Skip to comments.Iraq Prosecutors Narrow Case vs. Saddam
Posted on 06/05/2005 7:12:50 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
By PAUL GARWOOD, Associated Press Writer 1 minute ago
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Saddam Hussein could face up to 500 charges, but prosecutors will focus on 12 well-documented cases, including the gassing of thousands of Kurds in northern Iraq, an official said Sunday as the government pressed ahead with efforts to start the trial of the ousted dictator within two months.
The announcement came a day after U.S. Marines said they had discovered 50 weapons and ammunitions caches over the past four days in the restive Anbar province. The find included a recently used "insurgent lair" in a massive underground bunker complex that included air-conditioned living quarters and high tech military equipment, including night vision goggles.
Separately, Australia's top Islamic cleric said he has seen hostage Douglas Wood and the 63-year-old California-based Australian engineer is "still alive and in honest hands" and has received vital medication for his heart condition. Sheik Taj El Din al-Hilaly is in Iraq on a mission to secure Wood's release.
South of Baghdad, Iraqi forces backed by U.S. troops staged a second day of raids in Latifiyah, a town in the blood-soaked Triangle of Death region, where insurgents have launched multiple bombings and deadly ambushes.
Washington hinges the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq on the ability of Iraq's American-backed police and army forces to take control of their own country's security. But the raging insurgency, which has seen at least 820 people killed since Iraq's new government was announced April 28, has dimmed hopes of any quick pullout of U.S. forces.
Gunmen in a speeding car opened fire on Iraqi security forces Sunday in eastern Baghdad, killing a policewoman and injuring a policeman, Col. Ahmed al-Alawi said. Police are routinely targeted by insurgents who regard them as U.S. collaborators.
An Internet statement purportedly from the terror group of Jordanian-born militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida in Iraq, also claimed responsibility for Saturday's suicide car bomb attack on an Iraqi police checkpoint on the Mosul-Tal Afar road in northern Iraq that killed two officers and wounded four. The claim could not be verified.
The insurgents' bunker was found cut from a rock quarry in Karmah, 50 miles west of Baghdad. The Marines said the facility was 170 yards wide and 275 yards long.
In its rooms were "four fully furnished living spaces, a kitchen with fresh food, two shower facilities and a working air conditioner. Other rooms within the complex were filled with weapons and ammunition," Saturday's announcement said.
The weapons included "numerous types of machine guns, ordnance, including mortars, rockets and artillery rounds, black uniforms, ski masks, compasses, log books, night vision goggles, and fully charged cell phones."
A date has not been set for the trial of Saddam, who has been held in a U.S.-run prison in Baghdad since being captured in December 2003.
But a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said the government was confident it would begin within the next two months.
"There should be no objection that a trial should take place within that time," spokesman Laith Kuba said at a press conference. "It is the government's view that the trial of Saddam should take place as soon as possible."
Kuba said prosecutors have narrowed their case against Saddam to focus on 12 charges, including the gassing of the Kurdish town of Halabja, where an estimated people were killed and another 10,000 injured on March 16, 1988.
Saddam could face more than 500 charges, but "there is no reason behind wasting efforts on all 500," Kuba said. "The number of charges on which he will be tried are 12 and the (investigating) judges are confident that he will be convicted of these charges."
Issam Ghazawi, a Jordan-based spokesman for Saddam's legal team, criticized Kuba's comments, saying: "It's illegal to issue charges against the Iraqi president this way."
"The appropriate channel is for the accusations to come through the court and for the lawyers to receive a copy of the indictment," he added.
Kuba did not list all 12 charges, but Saddam was arraigned July 1 in Baghdad on broad charges including the poisonous bombing of Halabja, killing rival politicians during his 30-year rule, invading Kuwait in 1990 and suppressing Kurdish and Shiite uprisings in 1991.
The Egyptian-born Australian cleric apparently met with Wood late last week, but he did not say where he saw the captive or give more details.
Wood was abducted in late April and a militant group calling itself the Shura Council of the Mujahedeen of Iraq released a DVD on May 1 showing him pleading for Australia to withdraw its 1,400 troops from Iraq. The Australian government has refused to bend to the demands regarding Wood, who suffers from a heart condition and requires regular medication.
"I swear that Mr. Douglas Wood is still alive and (is in) honest hands," al-Hilaly told Associated Press Television News at his Baghdad hotel. "They (the kidnappers) want others to listen to them. They are not against the Australian people."
Since arriving in Baghdad earlier this week, al-Hilaly has been airing what he says are the grievances of the kidnappers in an apparent bid to free Wood. He has been calling on U.S.-led forces to free Iraqi detainees and leave Iraq.
More than 200 foreigners have been taken hostage in Iraq; more than 30 of them were slain by their captors.
In this file image cleared by the US military, Saddam Hussein appears in a courtroom at Camp Victory, a former Saddam palace on the outskirts of Baghdad, July 1, 2004. Saddam Hussein could face up to 500 charges when he has his day in court, but will be tried on 12 well-documented counts because prosecuting him for all his crimes would be a 'waste of time,' the prime minister's spokesman said Sunday, June 5, 2005. (AP Photo/Karen Ballard/Pool)
Maybe he's been working out with a Quran in each hand.
<< .... a carefully examination pf his regime's history would reveal a lot of very embarrassing material about its relationship with .... both Democratic and Republican administrations in the US .... >>
You think we have been paying paintball games over there for the last 50 years?
For starters, for what were at the time judged valid strategic reasons the US backed one group of murderous thugs - the Iraqi Bathes - against another murderous group of thugs - the Iranian Mullahs.
While these guys were re-enacted WWI (complete with suicidal mass infantry charges and poison gas), we were providing a half dozen kinds of covert backing to "our" side to counter assistance provided to "their" side everyone involved has blood on their hands, up to their elbows.
This was bi-partisan policy, and we would probably do the same today.
But it wasn't pretty, and a lot of reputations - and some careers - would likely suffer if the story was examined in detail.
I was in and around and [Thank God] out of Iraq more than 60 times [And Teheran and other parts of Iran a score or so times] during the 8 years of the Iraq Iran War and can categorically state from my experience that your claim the United States backed one group of murderous thugs - the Iraqi [Ba'ath Party] - against another murderous group of thugs - the Iranian Mullahs" grossly misrepresents the truth.
You have, in any case, between posts, altered your argument from the ridiculous cause of my initial response, that careful "examination of his regime's history would reveal a lot of very embarrassing material about its relationship with Western governments, including both Democratic and Republican administrations in the US," to now suggest that America was responsible for the atrocities on both sides of that conflict.
And that there are, in the United States [Given your implication] "hundreds if not thousands of businesses and individuals who have a vested interest is seeing that he's tried and convicted for a narrow subset of the crimes he committed - and that he takes the rest of his secrets to the grave."
Had you confined your allegations to the likes of France and Germany and Russia and China and some others they had a whiff of truth but insofar as your employment of the well-flogged canard that the United states of America had involvement in and must take responsibility for any part of Sadam's bastardry, I will very comfortably stand by my first reponse to your first post.
And you really aught ponder my suggestion that Joseph Gobbels seems alive and well and lives in your mirror and that correlation is not causation.