Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Noose continues to tighten around Saddam's neck

He actually admitted razing the land of the Shiite village whose residents he is accused of having executed. Of course he claims eminent domain and says the citizens were substantially compensated.

Right. Compensated with imprisonment, torture, and a bullet.

He also referred to the destruction of the Dujail families' farmland, saying: "I razed the land. I razed it, not with bulldozers. It was a resolution issued by the Revolutionary Command Council," a regime institution that Saddam headed.

Saddam said the government had the right to confiscate land for the "national interest," and he ordered "substantial compensation" paid to its owners.

Chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman was about to adjourn the session when Saddam asked to speak. After 15 minutes, the court adjourned until March 12.

Over the past two days, prosecutors showed on an overhead screen a series of documents detailing the bureaucracy behind the wave of arrests and executions. Those documents them was the June 16, 1984, presidential decree approving the executions.

In often dry government language, the memos, decrees and even handwritten notes - from Saddam's presidential office, the Mukhabarat intelligence service headed by co-defendant Barazan Ibrahim and other agencies - laid out a paper trail behind the suffering that prosecution witnesses recounted in the first months of the trial.

Those witnesses - Dujail residents - previously told the court they were imprisoned and tortured, and their relatives were killed. Several women related how they were stripped naked, beaten or given electric shocks - one testifying that Ibrahim himself kicked her in the chest as she hung upside down.

Keep talking Saddam. It won't matter in the end.