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Kucinich Calls for Investigation into the Torture and Murder of Iraqi Detainees by Iraqi Forces

Washington D.C. (October 30, 2010) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is calling upon President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to create an independent, international and transparent investigation into the torture and murder of Iraqi detainees by Iraqi forces after leaked documents revealed that the scope of mistreatment of detainees and the death of civilians in Iraq was far greater that previously reported.

“It is imperative that the United States demonstrate leadership and accountability for its actions. I am calling for the U.S. to work with our allies in Iraq and participate in an independent, international and transparent investigation into the torture and murder of Iraqi detainees by Iraqi forces. It is also imperative that the Department of Defense’s complete documentation of all civilian causalities that have occurred since the beginning of the war in March 2003 is released….

“The U.S. must also work to prevent such instances from occurring again. The people of Iraq have incurred unimaginable harm from a war that was justified using false intelligence. We have a legal and moral obligation to ensure the protection of all Iraqi civilians and to fully account for all civilian deaths that have occurred as result of our actions,” wrote Kucinich.

Read the full letter here.

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I hope that Dennis Kucinich realizes that the US was very responsible for this torture of Iraqi detainees. It was committed under US occupation, the US was the dominant power, the Iraqi government was very much puppet, and the US definitely knew, as well as aided and abetted the torture committed by the Iraqi government's prison "guards". Dennis Kucinich et al should read articles like those I refer to further below when commenting about "The Badr Corps ..." as a comment related to Robert Dreyfuss's article further below.

And there's something that's also more immediately urgent for him to work on in the Congress. He and other members of Congress, as well as all Americans, need to urgently work to stop the death sentence against Tariq Aziz to death, who is innocent, and a highly important witness to crimes of the US. And Dennis Kucinich et al also need to work for his prisoner rights, which apparently are better respected now that he's held by the Iraqi government, after the US handed him over this past summer. All of his rights were denied by the US and now he's regained at least some of his important rights.

"Iraq's Tareq Aziz on hunger strike: son"
by AFP, Oct. 29th, 2010

AMMAN — Ailing former Iraqi deputy premier Tareq Aziz, sentenced to death for murder and crimes against humanity, has gone on hunger strike, his son said on Friday.

"My father and 25 other prisoners have been on a hunger strike since yesterday (Thursday)," Ziad Aziz said in the Jordanian capital Amman where he lives.

"They are protesting because they could not receive the only monthly visit from friends and relatives set for the last Friday of each month," he said.

On Tuesday, Iraq's supreme criminal court found the long-time international face of the Saddam Hussein regime guilty of "deliberate murder and crimes against humanity," sentencing him to death.

Ziad Aziz said his father and the other prisoners were still at the site of the court in Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone and had not been transferred back to prison where they could have received their monthly visit.

"The authorities are using the excuse that the security resources necessary for accompanying their convoy are otherwise occupied because of the death in prison of Ibrahim Abdul Sattar," Saddam's former armed forces chief of staff.

"My father has not been able to receive a visit from our friends, who were going to take him medicines, magazines and books that we sent him from Amman," the younger Aziz said.

"He will now have to wait until the end of November to get his medicine, which is unacceptable."

Aged 74 and in poor health, Aziz has been in prison since surrendering in April 2003, a month after the US-led invasion of Iraq.

I don't know what Tariq Aziz did, but doubt that he can legitimately be convicted of or for murder, and I've never heard or read of him having been criminal; not from any articles by respectable, reliable sources or writers anyway.

Sounds sort of or, rather, very much like the way the US used the ICC to murder former President Slobodan Milosevic.

"Save Tariq Aziz!"
by Robert Dreyfuss,, Oct. 29th, 2010

Lots of people have weighed in to condemn the planned execution of Tariq Aziz, (linked) the former Iraqi official who was condemned to death this week, including the Vatican, Russia, and Amnesty International. Let me add my voice to theirs.

The hanging judge (linked) in this particular kangaroo court is a former aide to Prime Minister Maliki, who ran for election on Maliki’s misnamed State of Law coalition. It’s clear that Maliki wants to use the execution of Tariq Aziz, a Roman Catholic, to build support for his party among the most extreme Shiite partisans. ...

Anyone who dealt with Iraq from the 1970s through 2003 knows that Tariq Aziz shouldn’t be put to death for crimes committed during the Saddam Hussein era. As a civilian official, he was often a moderating voice within Iraqi councils, including during the first Gulf War in 1990-91, and he certainly wasn’t responsible for internal repression by the secret police. The biggest irony in the whole affair is that the very people who’ve condemned him to death, led by functionaries of the secretive, Islamic fundamentalist Dawa party led by Prime Minister Maliki, are themselves responsible for atrocities at least on the scale of the repression visited on the Shiites and Kurds in the old Iraq.

al-Maliki is probably, if not definitely, worse. I'm not sure, but doubt that Saddam Hussein used extremely murderous death squads to covertly murder, assassinate Iraqis who were not appreciative, say, of his government; while al-Maliki has presided over such death squads in the assassination of [many] Iraqis opposed to the criminal foreign occupation of their country and the US's puppet regime government in Iraq. Saddam Hussein certainly never presided over covert political and murderous efforts to try to cause Iraqi civil or sectarian war, but al-Maliki has been doing this. Saddam, and this importantly included during the criminal and genocidal sanctions against Iraq, saw to it that sewage and unsafe drinking water problems were not present, but al-Maliki continues to preside over extreme deterioration of these necessities. Nouri al-Maliki is much more criminal than Saddam Hussein was, and people need to keep in mind that the so-called 1988 genocide of Kurds never happened, though many westerners don't want to give up that myth. People should also remember that Saddam Hussein was not sectarian. His government had [many] Shi'ite members, as well as non-Muslim members, as well as plenty of female members; but al-Maliki and his party are aligned with theocratic Iranian power elites, the Ayatollah et al, and I haven't heard or read of any Iraqi women making up the present (puppet) government in Iraq.

There are non-Shi'ites in the government, but the extremist Shi'ites want to be the most powerful group. Not all Shi'ites in the government are extremists and it was a Shi'ite Iraqi judge who had been presiding over the trial of Saddam Hussein in the month of September before he was put to death by (accidental?) decapitation, and this judge had to (covertly) be replaced by the US for there to be a US-compliant judge, because the former one was finding that Saddam Hussein could not be convicted of at least some of the heaviest charges against him, including the mythical genocide of Kurds in 1988.

In any case, al-Maliki is more criminal than Saddam Hussein was. Both governments have the flaw of practicing torture, but Saddam Hussein surely never imprisoned and tortured anywhere as many Iraqis as we have during this US-puppet government in Iraq and which al-Maliki has been PM of for a few or more years now.

Robert Dreyfuss continued:

Since taking over in Baghdad in 2003, the Shiite majority has been responsible for tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths, carried out by Shiite death squads under the command of the Badr Corps, the militia of the former Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Sadrist Mahdi Army, now allied to Maliki’s political bloc, and by Dawa fanatics, too, who helped run infamous prisons in Iraq where many innocent Sunnis were tortured or killed. It should be noted that in 1980, soon after becoming Iraq’s deputy prime minister, assassins from Dawa, backed by Iran, threw a grenade that almost killed Aziz and did kill a number of others. At the time, the new regime of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran was bent on expanding its power by toppling the government of Iraq, and Dawa — which had been responsible for other terrorist acts in Iraq, too, over the years — helped raise tensions that provoked the eight-year Iran - Iraq was that began in September 1980.

The Badr Corps has been part of the death squads "business", but Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army? I have doubts about that, but posted links and excerpts for the topic of death squads and covert "black" ops earlier this week here. See posts #2, 3 and 4 in the following page.

Post #2 is mainly some comments on torture and based on the AlJazeera video reports I posted links for in post #1, but #2 ends with an article on death squads, which is all post #3 is about. Post #3 has a few articles on death squads and then ends with links for two online documentaries on this topic. Post #4 is about US and UK covert "black" ops in Iraq. The posts also say where additional related articles are easily found.

Regarding the 1980s history that Robert Dreyfuss wrote about, above, what he therein says certainly seems to be very credible.

He continued:

A spokesman for the Vatican, Federico Lombardi, said, "We really want the sentence against Tariq Aziz not to be carried out." Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, warned that killing Aziz "will only worsen the situation in Iraq." Part of the reason why Iraq wants him dead, and why the United States hasn’t intervened (linked) on his behalf, is that Aziz reportedly plans to spill secrets about Iraq’s diplomacy (linked) over the decades that he served as foreign minister, including American contacts with Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, when Washington tilted to favor Baghdad over Tehran.

Aziz, whose been in prison since 2003 after surrendering to US forces,is frail, ill, and harmless, and he's someone who has a lot of history to tell. He can appeal his sentence, adn his execution can be avoided. But given Maliki's desperate scramble to hold onto his job, it's looking like Aziz will be a human sacrifice.

"Tariq Aziz faces judicial murder in Iraq"
by Bill Van Auken,, Oct. 28th, 2010


Aziz, for decades Iraq’s chief diplomatic representative on the world stage, voluntarily turned himself in to the US military in 2003. He apparently trusted that his long-standing international reputation — including his diplomatic relations with successive US administrations — would protect him.

Instead, the ailing 74-year-old has been subjected to more than seven years of solitary confinement, first by American military jailers at Camp Cropper, near Baghdad’s international airport, and, more recently, by Iraqi security forces. When US occupation forces turned Aziz over to the Iraqi government last July he confided to his lawyer, "I am sure they are going to kill me."

Previously, Aziz had been sentenced to a combined prison term of 22 years on allegations that he was involved in the execution of merchants accused of price-gouging during the US-UN embargo of Iraq and in the suppression of Kurdish opposition in the north of the country.

The jail term represented a de facto life sentence, given that Aziz is in poor health, suffering from strokes and lung disease while in prison and undergoing an operation for a blood clot in his brain last January.

In the latest decision, the former foreign minister has been sentenced to death for the Ba’athist regime’s crackdown in the 1980s on Shi’ite Islamists, including the Da'wa party. Supporters of the party carried out a series of Iranian-backed terrorist attacks during that period, including attempted assassinations of both Aziz and Saddam Hussein. ...

The tribunal that handed down these sentences was created by a decree issued under the US occupation’s Coalition Provisional Authority for the purpose of trying members of the Ba’athist government that the US invasion overthrew. Its staff was handpicked and paid by the US Embassy in Baghdad. From its inception, this kangaroo court has employed the crudest methods of "victors’ justice."

The man who will probably sign Aziz’s death warrant is Iraq’s caretaker prime minister, Nur al-Maliki, the leading figure in the Da’wa Party, while the judge who issued the sentence, Mahmud Saleh al-Hasan, is a member of Maliki’s Shi’ite political bloc, the State of Law Coalition.

Aziz went through his multiple trials largely without any legal representation, as lawyers who dared to defend him were threatened with death by Shi’ite militias linked to the US-backed regime.

Essentially, he was found guilty of the crimes of Saddam Hussein’s secret police by virtue of his representation of the Iraqi government as the country’s chief diplomat. Those familiar with the workings of the Ba’athist regime dispute this logic, pointing out that Aziz was never part of the inner circle that controlled the security forces, drawn largely from Hussein’s Tikrit-based clan.

There is no small irony in Aziz being sentenced to death for religious-based persecution. Born in 1936 to an impoverished Christian family in northern Iraq, Aziz was drawn into nationalist politics in his 20s, working for the overthrow of the British-backed monarchy. Like many of the radicalized young people of the Arab world of his generation, he believed that nationalist revolution could liberate the region from the legacy of colonialism, including the ethno-religious divisions exacerbated by the divide-and-rule methods of European imperialism.

The Iraqi political forces overseeing his trial are linked to militias implicated in the massive sectarian-based bloodletting provoked by the US occupation. Iraq’s Christian population has been decimated, and the possibility that someone born a Christian like Aziz could assume a prominent post in the current regime is absolutely nil.

More fundamentally, however, the court and the regime itself are creations of a criminal war and occupation carried out by US imperialism. The death sentence was dictated from Washington.

While the European Union has declared the death sentence decreed against Tariq Aziz "unacceptable" and the Vatican and several European governments have called for clemency, the Obama administration has maintained a guilty silence (my emphasis).


More fundamentally, Aziz’s long diplomatic career places him in a unique position to expose the criminal record of US imperialism in relation to Iraq. It was he who first received Donald Rumsfeld (Bush’s defense secretary at the time of the 2003 invasion) when he was sent in 1983 as a special envoy of the Reagan administration to offer US support to Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war.

He was at the center of the diplomatic maneuvers between Washington and Baghdad that preceded the first Gulf War, when the US ambassador in Baghdad, April Glaspie, gave what amounted to a green light for Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which in turn provided the casus belli for a massive intervention by the US military in the Persian Gulf.

He could further expose the way in which Washington systematically rejected evidence that Iraq had no "weapons of mass destruction" and sabotaged every attempt to prevent the war it launched in 2003.


It is for this reason that the international working class should oppose the execution of Tariq Aziz and demand his immediate release. ...

"Aziz's story will remain untold"
by Pepe Escobar, Asia Times,, Oct. 27th, 2010


Aziz, born Mikhael Yuhann in 1936 in Mosul, a Chaldean Christian - the only one in the former Sunni and secular Ba'athist inner circle, its worldwide-known "human face" - holder of a degree in English language and literature, is already serving a 15-year sentence for a series of killings of 42 tradesmen in 1992 plus a further seven-year sentence for his alleged role in the deportation of Iraqi Kurds during the Saddam Hussein era. No Western court would admit what was presented as evidence showed that he was personally involved in both crimes.

The European Union (EU) at least is being true to its chart (the death penalty is "unacceptable"); the EU's foreign representative, Catherine Ashton, will appeal to Baghdad to block the execution. Aziz's defense will appeal to the Vatican - which also condemns it. Italian radical leader Marco Pannella has started a hunger strike to denounce it.


His is the ultimate political best-seller we'll never be able to read - telling for instance how the US, the United Kingdom and the Saudis shelled out over $60 billion for Iraq to go to war with Iran during the 1980s; what was really discussed between Saddam, himself and former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld in Baghdad when they met in 1983; how every Western politician paid homage at the court of Saddam - the man who would get rid of those demented ayatollahs; how Saddam beat the late ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's human waves of martyrs by spraying them with Western-supplied chemical weapons; and how those fabled "weapons of mass destruction" were nowhere to be seen since 1995 at least - thus rendering George W Bush's and Tony Blair's casus belli null and void.


Iraqi forces used chemical or bio. weapons during combat against Iranian forces in Iraq in 1988, but, and according to the person who was CIA station chief there at the time, it's the Iranian chemical gas that killed Kurds; the Iranians having used a deadly nerve gas, while Iran didn't, and the killed Kurds who died because of being gassed were killed with a nerve gas. According to an article that I read a copy of a few years ago at and by the or one of the lawyers, an American or European, who served as a defense lawyer for Saddam Hussein during his trial, the Iraqi forces had used mustard gas and there was no proof of genocide of Kurds; nothing nearing 188,000 Kurds killed, as many people have repeatedly and falsely tried to "remind" us of. Some mass graves were found, but the total body count from these was somewhere between 5,000 to 7,000 and they were mostly Kurdish Peshmerga, who had been fighting alongside Iranian forces in Iraq. So even if they had been killed by Iraqi forces, then it would not be definable or categorizable as genocide, since they clearly were combatants fighting against the Iraqi government's forces inside of Iraq.

Ray McGovern recently published a piece saying some of this, definitely saying that it was the Iranian gas that killed Kurds who were killed due to gas having been used as a weapon, anyway.

"Young Neocon Writes and Talks War on Iran"
by Ray McGovern, Aug. 13th, 2010

I guess I was naïve in thinking that The Atlantic and its American-Israeli writer Jeffrey Goldberg might shy away from arguing for yet another war - this one with Iran - while the cauldrons are still boiling in Afghanistan and Iraq. Even world-class chutzpah must have its limits, I thought.

I was reflecting on the bizarre ways in which Goldberg helped to make the case for the US invasion of Iraq. For instance, on October 3, 2002, ....


Even earlier, on March 25, 2002, Goldberg filled the pages of The New Yorker with a mammoth 17,000-word story hyping Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's ties to terrorism and glossing over the ambiguities regarding the gassing of civilians in the Kurdish city of Halabja during the Iran-Iraq war.

Goldberg's magnum opus, entitled "The Great Terror," (linked) earned him high marks from other neocons and essentially "made" his career. The story was also made to order, so to speak, to support the efforts of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to paint Saddam as a ruthless dictator who had to be removed.


Who Gassed?

For instance, the fact that many civilians were gassed as Iraqi and Iranian forces clashed on March 16, 1988, in the area of Halabja, just barely inside Iraq's border with Iran, is beyond dispute. However, what is not clear is the blockbuster charge that it was the Iraqis, rather than the Iranians, who used the deadly chemical warfare agents. The US government has pointed the finger in both directions, often depending on which side of the conflict Washington was tilting toward.

A joint CIA and Defense Intelligence assessment focused in on the "blood agents" (cyanogen chloride) deemed responsible for most of the deaths in Halabja and determined that the Iraqis had no history of using those particular agents, but that the Iranians did.

That particular CIA-DIA report concluded that, despite the conventional wisdom, "the Iranians perpetrated this attack." Dr. Stephen Pelletiere, a senior CIA analyst on Iraq during its war with Iran, told Roger Trilling of the Village Voice that he is one among many who believe that Goldberg's account of the killings at Halabja was wrong and that the issue was far from academic.

Pelletiere said: "We say Saddam is a monster, a maniac who gassed his own people and the world shouldn't tolerate him. But why? Because that's the last argument the US has for going to war with Iraq."

It may well have been the most emotionally riveting argument, I suppose.


My point for the following article is what it says regarding Tariq/Tareq Aziz and whether it's Iraq or Iran that fatally gassed the Kurds in 1988. The other articles in this post are about the present death sentence against him and the need to prevent this from being carried out.

"Adnan Mirza: Another US War on Terror Victim"
by Stephen Lendman, Oct. 29th, 2010

Post-9/11, Mirza is one of legions of war on terror victims - framed, charged, indicted, tried and convicted on bogus terrorism related charges.


Khadr is one of many others lawlessly treated, Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights calling his plea:


Imagine, trying to make a 15-year old look like "a really bad guy and guilty. The Khadr case is one of the most disgusting chapters in a post-9/11 detention system that should have long ago been relegated to a trash bin."

Though little consolation, he'll fare better than former Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz, the US puppet Maliki government sentencing him to death by hanging, the same barbarism dealt other Saddam Hussein officials, himself included.

As foreign minister, Aziz was a diplomat, who voluntarily surrendered in 2003, believing his credentials and reputation protected him. Instead, though aging and ill, he spent seven years in solitary confinement, most recently in Iraqi custody. In total charge, Washington ordered his hanging, more victor's justice following kangaroo court proceedings during which he had no legal representation, the verdict a fait accompli to assure truths he knows are buried. (my emphasis added)

Last August, in his only prison interview, Aziz told the London Guardian:

"We are all victims of America and Britain. They killed our country." He's next, joining millions of other Iraqis for nearly two decades, casualties of one of history's greatest crimes, unpunished and ongoing.

On October 26, The New York Times gave a contemptuous account of his case, calling him a "staunch" regime defender, saying he lived in a "magnificent villa," who turned himself in for his own safety.

On October 25, The Times was dismissive about Khdar, saying nothing about torture or America's illegal war and occupation, only (as a concluding afterthought) that "child soldiers are almost never prosecuted for war crimes. That meant that the coverage of Mr. Khadr's case around the world (but not in America) was dominated by persistent questions about whether the case was appropriate." It was lawless and "disgusting," what no Times account suggested.

Welcome to the unchanging Times, NYT, and, sadly, also times; times during which the superpowered imperialist and economic elites of the US and their western ilk "brothers and sisters" reign like hell on Earth, including with the use of their extension called the corporate "news" media.

Fortunately, we still have many humans who are like light beacons or lit candles, and a few are also lamp lighters (aka whistleblowers).

For the following article, the Arab Herald writer states an awfully low number for Iraqis killed due to this war, but it's otherwise good and it quotes some of the words from the letter by Felicity Arbuthnot and Tony Benn linked further below. This is the first time I've heard or read of the Arab Herald, which is "administered by Midwest Radio Network from offices in Sydney, Australia", according to the "About Us" page.

"Pope says Iraq wrong to hang Tariq Aziz
Vatican urging Iraq not to hang former Deputy Prime Minister Tariz Aziz"

by Arab Herald,, Oct. 27th, 2010

"Letter to His Holiness Pope Benedict XIV: "So Much Blood has been Spilt in Iraq"
Save The Life of Tariq Aziz"

by Felicity Arbuthnot and Tony Benn, Oct. 26th, 2010

An Open Letter :

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI,

His Grace The Archbishop of Canterbury,
His Grace the Archbishop of Westminster,

The Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon., David Cameron,
The Deputy Prime Minister, The Rt., Hon., Nick Clegg,
The Foreign Secretary, The Rt. Hon., William Hague.

Your Holiness, Your Graces, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary,


Please act now.

Time is running out. If it does and you have done nothing, in spite of your collective influence and contacts, his body will lie at your feet, throughout your lives. Further, any lack of action, which results in another lynching, will impose that horror on any citizen of conscience, since we are, so we are told, a democracy. We beseech you to act.

Today we were warned of a real danger of a terrorist attack; we have already committed uncountable acts of terrorism - please do not let us be a party to another, which, with the will, is wholly preventable.

Yours sincerely,

Felicity Arbuthnot, journalist, human rights Correspondent, Global Research

Tony Benn, Veteran former British MP, author, CND founder

The whole letter is short and good, but I only wanted to show who the letter was specifically addressed to, as well as what it says at the end.

They wrote, "Today we were warned of a real danger of a terrorist attack". What real danger from what terrorist attack or hypothetical/theoretical terrorist attack? Might that have anything to do with the "Bomb discovery underscores threat from Yemen, al-Qaeda: US official", "Suspicious packages found on cargo planes", and "Obama calls British, Saudi leaders about bomb plot" (by the AP) articles headlined in the home page of the Those are dated Oct. 29th and 30th, but I haven't read any of them yet and maybe they're about "findings" of earlier this week. And it's surely about another US-UK manufactured false alert. Heh, the elections will be happening very shortly, so this, as has been the case a number of times over the past decade, is a "good" time for another "convenient" manufactured alert, scare. And it's Halloween weekend, too, so [hollow]-eeny Washington wants to scare us this weekend.

The following letter was to "Foreign Secretary, The Rt. Hon., William Hague".

"Letter to Foreign Secretary William Hague Regarding Tariq Aziz Death Sentence"

by Felicity Arbuthnot, Oct. 28th, 2010

And the next letter is solely by Felicity Arbuthnot, but the body of it looks very identical to the letter by her and Tony Benn linked further above.

"Open Letter about the death sentence of Tareq Aziz
"Please act now. Time is running out""

by Felicity Arbuthnot, undated

Anyway, the Pope and Vatican surely have no power over this or any other imperialist and economic elite agendas, but it can't hurt to make a fervent request for the death sentence against Tariq Aziz to be dropped. It's the least that needs to be done. But it sadly won't be possible for the Pope and Vatican to influence the war-making imperialist and economic elites; or I certainly doubt they'd comply with Vatican requests that are good and right, anyway. Former Pope John Paul II very well opposed the threat of war on Iraq, having done all he could be expected to do, and this did not effect anything; although, it did permit learning that nearly 40% of American Catholics preferred to support their lying Washington war makers and bullshit "news" media.

"Tariq Aziz, Sentenced to Death
Former deputy PM of Saddam Hussein issued with execution order by high tribunal for persecution of Islamic parties"

by, Oct. 26th, 2010


Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh, reporting from Baghdad, said that the charges against Aziz are related to a crackdown on an uprising led by Shia Muslim parties in the early 1990s.

"Among them was the party of Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, who at that time carried out an attempted coup against Saddam Hussein," she said.

Aziz, 74, was at the centre of explaining Iraq's policy in the months leading up to the first Gulf War after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, and in the years after as Iraq faced sanctions and arms inspections.


The Iraqi high tribunal was set up in 2003 to try former members of Saddam's rule.

"Aziz's lawyers have 30 days to present an appeal. The court then has another 30 days to look into that appeal," Rageh said.

"Assuming his appeal is turned down there are 30 more days before the death penalty would be carried out."

'Irrational and wrong'

Badee' Aref, Aziz's lawyer, told Al Jazeera that from a legal perspective the sentence was "unreasonable, irrational and wrong".


"It is an invalid sentence from both legal and ethical perspectives. I don't recognise this court because it sentenced Saddam Hussein to death and all the decisions it took are void because they are based on murder and assassination."

Aref said that the timing of the sentence was aimed at diverting attention away from crimes that happened in Iraq that were outlined by WikiLeaks on Saturday.


"Before the court passes any death sentences it informs us a month before the date of the sentence. They didn't this time," Aref said.

"I was told by my sources inside the court that three of the judges do not approve of the sentence and were forced to sign it."


Poor health

Aziz was brought to trial on April 29, 2008 and accused of signing an order for the execution of 42 merchants who allegedly manipulated food prices in July 1992 at the height of the country's economic downturn under UN sanctions. He has denied the charges.

Prosecutors had also hoped that Aziz, who is a Christian, would testify against Saddam, but the former foreign minister refused to condemn his one-time boss and continued to refer to him as "the president".

Aziz's family say his health has deteriorated considerably since he suffered a stroke prior to the US invasion. Senior members of Iraq's Assyrian Church have called on US forces to release him.

His lawyer confirmed that he was in poor health and in deep shock and astonishment.

"The sentence was a big blow to him and he is still under the effect of the shock, a matter that could end his life before he is executed."

On March 11, 2009 an Iraqi court found him guilty of the July 1992 executions and handed him a 15-year sentence.

The US elites will be glad he's dead whether he dies due to the stress or anxiety this treatment is causing him, or being forcibly put to death.

Why did they make sure he's been held in solitary confinement for seven years; to ensure that he wouldn't tell other detainees of everything he knows and which is highly incriminating for US elites? We don't need that information to be able to indict and sentence them to prison for the rest of their lives, but he nevertheless and clearly is a very important witness to extreme criminality of US elites.

The article a little further below and by two British Christian ministers and a Major General is short, but it packs some real western propaganda; lies, distortions, in short, bullshit. The three co-authors of the letter correctly don't hold Tariq Aziz responsible for:

1) the suffering of Iraqis during the sanction years, the lack of medicine and medical equipment, which they claim were being held in warehouses by Saddam Hussein's government;

2) the crimes Saddam Hussein was convicted; and

3) Saddam Hussein's "indiscriminate use of the death penalty".

But the three co-authors are wrong vis-a-vis Saddam Hussein. It's the sanctions that the US criminally imposed through the criminally complicit UNSC that were responsible for the suffering of Iraqis during 1990-2003. What crimes was Saddam Hussein really convicted for, for he certainly wasn't responsible for genociding Kurds, who weren't genocided anyway, but it was Iran's deadly nerve gas that killed Kurds who had died because of being gassed in 1988. And the West is damn hellbent hypocrite, for the US indiscriminately, despotically, ... applies the death penalty; on Americans, as well as by murdering many millions of people worldwide. And allies of the US are complicit, and sometimes do the killing with the US being involved only in political terms, politically backing its allies in their crimes.

"Letters: West must oppose Tariq Aziz execution"

by Rt Rev Peter B Price Bishop of Bath and Wells, Rt Rev Colin Bennets Bishop of Coventry (1998-2008), and Major General Tim Cross (Retired)
Oct. 28th, 2010

All those three people need to do was to simply and cleanly call for the death sentence against Tariq Aziz to be dropped. They did not need to repeat western propaganda of deception.

The article by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach, below, provides very important historical information while also explaining how this history actually is relevant today with respect to the threats of war on Iran. It's about talks held between Tariq Aziz and James Baker III shortly before the first war of the US on Iraq launched in 1990. We learn that President GHW Bush was most definitely determined to war on Iraq and that he was highly responsible for Iraq's invasion in order to then use this pretext to gain Congressional approval for war against the Iraqi forces. Covertly, the US arranged for Kuwait to commit was basically was an act of war against Iraq based on an extreme economic threat to or for Iraq. James Baker essentially admitted this later on; having said that Iraq was literally set up for US war against Iraq. And it was for the US to make Israel the dominant military power in the Middle East; by far the dominant power.

And the article is also related to potential war on Iran, today; and based a set of August 20th, 2010 statements from the White House administration is related. On August 20th, the Obama administration basically told or asked Israel to wait another year before striking Iran. And "Tariq Aziz represents a valuable asset in the effort to stop a new war", if he was freed, which'd require that citizens of the world unite in demanding that he be freed. He could then "speak out and educate world public opinion on what the nature of the Great Game in the region has been over the past three decades at least".

"America's "Justice" in Occupied Iraq: Why Tariq Aziz Should Be Released"

by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach, Sept. 16th, 2010

The appearance on August 5 of an interview with former Iraqi diplomat Dr. Tariq Aziz in the Guardian was a minor bombshell, whose repercussions were to be felt worldwide. Like an underground explosion, the interview sent waves throughout international waters, rocking many boats and reaching far distant shores. It was not only what the former top Iraqi diplomat said -- although his brief statements were of utmost relevance -- but the mere fact that he was allowed to speak out in public, which sent eerie signals across international diplomatic circuits.


Who Is Tariq Aziz?


But, to stick to Desert Storm, the first direct Anglo-American assault on the country: Dr. Tariq could lay out step by step how the war preparations were perceived in Baghdad. After all, he was the one delegated by Saddam Hussein to meet with then-Secretary of State James Baker III in Geneva, ostensibly in a last-ditch attempt to avoid war. What appeared in the world press following that fateful January 9, 1991 meeting was the news that Baker III had threatened Aziz that, unless Iraq withdrew from Kuwait toute suite, his country would be "bombed back to the Stone Age." Subsequent events confirmed that Baker was not bluffing.

Rendez-vous in Geneva

But what unfolded in that Geneva meeting was far more than what could be summarized in one vicious byte-sized threat by a superpower against a developing country. The full transcript of the meeting, which lasted for over 7 hours, is well worth studying, and in painstaking detail.(3) Now declassified, the official transcript reveals the real dimensions and contours of a conflict which had been falsely presented as a confrontation between the “West” (U.N.-U.S.-U.K. et al) and a wily regional power (Iraq), to reestablish justice after the unlawful invasion of Kuwait. No, the substance of the discussions that day in Geneva was quite another. It had relatively little to do with Kuwait. The real issue was Israel and the Palestinian question.


Baker’s response arrogantly ignored the entire content of the Iraqi’s presentation, and seized only on the last point. ...


In a later interview, Baker essentially admitted that the meeting had been a set-up, aimed at allowing the U.S. “to be seen in the judgment of history as not having left any stone unturned in the pursuit of peace.” Asked if this were a “plot to avoid the war,” Baker said no, since the decision had already been made. “[T]he meeting with Tariq Aziz in Geneva permitted us to achieve congressional support for something that the President was determined to do in any event….”(4)

The Lessons of Geneva

Studying these documents confirmed me in my belief that Desert Storm had little or nothing to do with Kuwait, but everything to do with a U.S.-U.K.-Israeli commitment to a new policy for the region. ...

None of this is the stuff of academic debate. It is immediately relevant today. ...

Tariq Aziz and War Prevention

Tariq Aziz represents a valuable asset in the effort to stop a new war. Were he freed, through a concerted international campaign, he could speak out and educate world public opinion on what the nature of the Great Game in the region has been over the past three decades at least. ...

Certainly this is the main reason why Aziz, unlike many other members of the Saddam Hussein regime, has been kept in custody, his guardians obviously waiting for him to exit this life and enter the next. Former colleagues of his, be it a former Foreign Minister, or an Information Minister, among many diplomats, are now resting comfortably (some as millionaires, I am told), in Dubai or Abu Dhabi or Amman. ...

Iraqi Internal Politics

Why was Tariq Aziz allowed to give the Guardian such an interview?

One can only make a few educated guesses on the basis of known facts. First, it occurred after his transfer to the Iraqi authorities, who appear to be treating him better than the Americans did. He mentions in the interview that he has comfortable quarters, friendly guards, and weekly telephone access to his family. Secondly, the interview appeared in the midst of a prolonged political crisis following parliamentary elections. Iyad Allawi, whose secular nationalist faction had won a slim majority over Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki’s group, was also contacted by the Guardian, and informed of the upcoming interview. “Tell Tariq Aziz that he is my friend and I think of him often,” Allawi is quoted saying. “He is a good man and I know his family well. I wish him all the best and it is wrong to lock him up like this for so long. He is an old man.”

In an interview with the German weekly Der Spiegel, published August 29, Allawi elaborated on his forecast for Iraq: .... ...

Allawi’s overall assessment of the failure of U.S. policy is devastating and on the mark. ...

Regarding possible agreement on power-sharing, Allawi stressed that, since all power is invested in the Prime Minister, a way must be found to share that power between two political forces. He expressed optimism that Shi’ite militia and political leader Muqtadar al Sadr, whom he had opposed in the past, could and would play a positive role as a nationalist Iraqi. ...

Parallels to Iran

Both Tariq Aziz and Iyad Allawi have provided valuable insights into the past, present, and future of their tortured country. Although they do not make the connection in such an explicit form, the danger of new wars in the region is intimately linked to the policy followed since 1996 by the U.S., U.K., and Israel.

And the parallels to the current crisis are outstanding: just as Saddam Hussein in Tariq Aziz’s account was denounced a public enemy number one for his threats to retaliate against a threatened Israeli nuclear attack, so today Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is demonized for having allegedly threatened to wipe Israel off the map. This, nota bene, came in response to repeated Israeli threats to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iraq in both pre-war situations (1990 and 2003) was falsely accused of having weapons of mass destruction; today, against evidence to the contrary documented by the IAEA, Iran is condemned for its alleged nuclear weapons program. ...

So it is clear that the war party in the U.S., U.K., and Israel, which brought us the tragedies of Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom (sic), is intent on igniting another war which, this time, would incinerate the entire region. Shedding light on how previous such bloody adventures have been orchestrated and forced on an unassuming world public opinion is of utmost importance. Therefore, Dr. Tariq Aziz should be freed.

The transcript for Guardian interview with Tariq Aziz by Martin Chulov on August 5th is the following page. And there's a link at the top for another August 5th article by Martin Chulov about Tariq Aziz saying that the US must not withdraw from Iraq without ensuring that sufficient security is in place and I included the link for it following the link for the interview transcript.

"Tariq Aziz: 'Britain and the US killed Iraq. I wish I was martyred'

• WMD an illusion was to deter Iran, says former minister
• Nostalgia for Saddam Hussein rule – but he calls on US to stay"

by Martin Chulov, Aug. 5th, 2010

"Saddam Hussein deputy Tariq Aziz calls for US forces to stay in Iraq

Exclusive: In his first interview since the fall of Baghdad, Tariq Aziz accuses Barack Obama of 'leaving Iraq to the wolves'"

by Martin Chulov, Aug. 5th, 2010

Martin Chulov's own words in the second article again illustrate western journalism arrogance and/or ignorance, or arrogant ignorance.


As another conflict with the United Nations and US loomed in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion, Aziz said he tried to convince the world that its fears that Iraq was concealing a secret weapons programme were unfounded.

"I was in charge of supervising the work of Unscom. I attended hundreds of meetings with them at hundreds of sites, but they were committed to proving the untrue. Bush was going to war regardless."

Saddam, however, preferred a policy of ambiguity, a stance that heightened US and British suspicions. After his capture, Saddam told the FBI that his main intent had been to keep Iran guessing, not to beat the drums of war.

So what if Saddam said the latter to the FBI. The war was never about WMD. The Washington claim about WMD was a fabricated lie and Washington knew it was a lie. Washington knew very well that UN inspectors found nothing after verifying over 700 sites that they were sent to by Washington. So Saddam having "preferred a policy of ambiguity" vis-a-vis Iran was irrelevant when the WMD claim was used by Bush et al to falsely justify this war on Iraq is the question. But Martin Chulov writes as if it was important and he thereby repeats the bs propaganda line. Another [lousy] western journalist!

I understand Tariq Aziz's reason for not wanting the US to withdraw with haste; not wanting Iraqis to be left to the death squads, that have operated a lot during this war on Iraq, f.e.; but I don't think to fully agree with his worry or concern. For one thing, the US is the main party responsible for these death squad ops, and for this people can read articles in my posts in another page here. Those posts and the page link are provided where I comment about "The Badr Corps ..." in relation to Robert Dreyfuss's article in my frist or second post in this page.

And without being sure, I nevertheless don't think the Iraqis in these death squads, for they're not all Iraqis (some have been American and probably British), would be able to defeat Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi/Mehdi Army and other Iraqis who were active in Iraqi Resistance groups against the US-lead war and occupation of their country. The other resistance groups might need a little time to re-group or re-organize again, but I believe that this would not require a lot of time. The Mehdi Army can probably be re-activated very quickly though and they're numerous enough.

Some people might argue that Muqtada al-Sadr's Army contributed to the death squads, providing killers for this, as some people, like Robert Dreyfuss (see his article in my earlier post), have already done; but I doubt that Muqtada al-Sadr would do this. He surely would not have been for the assassination of Iraqi intellectuals, government officials, medical professionals, teachers, and so on, who were opposed to the criminal war on and occupation of their country. He was fully against this war and occupation. He might not have been against the war, at first, surely having wanted Saddam Hussein removed from power; but Muqtada al-Sadr very quickly became opposed to the war and occupation. And the Mehdi Army was always loyal to him; by far most members of this resistance force were, anyway.

If the US military and all foreigners the US has in Iraq, so including all allied military forces and all "security" contractors, totally withdrew, then I am guessing that Iraqis who were of resistance fighting before could overtake the even very trained Iraqis who make up the Iraqi part of the death squads. And surely many Iraqi government Army members would side with the Iraqi people, instead of the death squads and related political officials.

The Mehdi Army had thousands of fighters and I doubt that the Iraqi members of the death squads would be able to overtake the Mehdi; and then there are the Sunni and possibly other Iraqi resistance fighters. If they've all given up their arms, then this would certainly be a big problem, but I assume that they are not without arms or the ability to be able to quickly arm or re-arm themselves.

Maybe I'm mistaken about this, but this is what I believe, for now. Perhaps someone can point out important factors that I'm not thinking of.

Anyway, the US remains the occupying power in Iraq and someone needs to raise this urgent issue of the death sentence against Tariq Aziz in the US Congress.

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