- Many crimes against Iraq have been justified by the demonization
of Saddam Hussein. Invasion was justified by claims that he possessed
"weapons of mass destruction," had ties to al-Qaeda, and posed
a threat to the territorial United States.
- The claims turned out to be lies. There were no "weapons
of mass destruction" or programs to develop them. There were no ties
to al-Qaeda. He did not threaten U.S. territory.
- Those who still support the occupation now say it was
justified because Saddam Hussein was a "brutal dictator." One
of the main complaints against him is that "he killed the Kurds."
The usual reference is the Anfal campaign of the Iraqi army from February
23, 1988 to September 6, 1988. It is claimed that Anfal was a campaign
of genocide. It can now be said that the "Anfal genocide" never
happened. It is another lie.
- Ironically it is the second of the illegal U.S.-run "trials"
of Mr. Hussein in Baghdad that allows this conclusion. The facts and circumstances
of the "trial" can be analyzed without any concession to the
legitimacy of the "court." Nor, since it is illegal, is there
any reason to wait for the "court's" findings before reaching
one's own conclusions. Applicable principles of international law are presented
in Appendix A.
- Certain facts are not in dispute. The campaign took place
in the late stages of the Iran-Iraq war. The Iraqi army fought units of
the Iranian army in Northern Iraq. Kurdish guerillas called peshmerga allied
with Iran against the government of their own country. In order to suppress
the guerillas the Iraqi government displaced large numbers of Kurdish civilians
from border areas.
- Press reports say the current charge is genocide during
Anfal. By any definition the crime of genocide means the extermination
of large numbers of people. At first no definite number of civilian fatalities
was given in news reports, but in September the "prosecution"
was several times reported to say there were 182,000 deaths.
- The "trial" on the Anfal charges began on August
21, 2006. There were 13 sessions of the "court" between that
date and September 26, at which time it recessed. See Appendix B for the
tabulation of articles.
- In the press reports studied for this analysis no statement
or presentation of methodology was reported. No systematic studies were
reported. No sworn affidavits were reported. No expert testimony was reported.
Evidence of this kind would have been front-page news. It can be concluded
that no such evidence was introduced.
- Instead all testimony was anecdotal. As an example, on
August 22, the first day of testimony, a witness named Ali Mustapha Hama
was heard. He testified to events in the village of Balisan on April 16,
1987. The BBC reported that he said "there was greenish smoke, and
minutes later, a smell like rotten apples or garlic. He spoke of a newborn
infant who was trying to 'smell life', but breathed in the chemicals and
died. Many others died too, he added. During cross-examination, defence
lawyers asked Mr. Hama how he knew the aircraft were Iraqi, and prompted
Hama to say he had helped shelter guerrillas in his village."
- The death of an infant is a very bad thing. Still, the
number of fatalities definitely averred by Mr. Hama is one. He also admitted
that there was guerilla activity in his village. Genocide is a large-scale
crime against civilians, meant to exterminate an ethnic group. Thus Mr.
Hama's testimony did nothing to establish genocide. Another witness heard
the same day was not even reported to have made any definite statement
- Between August 22 and September 26 the news reports speak
of seventeen witnesses. Definite statements of fatalities came to a total
of 43. Some of the fatalities could have overlapped. No attempt to differentiate
between civilian and military casualties was reported.
- Of the fifteen witnesses three admitted to having been
peshmerga guerillas, whereas genocide is a crime against civilians. One
of the three former guerillas, Moussa Abdullah Moussa, now lives in Tennessee.
Another witness, Katrin Michael, now lives in Virginia.
- One of the witnesses, Mahmoud Hama Aziz, testified on
September 9 to 7 fatalities at an unstated location in 1987, prior to Anfal.
The New York Times reported the next day that evidence bearing on Mr. Aziz'
testimony had been found in a mass grave discovered in 2004, whereas the
"prosecution" claims investigations have been going on since
1991 (see Doebbler, below.) The timing of the "discovery" is
so convenient as to raise still more doubts.
- Twenty-one of the 43 fatalities including the Balisan
incident occurred in 1987, before Anfal. That leaves at most 22 during
the Anfal period or at times not stated. The question arises as to what
happened to the other 181,978 of the 182,000 claimed victims. At this rate
it will take about 689 years to account for the alleged fatalities.
- Hence in the first month of proceedings the "prosecution"
presented no case at all.
- The original trial judge was removed for political reasons
on September 20 (see below.) Later sessions descended from farce into chaos.
Defense lawyers boycotted the "trial" on orders of Mr. Hussein.
Anonymous "witnesses" gave testimony behind a screen; documents
were stolen from defense attorney Badia Arif Izzat in the courtroom building,
and so forth.
- The prosecution has had all the time and opportunity
needed to formulate a case. The alleged events occurred eighteen years
ago. Northern Iraq has been out of Baghdad's control since 1996 when the
Clinton administration unilaterally imposed the "no-fly" zones
- Nor has there been any lack of investigative expertise
and money. The New York Times reported on July 1, 2004 that "The Federal
Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation, along with the Bureau
of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and agents from the Justice Department."
The NYT also said on July 20, 2005 that the U.S. had spent more than $35
million on the investigations.
- In a case as intensely political as this it must be presumed
that at the beginning the "prosecution" will present its case
at its strongest. It presented a shambles. Moreover the scale of time and
resources behind the "prosecution" removes any argument that
a case could be made with more effort. There is only one way that is at
all plausible, likely, or straightforward to explain the "prosecution's"
failure to even begin to make any case: there was no "Anfal genocide."
- Other circumstances support the same conclusion.
- The charges are not even clear. None of the cited news
reports give more than the word "genocide." The specification
of charges might answer some questions. A moderate effort found a document
termed a "charging instrument" for the first "trial"
of Mr. Hussein, the Dujail case. It is posted at: http://www.law.
case.edu/ saddamtrial/ documents/ 20060515_ indictment_ trans_saddam_ hussein.pdf.
Charges for the Anfal "trial" were not posted at the same site,
however. Repeated internet searches using "charging instrument"
and/or other search terms failed to find the corresponding prosecution
statement for the Anfal "trial." Hence the "prosecution"
case is not easily available. It is apparent that the Bush administration
and the "prosecution" do not want their case to be known to the
- The most basic and routine of defendant's rights are
violated. Defense attorney Curtis Doebbler writes:
- The violations of unfair trial are too numerous to mention
here, but include almost every provision in article 14 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that could be violated at this juncture
of the proceedings. . .
- The prosecution alleges to have been collecting evidence
since at least 1991 - which, of course, could only be true if it were the
United States government doing the collecting - and has at least been doing
so since April 2003 when dozens of American lawyers and Iraqis who had
not lived in Iraq for years were shuttled in to build a case. The defense
lawyers, despite requesting visits with their client since December 2003
when he was detained, have to date not been allowed the confidential visits
that are necessary to begin to prepare a defense. No visits were allowed
with the most senior lawyers until after the trial had started and at each
visit American officials exercise the authority to read any materials brought
into the visiting room despite the fact that all meetings remain under
close audio and visual surveillance. As if this were not enough, evidence
has been withheld from the defense lawyers. They have been denied access
to investigative hearings; they have been denied prior notice of witnesses,
and they are prevented from even visiting the site of the alleged crime.
- http://jurist. law.pitt. edu/forumy/ 2006/04/farce- of-law-trial-
- If any sound "prosecution" case was possible
these abuses would be unnecessary.
- Mr. Hussein's defense team has been denied physical security
despite repeated requests. During the first "trial" three of
his attorneys were murdered. During the current "trial" legal
assistant Abdel Monem Yassin Hussein was murdered. He was kidnapped on
August 29. His body was found five days later. The murders of defense personnel
argue further against the possibility of any "prosecution" case.
- The blatantly political nature of the "trial"
was exposed again on September 20, when puppet Iraqi "prime minister"
Nuri al-Maliki removed judge Abdullah al-Amiri from the case. The reason
for this outrageous abuse was reported by the New York Times on September
15 as follows:
- One witness, a Kurdish farmer, testified that in 1988
he had pleaded with Mr. Hussein for the life of his wife and seven young
children. He said a furious Mr. Hussein shouted, "Shut up and get
- In court, Mr. Hussein jumped up to defend himself.
- "Why did he try to see Saddam Hussein?" he
asked the judge, referring to himself in the third person, as is his habit
in court. "Wasn't Saddam a dictator and an enemy to the Kurdish people,
as they say?"
- The judge replied: "I will answer you: you are not
a dictator. Not a dictator," he repeated. "You were not a dictator."
- Mr. Hussein, smiling, replied, "Thank you."
- Five days later the judge was removed. If the alleged
events of 1988 had really occurred it is extremely unlikely that the puppet
"government" would again have discredited itself and the "trial"
with this shameless interference.
- Even more extraordinarily, an AP report on August 21
said that "the trial does not deal with the most notorious gassing
- the March 1988 attack on Halabja that killed an estimated 5,000 Kurds.
That incident will be part of a separate investigation by the Iraqi High
Tribunal." The report did not say why Halabja is to be treated
- The Halabja incident is the biggest thing in the "genocide"
case. The "prosecution" has dismembered its own case. It is trying
to carry water by knocking the bottom out of its own bucket. The omission
strongly suggests that there is no more to the Halabja story than there
is to the "Anfal genocide."
- The most serious doubts arise repeatedly that any valid
case against Mr. Hussein can be made. Just as in the notorious "Downing
Street Memo" minutes of a July, 2002 meeting of the British cabinet,
"the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
- In the United States the burden of proof is on the prosecution
to prove its case "beyond reasonable doubt." The defects of the
"prosecution's" case are so great as to constitute overwhelming
doubt. There is no reason at all to believe that genocide was committed
in the Anfal campaign. Only one conclusion can be drawn: the "Anfal
genocide" never happened.
- In all of the years of its war with Iraq U.S. imperialism
has had only one significant political success: the demonization of Saddam
Hussein. The "brutal, corrupt dictator" line is heard across
the political spectrum. Investigation would seem unnecessary.
- One result is that to a great degree antiwar opinion
sees the war in Iraq as no more than a war for oil. It is insufficient
to stop without looking at Iraq, but that is what almost always happens.
- Firstly, the oil already belongs to Iraq. From its side
the war has always been a war for sovereignty, i.e., its rights of national
self-determination. Since occupation it has also become a war for independence.
- "War for oil" also raises further questions.
There are many ways to get oil. War is the worst way to get it. The question
is why U.S. imperialism has resorted to war. There are many countries
that have oil. The United Arab Emirates has almost as much oil as Iraq
but nothing is ever heard about it. The question is why Iraq is different.
- Again the answer is that modern pre-occupation Iraq always
fully asserted its rights of sovereignty. The war is Iraq is an unjust
war for oil versus a just war for sovereignty and independence.
- The highest questions of any war are questions of historical
content and direction, questions of just and unjust causes. Antiwar opinion
is most of the time not even aware of these questions. More than anything
else it is the demonization of Saddam Hussein that denies the masses a
full understanding of the war.
- The revolutionary significance of Iraq's great struggle
disappears. The linkage of the struggle in Iraq to that of Palestine disappears.
Too often the need to support the just and heroic Iraqi resistance becomes
lost; too often the necessity to immediately demand unconditional withdrawal
of all foreign forces as objectively the only way to end the war becomes
- Very little about Iraq and nothing at all about Saddam
Hussein should ever be accepted on the basis of authority. There are no
such authorities in the U.S. government. There are no such authorities
in the U.S. media. There are no such academic authorities. There are no
such authorities in the antiwar movement. Throw away all "authoritative"
ideas about Saddam Hussein!
- There are only determinations: sound methods, sound concepts,
facts and logic, history. On method one can, for instance, look at the
Iraqi side directly. Daily accounts of resistance activities are posted
in English at:
- http://www.albasrah .net/pages/ mod.php?header=
res1&mod=gis&rep=rep. Political statements of the Iraqi Baath Arab
Socialist Party and pre-occupation speeches of President Saddam Hussein
are posted at http://www.al- moharer.net/ qiwa_shabiya/ qiwa.html.
- The war will end and can only end in the defeat of imperialism
and its expulsion from the Persian Gulf. The people of Iraq are stronger
than imperialism. Though the whole world shatter, and well it may, in the
end the people of Iraq will win.
- Victory to Iraq!
- Down With Imperialism!
- October 2006
- Appendix A: The "trial" Violates International
- 1. The invasion of Iraq is a violation of international
- Excerpt from "A Farce of Law: The Trial of Saddam
Hussein" by Curtis F. Doebbler
- The glaring illegalities of the current process begin
with illegal origins. The invasion and occupation of Iraq is widely understood
to be illegal. On 5 March 2003, three of the five members of UN Security
Council and Germany, which was then a non-permanent member, unambiguously
declared that a US-led invasion without further Security Council authorization
would violate international law. On 16 September 2004, UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan reiterated what was by then obvious to almost every international
lawyer, that the invasion and occupation of Iraq is illegal. In fact, this
is a textbook case of illegal aggression in violation of the prohibition
of the use of force by one country against another found in article 2(4)
of the Charter of the United Nations and under customary international
- The Nuremberg Tribunal described such illegal aggression
as "essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to
the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a
war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is
the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in
that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."
- http://jurist. law.pitt. edu/forumy/ 2006/04/farce- of-law-trial-
- Curtis Doebbler is an American member of Saddam Hussein's
legal defense team and a professor of law at An-Najah National University
on the Palestinian West Bank
- 2. The "trial" of Saddam Hussein violates provisions
of international law to which the United States is signatory.
- Excerpts from "Iraq and the Laws of War" by
Professor Francis A. Boyle
- On 19 March 2003 President Bush Jr. commenced his criminal
war against Iraq by ordering a so-called decapitation strike against the
President of Iraq in violation of a 48-hour ultimatum he had given publicly
to the Iraqi President and his sons to leave the country. This duplicitous
behavior violated the customary international laws of war set forth in
the 1907 Hague Convention on the Opening of Hostilities to which the United
States is still a contracting party, as evidenced by paragraphs 20, 21,
22, and 23 of U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 (1956).
- This brings the analysis to the so-called Constitution
of Iraq that was allegedly drafted by the puppet Interim Government of
Iraq under the impetus of the United States government. Article 43 of the
1907 Hague Regulations on land warfare flatly prohibits the change in a
basic law such as a state's Constitution during the course of a belligerent
occupation: "The authority of the legitimate power having in fact
passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures
in his power to restore, and ensure as far as possible, public order and
safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force
in the country." This exact same prohibition has been expressly incorporated
in haec verba into paragraph 363 of U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 (1956).
- http://www.counterc urrents.org/ iraq-boyle221205 .htm
- http://al-moharer. net/mohhtm/ hungerford250. htm