to be visible to everyday people, and further more – it shouldn't be; but there is (exists) an interest and there is some kind of planned action.

    b) Scenario…

    c) "Reasons"…

    d) "The other cause…" (i.e. good lie)

    e) Reversing the time axis: what was the consequence now becomes the reason; what came after now appears to be the root of everything… ————————- Applied to our problems, we have Saddams, Milosevics, Fidels… They are not the same. But the main principle is the same: e) they are our friends

    f) we will help them to come to power g) we will help them stay on power h) they will do whatever we want them to do (e.g. Saddam will fight Iran) i) we won't mind if they become oppressive dictators, which is quite normal for a given situation, since we prefer dictators – that's even a plus: we feel much safer knowing our interests (oil, gold, diamonds, cheep labour, etc.) are controlled and nothing unpredictable could happen j) we will not object even if they kill million people using chemical and biological weapons (of mass destruction). …if, for some reason – and this became a non-written rule – a dictator stops obeying us, we will "pack" him something, we will suddenly remember how bad he was, and we will neutralize him one way or the other: assassination, imprisonment, quick trials, or he will die in prison. Please read the following two short articles:

    – SM1:

    – SM2:

    Once again I say I really hated Slobodan Milosevic (and his son, a thug and a criminal). But in those two articles, even if you didn't like SM, even if you don't believe in "theories of conspiracy", you have to see that something is wrong. (I'm building my case using Milosevic's example because I want to show that Saddam's "trial" was no exception: someone wanted Saddam dead and more important: SILENT; I think that, by showing similarities, I will prove that nothing that US government does can be "accident" or "not-well-planned".)

    I understand what Gabriel and Rob wanted to say: their view is that death of one person is not that much important (Rob), especially since it's only "one in a row" (Rob), or since it's "death of a person that caused all other deaths" (Gabriel). That might be ok, but I think that was not what we here talked about: we didn't discuss if Saddam (or Milosevic) was guilty, but whether how it all happened, how comes he was so successful in being such a terrible killer, who helped him come and stay on power, who gave him support, who sold him weapons, who had an interest in all that…

    For example, whose interest was 10 year war between Iraq and Iran? Who was selling weapons to BOTH sides? Whose interest was to attack Iraq TWICE? …And not to dethrone Saddam, but to launch another "anti-terrorist" war? Whose interest was to torn Yugoslavia apart thus slowing down European integration and economy? Whose interest was to make Milosevic a dictator? Who helped him stay on power when we had huuuge demonstrations against him, against all other "old-communist" leaders in all other Yugoslav republics, and against war in Yugoslavia? Who helped him stay on power during the Yugoslav war? Who claimed Milosevic was a peacemaker, a "guarantee of the peace in the Balkans"? Who helped him survive huuuge demonstrations 1996/97?

    Hundreds of thousands people, every day, marching the streets of Belgrade… you remember, don't you? Who gave him a reason to stay on power until his death? (When he refused NATO, The Hague Tribunal accused him of war crimes.) When police and army generals were changing their minds and were planning to dethrone Milosevic, NATO urged Hague Tribunal to accuse all major generals in Serbian army and police – that was a deliberate move, planned to make them (Milosevic and the generals) act as one to save their skin.

    I simply can not believe that NATO "did not know" what would happen if they accuse all major players, all generals that (at that time) had the power to overthrown Milosevic. I simply can not believe that. Someone wanted Milosevic to stay on power. Demonstrations: 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996/97, 1998… Belgrade University lost year 1996/97, 1998/99… What happened during 1999? War… It is not allowed, in any country in the world, to fight against your own country while it is attacked from the outside. So we had really hard times fighting against Milosevic (who was not American puppet, but being disobedient he became another kind of "puppet" – the one that is simply a "good excuse" for everything: bombing, occupation, building army bases, cheap buying, cheap labour, etc.). And that hard times where people were being killed in spot, in the centre of Belgrade, just because they were proclaimed "enemies of the state", those times became even harder one day when we were so close to dethroning him, one day when NATO decided to BOMB SM's EMPTY HOUSE!!! Can you imagine that?!? Actually, not HIS house… His PRIVATE house was some 300 m away and it was (and still is) intact. No… NATO bombed official residency of Yugoslav president, even though everyone knew Milosevic NEVER LIVED in that house and that he spent the whole war in bunkers built for Marshal Tito and diplomatic core during Cold War era (bunkers in case of a USA-USSR nuclear war). That news, that "residency of the President was bombed" and that "NATO and USA tried to assassin our ((legally, democratically elected)) president" was enough to make ordinary people suport Milosevic sky high. And no one knew that in NATO??? LOL!

    After the bombing, just to remind you, Milosevic stayed on power till next elections, Serbs and Albanians will never live together again in Kosovo and Metokhia province, and NATO built the biggest army base (outside USA soil at the time) – in Kosovo. Well, soldiers from Germany had to be relocated somewhere, right? After Yugoslav war, we have NATO in Bosnia, in Adriatic Sea, in Serbia (Kosovo), in Macedonia, and if Milosevic signed the Rambouillet agreement (and it's annex B – classical occupation with no responsibilities – we would have NATO in whole Serbia and Montenegro. But the devil never sleeps: Serbian government signed that "contract" 4 months ago, so everything is under (NATO) control. 🙂 Everything is like it was supposed to be… Right? Well, Milosevic died of a heart attack, he was denied a heart surgery, and there is only Montenegro "uncovered" by NATO. But it will be a piece of cake now…

    Why did I say all this? Because I think it is not *that much* important (it is important, but now we are talking about something *even more important*, about the cause of a problem) … it is not *that much* important how Saddam died, but WHY he died like that, not having the opportunity to share his little secrets with us, to tell us who helped him kill over a million people, who helped him to do everything he did (killing, blah, blah…) finally leading his county to USA invasion. So not only he did the killings, not only people (from Iraq, Iran, and other neighbouring countries) suffered, but in the end Iraq became US property in some way, and it will stay that way for years. That's why I agree with Mister Brian and other people here: we wanted trial, not *just because*, not just because "some people in Iraq or Iran" would see justice, but because of prevention, because I wanted to see who, how, and why helped Saddam all that time. But, no, we didn't see that.

    One day, when Castro dies, we will hear he was a dictator. Perhaps he was. But America won't tell us that he would not become a dictator if USA did not impose illegal "blockade" upon Cuba. So, by reversing the time axis, we will hear that years and decades later Mr Castro became dictator and enemy of USA, thus USA "had to" isolate Cuba in order to "help Cuban people change the regime". The cause becomes the after effect, and the after effect becomes the cause… Well, this wasn't as short as I wanted it to be. Actually, this wasn't short at all. 🙂 Mr. Barder, please do necessary corrections in my English.

    Brian writes:  I don't think it's necessary to correct the author's English as he invites me to do. He writes better English than I can write Serbo-Croat, and with great clarity! 

  13. Milos says:

    About Rambouillet:

    What I wanted to say in my previous and lengthy comment is that nothing that comes out of NATO kitchen should be treated as randomness or perchance. Everything that hundreds and thousands of PhD's, computers, agents, spies, "friends", satellites and other sources collect – it's not a coincidence, nothing they plan should be treated as unplanned, as a "it just happened" thing.

    If Hague Tribunal receives additional 320 million US dollars, and if their main target dies – it is no coincidence. I'm not saying Mr. Milosevic was a good guy, I'm not talking about him at all! I'm talking about principle. He was a witness that knew much. He was ill. He was treated while he was on power in Belgrade. He was treated while in prison in Belgrade. After years of stress and trial he needed operation. That's what the best doctors-cardiologists from Serbia, Russia, Spain, France and Netherlands said. But Mr. Milosevic never receive medical treatment. Mr. Milosevic discovered he was being poisoned – an information that was for obvious reasons kept secret for more than a year. He wrote a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation where he expressed his shock and asked for help and for guarantees for his medical treatment/surgery in Russia. Two and a half days after that Mr. Milosevic was found dead in his cell.


    – The Hague Tribunal claimed Mr. Milosevic had been poisoning himself for more than a year, with intention to go to heart surgery to Russia.

    – The Hague Tribunal knew Mr. Milosevic was using drugs since it was discovered a year and a half earlier during analysis of his blood.

    – The Hague Tribunal had cameras everywhere.

    – The Hague Tribunal does not have an explanation how Mr. Milosevic got the medicine that eventually killed him. – The Hague Tribunal never filmed Mr. Milosevic taking any pills.

    – Camera was not working when Mr. Milosevic died.

    – [Camera was not working when Mr. Babic died (just a week before Mr. Milosevic died; Mr. Babic agreed to testify against all other Serbs in the trial, and his sentence was to be minimised in return; in the end his sentence was even longer than it when he got accused originally). Cameras were not operational, and Mr. Babic somehow hung himself in a very tall cell.]

    – No pills were found in Mr. Milosevic's cell. It seems Mr. Milosevic had invisible pills, or he was taking pills for more than a year regularly and then he died after using the exactly last pill, after sending open letter to Russian ministry, and after the letter was read in Serbian (and international) TV stations. Huh, how many coincidences… The Hague Tribunal had no explanation and refused to talk about that issue.

    – The guard that day, unlike every other day, did not open Mr. Milosevic's sell in the morning.

    – Mr. Milosevic's attorneys and Mr. Milosevic's wife were calling the tribunal the whole morning and were given the information that Mr. Milosevic is fine, that he had his breakfast and that he was "out for a walk". (Mr. Milosevic was calling his wife every day from the prison, every morning at the same time; when he didn't – she immediately called lawyers in Belgrade demanding they call Hague Tribunal (she couldn't call directly since she was and still is wanted by the Serbian police). Lawyers were given information that Mr. Milosevic is fine every time they called.)

    – Mr. Milosevic's defense was in it's ending and it was now turn for the highest politicians to face the court: Mr. Bulatovic (ex president of Montenegro), Mr. Wesley Clark, Mr. Bill Clinton, Mr. Blaire, Mr. Havier Solana, and several more USA, UK and NATO officials. Now, when Mr. Milosevic is dead, and when I read some more books than I read 10-15 years ago, I am starting to question many "obvious" truths. Just like in mathematics, when a professor says to his students: "It's trivial…"

    – it's the most qustionable place when you hear that something is trivial, evident, NATO backed-up, or "elementary, my dear Watson".

    This is why I believe Mr. Hussein's trial was not … no, I'm not talking about fairness, either… his trial was not a trial at all. It was just a farce, with one and only one idea behind: to kill that man (and some other men) before he (they) can say anything about anyone. (Remember that the trial was paused and adjorned every time Mr. Hussein tried to call (USA) names. Did he deserve punishment? Yes? Do we all deserve to know the truth – not about Saddam, but about how and why it happened that there are millions of dead, and that Americans occupy and possess Iraq? Should we know the truth not because are curious but because with knowledge comes power to stop any such next attrocity? Yes? OK then, which YES is more important: to kill Saddam ASAP, or to find out who his "associates" and allies were? By killing Saddam in an installed and preassembled trial we lost the opportunity for the latter. I think people who ordered Saddams murder are worst killers than Saddam (because Saddam is one of their toys, only one of many Saddams). I think they are together in crime, accomplice, and that mafia boss killed one of his associates just to keep him quiet. Dead men tell no tales…

  1. 2 January, 2007

    […] Eustonian Shuggy responds on his blog to a post at Brian Barder’s about the hanging of Saddam Hussein. Shuggy writes: While I’d agree with many of the criticisms Brian Barder has made of the execution of Saddam Hussein, taken as a whole the piece conflates two separate issues; one’s attitude and opinion on the death penalty per se and how it was conducted in this case. […]

    Brian adds I have posted the following comment on Shuggy's blog post:

    I don't accept Shuggy's suggestion that my blog post about the hanging of Saddam conflates the two issues of objections to all capital punishment, and objections to this particular killing (it doesn't in my view qualify to be described as an 'execution').  On the contrary, my ten points are all directly applicable to this particular event regardless of one's views on capital punishment generally.  Read my post and decide for yourself: