Posts

Bad Noose

It takes John Burns over five minutes in his audio recounting of the opprobrious hangings of Saddam's secret police chief and Potemkin magistrate to draw the obvious conclusion: these executions were death squad murders unwritten by the Iraqi regime.  Barzan … Read More

By / January 16, 2007

It takes John Burns over five minutes in his audio recounting of the opprobrious hangings of Saddam's secret police chief and Potemkin magistrate to draw the obvious conclusion: these executions were death squad murders unwritten by the Iraqi regime. 

Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, the former head of the Mukhabarat and also Saddam's half-brother, was dropped a full three feet too high, given his weight, to keep his head attached to his shoulders when the rope snapped taut. (Only blind luck kept Bandar's body in one piece.) There was ample information available to take the necessary precautions to ensure something like this didn't happen, and yet the Maliki government, in its swift scramble to the microphones to call this latest travesty a "mishap," mentioned the gruesome decapitation almost as an afterthought. Our bad. More calculated, however, must have been the dressing of the accused in bright orange jumpers reminiscent of the official garb of Guantanamo Bay inmates. (At least someone had the good sense to keep conical ghost outfit of the Abu Ghraib prisoners locked in the closet this time.) Also, cell phones and audio equipment were banished. The cell phones you can understand: let's avoid more YouTube and al Jazeera propagated snuff cinema. But the audio was a curious fatwah because if someone were actually to shout "Moqtada! Moqtada!" again, or otherwise verbally taunt the condemned, no one would ever know about it. Video of the hangings was exhibited only once to the press and will now be locked away in Baghdad, that is, until a U.N. investigation into these criminal proceedings tries to retrieve it — or whatever remains of it.

Condi Rice puts it mildly:

“I would be the first to say that we were disappointed that there was not greater dignity given to the accused under these circumstances,” she said, referring to Mr. Hussein’s execution and the two carried out Monday. “I think that passions run high after years of turmoil, under dictatorship, and that is apparently what happened. But it shouldn’t have happened and I think that it did not reflect well on the Iraqi government that it came out that way”.

It would be easier at this point to forego the courts entirely and just shoot ex-Baathists a few times each in the head and claim they all committed suicide.

Tagged with: