the determination of any criminal charge ... everyone shall be entitled
to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial
tribunal established by law."
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – Article 14(1)
complete demonization of Saddam Hussein threatens to determine every
decision and action affecting not only his future but that of Iraq as
well. With U.S. mass media and U.S. government propaganda
stripping Saddam Hussein of every redeeming human quality, any act
against him or Iraq is ipso facto justified.
This successful demonization made the U.S. unilateral war of aggression
against Iraq politically possible. It now makes a fair trial for
Saddam Hussein impossible.
The debate about intelligence failures is itself a cover-up of the
obvious. Saddam Hussein was demonized to justify regime change in
Iraq. It rendered him an evil madman threatening the civilized
world. He possessed weapons of mass destruction. He supported
9/11. He aided al-Qaeda. WMDs could be launched within minutes of his
order. That Saddam Hussein would use them was clear. He used them
"against his own people." Ignored were the facts that under devastating
attacks by the U.S. in 1991 and 2003, Iraq did not use any illegal
weapons. In 1991, Iraq was the victim of 88,500 tons of explosives
(almost seven Hiroshimas) delivered by the Pentagon in 42 days that
destroyed its infrastructure: water systems, power, transportation,
communications, manufacturing, commercial properties, housing, mosques,
churches, synagogues. Food production, processing, storage,
distribution, fertilizer and insecticide production, were targeted for
destruction. Nearly 150,000 defenseless people were killed outright in
Iraq. The U.S. claimed its casualties to be 156 — 1/3 from friendly
fire, the remainder accidents.
Sanctions against Iraq from August 6, 1990, into 2003 took over
1,500,000 lives, the majority children under age five. By October 1986,
567,000 children under five were dead from sanctions according to a
U.N. FAO report that month. One-fourth of the infants born alive in
Iraq in 2002 weighed less than four pounds, a dangerously low and
crippling birth weight — symbolic of the condition of the entire
During the high-tech terrorism of "Shock and Awe" in March and April
2003, Iraq never used any WMDs or other illegal weapon as some 25,000
of its defenseless people were killed.
At least 35 nations have WMDs in their military stockpiles, the U.S.
more than all others combined. The U.S. is planning a new
generation of nuclear weapons, tactical weapons that would have been
used against Iraq if the U.S. had possessed them in 2003. The U.S. used
4,000 tons, or more, of depleted uranium, super bombs in attempts to
assassinate Saddam Hussein and cluster bombs to savage anyone within a
large area, usually urban, where they were dropped.
Saddam Hussein was demonized because he refused to surrender the
sovereignty and independence of Iraq and its people to demands and
plans for U.S. domination and exploitation under its New World
At the very time the Bush administration claims Saddam Hussein
committed his most serious atrocities, "gassing his own people," Kurds
at Halabja, in March 1988, near the end of the Iran-Iraq war, U.S.
support for the government of Saddam Hussein was at its height.
Donald Rumsfeld was a principal player. Stephen C. Pelletiere, the
CIA’s senior political analyst of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war,
professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000 and head of a 1991
U.S. Army investigation into how Iraq would fight a war against the
U.S., has repeatedly and publicly absolved Iraq from targeting
Kurds at Halabja. See, e.g., New York Times, Jan. 31, 2003, p. A29.
A Defense Intelligence Agency investigation and report made immediately
after the Halabja incident absolved Iraq. The U.S. continued its
support of Iraq with full knowledge of the facts.
The "rogue states" condemned by President Bush are "rogue" because they
do not submit to U.S. authority. They include, among others, Cuba,
Aristide’s Haiti, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Lebanon, Syria, until
recently Liberia and Libya, Brazil, Ecuador and Venezuela more
recently. Some members of the European Union, most notably France
and Germany, timorously, have offered some opposition to the U.S., on
the question of Iraq. While they are not called rogues,
they have paid a price for this impudence. For those who believe both
peace and economic justice require "sovereign equality" among nations,
a principle on which the U.N. Charter is based, the "rogue states"
deserve our gratitude for resisting, often at a terrible cost, U.S.
demands for submission. Nearly all the more than 80 U.S. military
interventions in the Western Hemisphere in the past century are
evidence that the U.S. intervenes in countries that defy its will and
resist its exploitation.
"Our SOBs" — the Somozas of the world — who govern for the
benefit of the U.S. and their own selfish interests, have caused many
more wars, far greater violations of human rights and most deadly,
deeper impoverishment of hundreds of millions of people than all the
rogue states which most often are struggling for liberation or
If the U.S. can successfully use the demonization of Saddam Hussein to
justify his illegal detention and cruel, inhuman and degrading
treatment and consolidate its control over Iraq through the
corruption of law and government, the consequences will be more
violence against the U.S., more aggression by the U.S. and more misery
for the world.
The brazen humiliation of Saddam Hussein after his capture, the former
Iraqi President disoriented, disheveled, mouth probed wide open, a
helpless prisoner, was shown repeatedly on TV internationally and
viewed by more than one billion people. American Indians
understood immediately and were angered again: That is the way they
treated our captured Chiefs: Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Geronimo and
many others. Filipinos still wince as they remembered the treatment
accorded their President Aquinaldo, captured by U.S. treachery in his
hideout in northern Luzon a century ago. The Bush administration
appears to prefer a fate for Saddam Hussein more like that of the slave
rebellion leader Nat Turner nearly two centuries ago — his head on a
Later photos showed Saddam Hussein, humiliated before a rich U.S. Iraqi
puppet leader and avowed enemy, who was sitting free and comfortable
above Saddam Hussein in his cell, a large picture of President George
W. Bush hung on the wall. This conduct advertises to the whole
world that the U.S. has no respect for the Geneva Conventions, or mere
It must be observed that all the rogue states, the victims of the many
U.S. interventions and the U.S. captives mutilated, or humiliated as
Saddam Hussein has been, are members of the great majority of the
world’s population that has beautiful darker
They are the poor of the planet, being made poorer, dominated and
exploited by the foreign policies of the U.S. and its rich allies
designed for domination, exploitation and triage.
The devastating destruction of life and life-supporting infrastructure
by the massive aerial assaults of 1991 and 2003, the regular bee-sting
bombing of Iraq in between, the vicious armed raids against Iraqis,
averaging 25 per day now and constant since May 1, 2003, when Bush
claimed the war was over and, above all, the genocidal sanctions
strangling the whole society for more than twelve years with virtually
no protest in the U.S. mass media, government and political leadership
required race-based saturation and demonization to be accepted.
Attention must be paid.
Can we remember President Bush’s outrage when Iraqi TV. in March 2003
showed several captured U.S. soldiers being escorted by Iraqis in poor
light and at a distance that made identification impossible? We
might wonder how U.S. soldiers captured in the future, or other U.S.
hostages, will be treated.
The most chilling conduct of the U.S. is the total isolation, complete
silence about his location and treatment, and denial of all visitation
for Saddam Hussein. The spectre created by Guantanamo says anything
goes. But the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one
shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in
accordance with such procedure as are established by law.
Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the
reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges
Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought
promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise
judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time
or to release. Article 9(1-3).
It further requires: All persons deprived of their liberty shall be
treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the
Tariq Aziz, Iraq’s former Deputy Prime Minister, a major figure in
international diplomacy for twenty years, has been held
secret without reports on his health, or treatment for eight months
now. Unnamed prisoners at Guantanamo have been held for two years with
only glimpses of unconscious prisoners being carried on stretchers, and
semi-conscious prisoners stumbling with leg chains supported by U.S.
soldiers as they leave interrogation.
The U.S. cannot use its criminal war of aggression, or its belated
designation of Saddam Hussein as a prisoner of war to escape the
international standards of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The very detention of Saddam Hussein is illegal. The U.S. invasion of
Iraq was a war of aggression, an offense called "the supreme
international crime" in the Nuremberg Judgment. Prisoners held by the
U.S. as a result of this war of aggression
be released, or turned over to the United Nations, or the International
Criminal Court, and not a jurisdiction of its choice.
The U.N. and the ICC are legal, independent, impartial, competent and
have jurisdiction to act, all conditions required by international law.
The U.N., or the ICC, can make a preliminary determination as to
whether there is sufficient evidence of criminal conduct to support
criminal charges, the necessity and nature of further detention and
whether a legal, independent, impartial and competent court exists with
jurisdiction to try the charges.
There is no court in Iraq and no existing domestic law. The U.S.
war of aggression and occupation have destroyed both. The present
U.S. puppet council in Iraq has no legitimacy and is comprised of sworn
enemies of Saddam Hussein, the first qualification for the job. It
cannot be foreseen when a new sovereign government capable of creating
a legal, independent, impartial and competent court might be formed,
but any new criminal code it might enact would be ex post facto
for any act committed prior to its enactment.
The Security Council does not have power under the U.N. Charter to
create a criminal court and its creation of courts for
Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and participation in a court for
Cambodia, all under coercion from the U.S. in pursuit of its enemies,
cannot create power to do that which its Charter denies it.
Nor are the Security Council’s hands clean concerning Iraq. It
authorized sanctions, albeit under U.S. coercion, against Iraq that
were genocidal, inflicting infinitely greater injury on the people of
Iraq than the worst demonization of Saddam Hussein proclaims he did.
The International Criminal Court is legal and presumptively
independent, impartial and competent. Its jurisdiction reaches major
international crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against
humanity, but only for acts alleged to have been committed after June
Most important of all, any court that might consider charges against
Saddam Hussein must also weigh charges against the United States, its
officials and others acting in concert with them. If equal justice
under law is to have any meaning, and equality is the mother of
justice, power cannot confer impunity for commission of wars of
aggression, the supreme international crime, or the plethora of other
offenses the U.S. has committed against the people of Iraq.
For there to be peace, the days of victors’ justice must end.