The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'saddam hussein'


Spare a thought for Michael Jackson, found innocent of child abuse in a court of law but guilty of general creepiness in the court of public opinion; his recently released greatest-hits album has sold just 8,000 copies in its first week, a far cry from the zillions of copies of Thriller sold and even the relatively respectable two million copies of his last original album, Invincible. (Remember that one? Me neither.) Meanwhile, the former fans aren't the only ones who don't want to have anything to do with him:

"He came to me a month ago and I turned him down," [PR troubleshooter] Mr Clifford said. "It would be the hardest job in PR after Saddam Hussein and I would be astounded if he could turn things around. "People were extremely offended by even some of the things he admitted in court.
Meanwhile, Saddam Hussein, former dictator and bad novelist, has his own courtroom woes, with an unidentified man attacking him in the courtroom.

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Sunday photo feature #4: stencil art:

(Every Sunday, I put up a selection of photographs from my archive, taken between 2002 and now, with a specific theme or motif.)

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According to this article, the Kurds, not the US, captured Saddam Hussein; members of the al-Jabour tribe, one of whose daughters had been raped by Saddam's son Uday, betrayd him to the Kurdish Patriotic Front, who drugged him and left him in the famous "spider hole", which had been sealed to prevent his escape, and called the US to pick him up. In other words, he had no more chance of escaping from the US forces than one of the cage-raised birds Dick Cheney enjoys gunning down.

What is truly interesting is not just the US claim of capturing Saddam Hussein, but the claiming of an elaborate operation that ended successfully (much like the scripting of the rescue of Jessica Lynch). Not only did that elaborate operation not work (if it existed at all), but the Kurds had him trapped in a hole while the US got the media apparatus together for the "dramatic" events.
What is also worrisome, but not unexpected, is the virtual silence of the US and British press. ABC News Online was the only US-based news I found, and it was a copy of the Agence French Press report.

(via jwz)

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Arch-terrorist supervillain Saddam Hussein captured; he was found hiding in a "spider-hole" under a farmhouse, during an operation named after a 1980s teen Soviet-invasion movie. It is still not clear whether he'll face trial in Iraq or be spirited off to Guantanamo or somewhere.

Meanwhile, war skeptic and Scottish lefty scifi writer Charlie Stross thinks that the capture of Saddam may be a turning point, and not in a good way; with the Beast of Baghdad safely in a cage, the various Iraqi factions' main concern now may be the US occupation:

Saying "ding dong, the wicked witch is in custody" is a dangerously naive reaction to this kind of news. By way of a thought experiment, I suspect a good metaphor is this: imagine it's November 1945, and Adolf Hitler has been dug out of a cellar, alive, in the US occupied sector of Germany, where he has been coordinating sporadic resistance attacks. He goes on trial at Nuremburg and is in due course sentenced to hang. What, sixty years later, would his historical record have been like? And more importantly, what, twenty years later, might the German people have made of a leader who put up a spirited defense in a kangaroo court, rather than taking the coward's way out of the consequences of his actions by shooting himself?

I wonder whether they can afford to put Saddam on open trial, either in Iraq or elsewhere, for this reason and because of incriminating revelations he could make.

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U.S. forces release graphic pictures of Saddam Hussein's sons' corpses, killed in a recent attack. The pictures have been described as "grisly". However, refusing to look at them or expressing disgust at the spectacle may cast doubt on your loyalties.

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The statue of Saddam Hussein which was toppled by the newly-liberated Iraqi public a Whitehouse-backed warlord and his militia has now been replaced by a new statue of Ronald McDonald a symbolic Iraqi family holding aloft a crescent moon (representing Islam) and sun (representing the ancient Sumerian civilisation).

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Remember the Iraqi secret documents proving that bolshy anti-war MP George Galloway was a traitor in the pay of Saddam? Well, it now looks like they're highly dubious. (via NWD)

A scrawl claimed to be Mr Galloway's signature on "receipts" has no similarity to his real one. The operation, revealed by the Mail on Sunday, also threw up glaring misspellings of Iraqi officers' names and mistakes in the title of Saddam's son Qusay, also said to have signed the document.

The documents were offered for sale by a former Republican Guard General. What is the world coming to if you can't trust the Iraqi Republican Guard?

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Documents have allegedly emerged in the ruins of Iraqi government buildings proving that a left-wing British parliamentarian was on Saddam Hussein's payroll. The documents suggest that Labour MP George Galloway, an outspoken critic of the war best known for vehemently denouncing Tony Blair as a "war criminal", was receiving £375,000 a year from Baghdad for his services. Apparently, this princely sum was still not enough for Galloway, who was asking for more. Galloway has denied the allegations and is planning to sue the Daily Telegraph for libel. Blair is confident that the papers are genuine; Galloway's supporters claim they're part of a smear campaign, and cite the case of forged papers "proving" Iraqi uranium purchases, now discredited.

I wonder whether the usual liberal-bashers will run these allegations, citing them as proof that the anti-war movement were Saddam's dupes.

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Iraqi President Saddam Hussein today told investigators he is not developing nuclear or biological weapons, but instead has been doing research for a book on weapons of mass destruction he hopes to see published next year. Hussein, whose palaces were recently searched by the United Nations as part of an ongoing investigation, said he always been strongly opposed to such weapons, and believes he was a victim of weapons of mass destruction during his childhood.

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A number of young idealists are on their way to Baghdad to act as "human shields", lending their moral authority to defend the peaceful Iraqi state against US imperialist aggression. As one guitar-wielding peacenik says, "Baghdad is probably the most peaceful, mellow place I've ever been in my life. Everybody is so laid-back it's unbelievable." Though this neglects the fact that Saddam Hussein's regime is monstrously brutal, with a shocking record of torture and murder.

According to Amnesty International the regime was busily torturing and executing various enemies, real and imagined. Eyes were being gouged, tongues ripped out and heads cut off. The torture of political detainees, said Amnesty, "generally takes place in the headquarters of the General Security Directorate in Baghdad or in its branches in Baghdad".

Now it could well be that Amnesty International has been infiltrated by Dubya's disinformation operatives (perhaps via Phony Blair's "Nu Labour" government) and turned into a pro-US propaganda engine, with their strident denunciations of US capital punishment and racism merely acting to lull bleeding-hearted Guardian readers into a false sense of trust and get them to swallow the bigger lie; it could be, but I doubt it.

This Iraq war is a sordid affair. On one hand, Saddam Hussein is a monster. (Not even the most delusional Marxist could argue that he's the leader of a liberation movement... well, maybe the Spartacists could, but everybody knows they're barking mad.) I doubt that there's much support given to him by the Iraqi people that's not the result of blind fear of what happens if they don't. On the other hand, the Saudis are just as bad, by all accounts, but they're Our Allies so it's OK. And pretending that the US invasion of Iraq will be all about giving a helping hand to the poor downtrodden Iraqi people (who happen to be sitting on one of the biggest, and most strategically important, oil fields in the world) stinks of hypocrisy. Given that the US is reportedly considering pocketing Iraqi oil to pay for its occupation (how fortunate that those poor Iraqis have this means of repaying their benefactors!) adds to suspicions that it's all about oil.

OTOH, the "peace activists" who plan to go to Baghdad to act as human shields for a murderous regime just because it opposes the US don't seem to be the sharpest knives in the drawer. In fact, they make student-newspaper pro-Cuban apologists (whose ability to excuse away the apparatus of totalitarianism as a higher form of freedom never fails to amaze) look like mature and well-reasoned political commentators.

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As the Second Gulf War approaches, there is debate on where to try Saddam Hussein. The US want an international tribunal, though there is apparently a growing consensus for him to be tried in Iraq under Iraqi law (though presumably they'd have to rewrite Iraqi law significantly; I suspect that rule of law is somewhat ad hoc over there. Unless by "Iraqi law" they mean the whims of whoever is in power, in which case perhaps they can take him to Texas and let George Jr. pull the switch personally.)

(Personally, I still like the idea of parading Saddam around the malls of America as a trophy, at least for aesthetic reasons. Perhaps they will briefly tour him around Australia afterwards as a reward for our loyalty. Well, that and put a plaque honouring the Bali victims in the playground of the Baghdad McDonalds.)

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First he stole American childrens' Christmas PlayStations, and now that Saddam Hussein rotter has pissed off the US again: by unconditionally agreeing to arms inspections, robbing Bush and Blair of the pretext for an invasion. The US representative doesn't seem at all happy with this, and still hopes to have a jolly good war soon.

Bartlett called the Iraqi offer a tactic aimed at giving "false hope to the international community that he (Saddam) means business this time".

If the US wanted to resolve the issue through negotiation, it would at least adopt the polite fiction that Iraq is an honorable participant in diplomacy, in the hope that Iraq behaves like one and progress can be made. Though the US seems to be spoiling for a fight, at any excuse.

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Far-out rumour of the day: Is Saddam buying up PlayStation 2 consoles to convert to supercomputers and missile guidance systems, neatly bypassing the UN embargo on computer sales (which doesn't count video game systems) and striking the infidels where it hurts -- with a pre-Xmas video game shortage? (via Slashdot)

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