‘Lynched by the mob’

‘Lynched by the mob’ by Tariq Ali for The Guardian, December 30, 2006

You couldn’t call Saddam’s death even crude victor’s justice. It was an old-fashioned colonial hanging, as brutal as it was cynical

It was symbolic that 2006 ended with a colonial hanging – most of it (bar the last moments) shown on state television in occupied Iraq. It has been that sort of year in the Arab world. After a trial so blatantly rigged that even Human Rights Watch—the largest single unit of the US human rights industry—had to condemn it as a total travesty. Judges were changed on Washington’s orders; defence lawyers were killed and the whole procedure resembled a well-orchestrated lynch mob.

Where Nuremberg was a more dignified application of victor’s justice, Saddam’s trial has, till now, been the crudest and most grotesque. The Great Thinker President’s reference to it “as a milestone on the road to Iraqi democracy” as clear an indication as any that Washington pressed the trigger. The contemptible leaders of the European Union, supposedly hostile to capital punishment, were silent, as usual. And while some Shia factions celebrated in Baghdad, the figures published by a fairly independent establishment outfit, the Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies (its self-description: “which attempts to spread the conscious necessity of realising basic freedoms, consolidating democratic values and foundations of civil society”), reveal that just under 90% of Iraqis feel the situation in the country was better before it was occupied. read more

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