The power of private individuals to move around information is pretty amazing. Reader G. sends facsimiles of the death warrants Saddam Hussein is accused of signing in Iraq. In his enclosing letter, Reader G. adds "the executions of 148 people had been carried out and that some of the named people were mistakenly released instead of being executed, and that other prisoners not on the list were executed by mistake!" The facsimiles are shown below.
The reader says the documents ordering the execution of some 148 people were presented during today's trial of Saddam Hussein and introduced as evidence against him. As it happens, Iraq the Model (who is unrelated to the reader) writes in his latest post about the same subject:
The session began as usual and as expected with lots of exchanged yelling and whining from defendants, the judge and the defense team until the prosecutor turned the tide when he began presenting loads of documents that prove the guilt of Saddam and his gang, especially his half-brother Barzan and the chief of the infamous revolution court Awad al-Bandar. Barzan had been denying any connection for the intelligence service (Mukhabarat) he headed with the Dujail massacre claiming that the intelligence was solely responsible for watching non-Iraqis and had nothing to do with internal cases like Dujail where the suspects were Iraqis.
However, the documents uncovered today showed that Barzan was personally deeply involved in following up the case and "interrogating" the suspects and their families. The documents were presented in chronological order in a way that literally stunned Saddam and Barzan who barely uttered a few words during the more than an hour-long presentation. Dozens of documents that look authentic and carried the signatures of Saddam, Barzan and other criminals were displayed; the earliest ones go back to as early as 2 days after the assassination attempt with the latest dated 7 years after that showing all stages of the massacre from interrogation to sentencing the 148 resident of Dujail to signing and approving and executing the death sentence to finally following up a couple of prisoners who mistakenly were let out to be later recaptured and executed.
The documents revealed some unbelievably terrifying facts about the Dujail massacre; can you imagine that when orders were given to execute the 148 "convicts" the prison authorities executed only 96 of them. Why? Because the remaining 48 "convicts" had already passed away during "interrogation"!! What kind of interrogation was that killed one third of the suspects?!
From two synoptic sources, we get complementary information of the same subject. Now here's a link to a Reuters story describing the presentation of the very documents described above.
Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi presented documents he said were death certificates of Shi'ites who were rounded up and executed following an assassination attempt on Saddam's life in 1982.
He also presented a document which he said contained Saddam's handwriting. The document, according to Moussawi, said four men had been executed by mistake and that two men had been released, also by mistake.
Looking more subdued than in previous rowdy proceedings, Saddam challenged the authenticity of the documents.
On Tuesday, after a two-week break during which the 68-year-old former president staged a hunger strike, prosecutors presented what they said was a death warrant signed by Saddam in 1984 for 148 men from the Shi'ite town of Dujail.
Prosecutors hope such documents can establish a direct link between Saddam and atrocities by proving a chain of command in connection with the execution of the 148 men.
The Reuters story actually has far less detail than Iraq the Model, but it confirms the readers account about some prisoners being executed or released "by mistake". Nowhere to be found in the Reuters report, however, is Iraq the Model's report that about 48 convicts had died under torture before they could be executed, and that's an historical mystery waiting to be solved.
It struck me that without Iraq the Model the fate of those 48 tortured men might never have been known to the non-Iraqi audience. Not that it would bring them back, but "information warfare" in the sense of speaking the truth in the face of the lie or remembering what would otherwise have been forgotten is by definition a private act. It's an outcome of free speech. In a fundamental way "the truth" is something no one can expect government to provide on our behalf. Once the public expected it of the newspapers. Here are the famous last lines between CIA badguy Higgins (Cliff Robertson) and CIA goodguy Turner (Robert Redford) as Turner takes his expose to the New York Times in the movie Three Days of the Condor.
Higgins: Turner! How do you know they'll print it? You can take a walk, but how far if they won't print it?
Turner: They'll print it!
Higgins: How do you know?
But in those far-off days we knew, we knew they would print it. Or did we?