The Daily 750

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The Dujail Massacre Trial

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Here's Saddam and his seven co-defendents in their Baghdad courtroom cage in the building that was the National Command Headquarters of the Baath Party.

Sitting to Saddam's right is a former chief "judge" of the Revolutionary "Court", Awad Hamad Al-Bander Al-S'adun. He is charged with sentencing 143 Dujail residents to death following a 1982 attempt on Saddam's life. It is Awad's attorney, Saadoun Janabi, who was kidnapped on Thursday and found dead on Friday, in his own execution style, with gunshots to his chest and head.

Hard to believe it now, but this man, Muhammad Hamza al-Zubaydi, was Saddam's Prime Minister and "Shia thug". He always looks like this now -- eyes closed, mouth open.

The leader of the pack as he listens to one of the bravest men on the planet.

And here's that brave man, Jaafar al-Mousawi, chief prosecutor in the Dujail case. Good luck finding any biographical information on him; until the trial was broadcast, his name had been kept secret, for security reasons.

The name and face of the judge, Rizgar Mohammed Amin, had also been kept secret. After the three-hour session last Wednesday, Amin adjourned the proceedings until November 28, telling Reuters nearly three dozen witnesses had not dared appear in Baghdad for the trial. "They were too scared to be public witnesses," he said. "We're going to work on this issue for the next sessions."

Sound TV would show the entirety of the three-hour session (not just the 45 minutes carried by C-SPAN, half of which were pre-empted today for a FEMA press conference on Hurricane Wilma preparations), and would show it weekly until the trial resumes. The trial would, of course, be subtitled so that we could hear the tone -- the defiance, the anger, the fear, the judicial competence -- of all speakers in their own tongue; a second audio channel would carry an English translation for the visually impaired. American men and women are risking their lives right now to free the world of these men. The least we can do is watch and understand.

The Daily 750 will take Monday off to readjust its schedule so that East Coast readers will have new content in the mornings rather than 3pm or so, and to return to longer essays. Wilmaaaa! -- pass gently and with haste. See you on Tuesday.