Archive for Friday, December 8, 2006

Witnesses at Saddam’s trial recall gas attack

December 8, 2006


— A Kurdish doctor told Saddam Hussein's genocide trial Thursday that children vomited blood, people broke out in skin rashes and itching, and animals fell dead after a gas that "smelled like flowers" blanketed his village in a 1987 military offensive.

Another Kurdish doctor said he treated men, women and children for serious body burns and blindness from the alleged chemical attack amid airstrikes and a ground offensive on the village as part of Saddam's 1987-88 campaign against the Kurds known as Operation Anfal.

"I treated a man whose entire body was full of chemical bubbles, but he died a few days later," he said in a brief testimony, recalling one of his April 1987 patients.

Saddam and his six-defendants - all former members of his regime - sat silently throughout the hearing, which later adjourned until Dec. 18 after the testimony.

The seven men have pleaded innocent to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in Operation Anfal. Saddam and one other defendant have pleaded innocent to the additional charge of genocide. If convicted, they could all be condemned to death.

The prosecution estimates that 180,000 Kurds were killed when Saddam's army waged a scorched-earth campaign against Kurdish separatist guerrillas, allegedly destroying hundreds of villages, killing or forcing their residents to flee.

The names of the two doctors - both dressed in Western-style business suits and speaking Kurdish through an Arabic interpreter - were not announced when they took the stand, as is the court's practice. It was not immediately clear if the court deliberately withheld their names.

Ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein sits in the dock during his trial Thursday in Baghdad, Iraq. Saddam and six co-defendants have pleaded innocent to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in the 1987-88 military campaign against Kurds in northern Iraq.

Ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein sits in the dock during his trial Thursday in Baghdad, Iraq. Saddam and six co-defendants have pleaded innocent to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in the 1987-88 military campaign against Kurds in northern Iraq.

In previous hearings, some witnesses who preferred to remain anonymous spoke from behind a curtain.

The first doctor testified that airstrikes preceded the arrival of Saddam's ground forces into his village.

"On April 16, 1987, I saw many planes hovering in the sky as I was standing outside my clinic," said the physician, who added that he also was a Kurdish guerrilla fighter.

"There was a strange smell, some people said it was like garlic or apples," he said. "It was not a bad smell, it smelled like flowers."

Shortly after the chemical attack, "I saw dozens of women and children walking with their eyes red, many were vomiting blood," he said.

"Everything in the village was dead, the birds, the animals, the sheep," he said, adding that he and some villagers fled to nearby mountains to escape Saddam's advancing troops.

Days later, he said he returned to the village to find it "entirely burned, there were no people, only some blind animals who had survived were there."

He said fellow Kurdish fighters told him it was "the first chemical attack on Kurdistan." He insisted that there was another "chemical attack" on his village in 1988, but said he did not see any dead people in both assaults.

"I was infected by the chemicals," he said, describing feeling "a burning sensation" on his skin and coughing up blood. He did not specify when he sustained his chemical injury.

On Nov. 5, Saddam was convicted in a separate trial in the slaying of 148 Shiite Muslims, including children, following an assassination attempt against him in the town of Dujail in 1982. He was sentenced to death by hanging.


bearded_gnome 8 years ago

Saddam responsible for the deaths of more muslims than any other figure in history. but according to the yammering lefties on here, we should have left his ugly personage in power. some of them call for intervention in Darfur, but what Saddam did in Iraq (Kurds/Shiites) was much worse than the disaster in Darfur.

and, note, apparently Saddam had WMD's at the point of this story's events. he had them until late '02. so, our intel wasn't wrong after all. even then, saddam's generals believed they'd have WMD's to fight the coming american/brit attack until he informed them otherwise in December '02 (re "the saddam tapes).

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

" but according to the yammering lefties on here, we should have left his ugly personage in power. "

Let's see, 250,000 Iraqis died in 20 years under Saddam, but 600,000 have died in 3 1/2 years under BushCo, and the violence is getting worse, not better. So, yea, most of them clearly would have been better off if Saddam had stayed in power, as bad as that would have been.

"but what Saddam did in Iraq (Kurds/Shiites) was much worse than the disaster in Darfur."

And Reagan/Bush/Rumsfeld were chummy with him before and after facililitating his doing it.

"and, note, apparently Saddam had WMD's at the point of this story's events. he had them until late '02."

No, it's not apparent at all. The almost universal consensus among those who know anything about it is that whatever they had was all destroyed by 92.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"So the 600,000 figure was extrapolated from about 578 death certificates and an additional 50 something reported deaths."

Yes, this is what is known as statistical sampling. It's reliablility has been proven over many decades of use.

Do you doubt the methodology? Do you think that the researchers just made up the data? Do you think that the random sample of 1700 or so households just coincidentally had a death rate of more than double the national rate prior to the 2003 invasion?

"According to the researchers, the overall rate of mortality in Iraq since March 2003 is 13.3 deaths per 1,000 persons per year compared to 5.5 deaths per 1,000 persons per year prior to March 2003. This amounts to about 2.5 percent of Iraqi's population having died as a consequence of the war. To put the 654,000 deaths in context with other conflicts, the authors note that during the Vietnam War an estimated 3 million civilians died overall; the Congo conflict was responsible for 3.8 million deaths; and recent estimates are that 200,000 have died in Darfur over the past 31 months."

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years ago

bad guy gone. end of story until next chapter is written.

bearded_gnome 8 years ago

looks like my little mornin' post touched some nerves.

the 600K deaths includes those killed by the al-qaeda terrorists *we are fighting in Iraq. laying this entire figure at the blame of the U.S. is clearly biased silly and exaggerated. should note here: Al-qaeda attacked us, now we're killing Al-qaeda in Iraq. better there than in Kansas.

IP's point might be this: not sufficient sampling to reliably estimate that number. questions of method, and most of all, not all deaths can be attributed to U.S. actions. besides Al-Qaeda there's Saddam's henchmen too and the crooks he released from prison just before the invasion.

again, it looks as if according to these yammering lefties that we should've left Saddam in power. RE his use of CW being known to us in 1983, note that that was from intelligence and you guys have been criticizing intel on WMD' either we ignore the intel or we act on it without judging it? hypocrisy rears its ugly head again.

Mkh 8 years ago

gnome, You are driving at a point that is simply not there. The "Left" is not being hypocritical on intel as you claim. The intelligence community told "W" he was using "Forged Intelligence" and he used it anyways. How is that the intelligence communities fault?

Just like when almost every intel. agency in the world told him terrorists attacks were certain in the summer of '01 and he did nothing...oh wait that is not true-- he disbanded the FBI task force on Al-Qaeda-- way to go "w"!

You sight Saddam's use of gas without ever telling the truth of the matter, and that is that we gave him those weapons and approved of his using them on those people. I'm in no way defending his use of them, I hope he is found guilty of mass murder. However, I'm sick of the country lying to itself and acting innocent. We support genocide and mass murder when its conveint, and we commit it when its profitable. We need to take care of our own house, its a mess.

Mkh 8 years ago

Posted by mommaeffortx2 (anonymous) on December 8, 2006 at 12:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

bad guy gone. end of story until next chapter is written.

Yep one bad guy gone... tens of thousands now replace him.

There is a new chapter being written right NOW-- in the blood of innocent Iraqi people.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"Al-qaeda attacked us, now we're killing Al-qaeda in Iraq."

Al Qaeda in Iraq is a very minor player--most estimates say fewer than 2% of all insurgent elements.

While it's true that many foreign fighters are gaining valuable military experience in Iraq that could very well haunt us for the next several decades, excluding the actions of coalition forces, 90% of the violence is by a variety of indigenous Iraqi factions.

Most of the foreign presence in Iraq (excluding coalition forces) is from Syrians, Iranians, Kuwaitis, Jordanians and Turks, all of whose countries border Iraq, and therefore whose "national interests" are considerably more affected than those of the US by whatever happens in Iraq.

Mkh 8 years ago

Agreed bozo,

I think the only Al-Qaeda in Iraq are the members who want to die, the rest are comfortably hiding in Afganistan and Pakistan.

bearded_gnome 8 years ago

by their own reports, we know we have killed more than 4000 al-qaeda in Iraq.
Bonzo, it just suits your motives to minimize al-qaeda in Iraq. one of their goals, again from their own writings, was to set off the sectarian violence going on now in Iraq. they believe they benefit from it. obviously they have not had a minimal effect in Iraq and probably were responsible for blowing up the Mosque of the Golden Dome.

according to Miniter's "shadow war ..." Iran is hand in glove with al-qaeda lending support because Iran does not want a free democratic iraq on its border. and, some flickerbulbs say we should talk to Iran?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"Iran is hand in glove with al-qaeda"

That's really stupid. Al Qaeda is Sunni, and Iran is Shia, and they have almost nothing to do with each other.

I have no doubt the al Qaeda has had a negative effect on the situation in Iraq. But their opening was created by the US invasion, even though they are still a relatively minor player there.

bearded_gnome 8 years ago

Bonzo, I ref a published book for that. the evidence in the book is extensive. it also says some of the time Osama Bin Laden has been hidden and protected in Iran. gives very convincing details. also indicates where he has been hiding in afghanistan and frontier pakistan.

try examining the book instead of just spouting off, again.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years ago

Iraq or more point in fact, Saddam, Have been enemys of Iran for many years, so of course Iran would jump at any opp. to get back at Iraq and hey the USA at the same time is an added bounus. So i know this does not make any diffrence in any war but we are fighting multiple enemys in Iraq.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

The Taliban and al Qaeda find their allies in Pakistan, not Iran. This has been well-documented, even if the author of the book you cite has deluded both you and himself.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years ago

bozo not to argue but history of Iran say diffrent, and they are more than willing to jump on any ones band wagon if it means getting at the USA, and a long time enemy such as Iraq. May I ask your age?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"May I ask your age?"

You can ask whatever you want.

But it won't change the facts, and the facts are than there is no connection between Iran and al Qaeda.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years ago

avoidence of a simple question. History proves that pakistan is a hot bed for people from around the region to gather and fight for al-Qaeda, as is yemen and egypt, included in these people is some of irans own, with the full support of their government. Why do it this way? Because they can be part of violent acts against the western world with out being directly linked to these acts. Simple and easy to deny.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"avoidence of a simple question."

No, avoidance of an irrelevant question.

"History proves that pakistan is a hot bed for people from around the region to gather and fight for al-Qaeda, as is yemen and egypt, "

Yep, and all of these countries are primarily Sunni. Iran is mostly Shia, as is its government, and there has been very little if any connection between Iran and al Qaeda.

There are minority populations in Iran which are Sunni, some of whom likely made there way to Afghanistan, but the Iranian government opposed the Taliban, which are largely a creation of Pakistan.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years ago

not irrelevant, so we will continue to agree to disagree because my history seems to differ from yours and as all people know it is almost impossible to change a persons point of view, and in most cases a person should only state theirs not try to argue the other person to their side.

jonas 8 years ago

I thought Bin Ladin was Shia.

Mkh 8 years ago

Iran and Al-Qaeda?!?!?!??!!?!?!?!?

OMG! LOL! LOL! LOL! Now I have heard it All. Did you folks not learn anything from the past five years about Shia and Sunni and who funds terrorists. This is even more of a stretch than the infamous Saddam/Al-Qaeda claim.

There is absolutely no connection to Iran and Al-Qaeda and anyone who is feeding you that line of b.s has other motives, and that is to rally the will of the American people around the impending invasion of Iran.

Iran funds and supports the organization of Hezbollah(Shia), NOT Al-Qaeda.

Thanks for the lunch time laugh though.

btw, to answer your question jonas, bin Laden was raised as a devote Sunni, like more than 95% of Saudia Arabian people.

jonas 8 years ago

If Al-Qaeda becomes, in the minds of many, just a descriptive word for all terrorists, then there are certainly connections. All info tends to say that there is no connection, at this point, amongst Al-Qaeda itself, in any other way than the name.

Thanks for the info, though.

Mkh 8 years ago

"agree to disagree because my history seems to differ from yours"

This is very Rovian, 'you have your math and I have The Math'.

Perhaps your history varies because you are not looking past 1979. The Iranian history is many of thousands years old, however I would specifically draw your attention to 1953 when the CIA was instructed by President Eisenhower (Operation Ajax) to overthrow the only democratically elected leader in Iran's history (Mossadegh), the US then placed the Shah in as a puppet leader, he was a very close ally of the West and lead an extremely brutal and oppressive regime until he was overthrown in '79.

Why did we overthrow their elected leader you ask? Because he was trying to stop the British government from taking their oil without sharing profits with the Iranian people.

Mkh 8 years ago

But Iraq has nothing to do with Oil, this is about

bearded_gnome 8 years ago

you're simply reciting the liberal talking point you read from a hate-bush website that because Iran is shiite and al-qaeda is sunni so they would not cooperate. Miniter addresses this directly with interviews of many who present evidence to the contrary. further, this liberal hate-bush talking point is discredited by the fact that there have been intermarriages shiite and sunni in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq for many generations. the saudis say the idea of partitioning Iraq according to Kurd, Shiite, and Sunni would result in the world's largest ethnic clensing. granted the saudis are Sunnis and might be partial to their minority in Iraq, but their opinion is quite respectable.

Bin Ladin is Sunni, but according to Miniter while in Iran, he was disguising himself as a Shiite religious leader. it suits Iran to give Al-qaeda (that is, specifically Bin Ladin's organization) assistance and sanctuary as they see it as one way to meddle in Iraq, along with direct/indirect/IED provision for Shiites in Iraq.

to be accurate, Iran contains about five different ethnic/religious minorities along with the Shiite majority. remember, they also franchise Hezbollah against Israel, too.

Bonzo, you're arguing against the work of this author being completely ignorant of his work. nothing like willful ignorance ever stopped you, did it?

this book was only a "best seller."

Mkh 8 years ago

"you're simply reciting the liberal talking point you read from a hate-bush website that because Iran is shiite and al-qaeda is sunni so they would not cooperate"

Oh Gnome you caught me with your wit and genious. Yeah that whole Sunni/Shiite "talking point" is really just all about "w", I'm sure it has nothing to do with a conflict that goes back to 632ad.

Interfaith marriages proves that the Sunni/Shiite rivalry was nothing but another liberal hate-Bush sometimes I wish I permantly lived in this altered state of reality that you exist in...must be nice.

bin Laden posing as a Shiite religious leader??!! Bahhhhh! Where does this Miniter character come up with this stuff, you sure you weren't reading in the fiction section gnome? This guy is taking you for a looooooong ride.

Mkh 8 years ago

btw, Miniter is a former producer of Fox News, and his book before "Shadow War: The Untold Story of How Bush Is Winning the War on Terror" was entitled "Losing Bin Laden: How Bill Clinton's Failures Unleashed Global Terror"

Miniter is a biased patisian supporter of "w" and his global war agenda. He is simply getting you ready for the bombs to drop on Tehren, that way you'll have something to cheer and wave the flag about.

jonas 8 years ago

Really, Gnome, you DO use the Bush-hating thing as a write-off with too great of consistency.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago


And the only thing more stupid than the invasion of Iraq would be an attack on Iran.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

Your version of Iranian (and American) history is utterly simplistic, and equally utterly wrong, chuckdowning.

Mkh 8 years ago


The link that bozo provided is fairly detailed and will show you exactly what I am talking about. Your account of the Shah returning in a non-coup is completely innacurate and ignores all the facts. Your understanding in this part of Iranian history is void from the details concerning the events. If you read the link (specifically the "plot") and still think what you posted is true, ok, then I suppose we can debate it. But the facts speak for themselves.

And I never stated that Mossadegh was elected by the "Iranian people", but he was democratically elected as Prime Minister by the Iranian Parliament on a vote of 79-12. I'm sure you can recognize how landmark of an achievement that was for Iran.

One important point is that directly after the removal of Mossadegh, General Fazlollah Zahedi formed an agreement with foreign oil companies and distribution restarted.

But in closing I would like to restate that nation building is in no way about Oil, its about Freedom!

Mkh 8 years ago

There is also the matter of how The Sha (Mohammad Reza) came to power. The Allies (Britian/Soviets) invaded Iran and replaced his father because they felt the younger Reza would be more open to their influence...they were right.

Mkh 8 years ago


Your raising good questions, but again, I think your lacking some details. Yes of course I acknowledge that the Shah (Mohammad Reza) was put into power in 1941, as I said before the UK and USSR invaded Iran, removed his father from the throne and put him in power because they believed he would be easily to influence (aka "puppet).

Mossadegh was elected Prime Minister by the Parliament, whose representatives were elected by the people. During his time as PM he helped create a nationalistic, anti-monachary movement. But his real conflict with the Sha came when he advised that the Sha leave the country, and in reply the Sha dismissed him as PM. This is the event that really sparked the standoff. On paper it looks like perhaps Mossadegh over stepped himself.

However, the reason he asked the Sha to leave was because he had to institute emergency poewers in order to keep the government from being overthrown by foriegn agencies (i.e. the CIA). Mossadegh knew that the US/Britian were actively trying to overthrow the government and that many inside the government were in on the plot. The "appoitment" of Mossadegh that you reference I am assuming is referring to when the Sha rejected his call to enact emergency powers and Mossadegh resigned. When the PM policies were overturned the People of Iran protested in mass until the Sha appointed back to his PM position.

The answer to your question of why did the Sha not have power to remove Mossadegh, the Sha lost his right to do this when he decided to help foreign forces remove the rightful PM, he appointed General Fazlollah Zahedi PM who was hand picked by the US/Britian and fled the country until the coup was complete.

Mkh 8 years ago


All I am reading in the links you posted is lots of speculation and very little facts. Speaking of very little facts, the 9/11 Commission report might be the least credible source possible on anything.

Taken from the closing paragraph of the first article linked:

"I don't quite see the need that this operation had for assistance from al Qaeda," Benjamin said. "Second of all, my understanding of the larger relationship between Iran and al-Qaeda suggests that while there were plenty of contacts, many more than there were with Iraq, it was never clear they developed a serious cooperative relationship."

Many of these claims are very old news, you might recall in the weeks following 9/11 many analysts were speculating the Taliban/al-Qaeda went to Iran, no serious evidence has been produced however.

Mkh 8 years ago

If Iran and al-Qaeda are allies now, why are they being accused of being on seperate sides of the violence in Iraq???

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years ago

well can't see past 79' well prior to 79' the man in power was put there by us he replaced his father who was brutal he was much loved by most but overthrown and exiled for a time then was put back in to power and became his father then we hit 79' and the final overthrow and the sha we all know and love who used the embassy hostage taking to his benafit and now we are here today with a guy that scares me more than his former counterpart, more extreme. Yes Iraq and Iran have been long time enimies, and the current leaders of Iran will use any means they can to create mayhem in Iraq and for the US and if that means sending some of their own terrorist to the al-quida they will.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

Who elected the Shah, chuckdowning? (the very obvious answer is the US and British governments at the behest of their oil companies.)

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years ago

well that would demand which one you are refering to new or old current or 79, 80s oh wait ours was pre 79'.

prioress 8 years ago

They joke a while back in Britain: "Of course we know Saddam has WMD. We kept the receipts."
Our former 'friend' and 'ally' used stuff sold to him by the western powers to use on the Kurds.

Mkh 8 years ago

"And your timeline is off. Mossadegh forced the Shah out of Iran BEFORE foreign forces restored the Shah to his constitutional office as head of state."

I'm not sure I said anything to refute this. But I perhaps wouldn't say Mossadegh forced the Shah out...but yes the Sha did leave before foreign forces completed the coup--- it wouldnt make any sense if the coup happened and then the Sha left. Did you have point?

Mkh 8 years ago

"The Shah appointed Mossadegh to be prime minister. If he had the power to appoint Mossadegh, it follows that he also had the power to remove him."

I'm not an expert on Iranian constituional law, but it seems that the Shah did not have the power to allow foreign government agencies to conduct an overthrow of the Prime Minister's government---- this is considered high treason.

Mossadegh defined the Shah's removal of his power due the fact that he was not going to concede the soveriegn government of Iran to foreign forces, who were acting on behalf of oil companies that wanted to end Iranian nationalization of oil.

Mkh 8 years ago

"I think you and bozo cheapen the concept of democray when you say Mossadegh was democratically elected. As noted above, Mossadegh did not earn his position through a popular vote. "

Alright well I'm not going to argue with opinion, but I'll give you my own.

I believe you are attempting to hold Iran to the Greek ideals of pure democracy, which is completely missleading and unfair, since the Iranian government was never inteded to be that way. In doing this, you have attempted to "cheapen the concept of democray" that was trying to flourish in Iran during the early '50's.

btw, Did "W" win the popular vote when he was "appointed" President??? I forget chuck, by how much did he win the popular vote? Can you give us those numbers?

Mkh 8 years ago

"If you believe that constitutes being democratically elected, consider the following questions: Were women allowed to vote in those elections? (wikipedia shows that there was not women's suffrage in Iran until 1963. That would have occurred under the Shah.)"

Chuck, what exactly is the point your trying to make? Because it seems to me that you are saying elections are not "democratic" unless women have voted.

I thought it was common knowledge that the US did not achieve suffrage for women until 1920, but perhaps not. By your standards of "democratic" the following Presidents would be considered illegitimate:

George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, JAmes Monroe, John Q. Adams, Andrew Jackson, Mark Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Bejamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Theadore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson.

Mkh 8 years ago

"You've made many statements above that are simply untrue. Let's start with a simple one. You said above that Richard Miniter is a "former producer of Fox News."

OK, chuck let do it. I read something wrong, it is his wife that is a former producer of Fox News.

What's next? Perhaps something more viable to the discussion?

Mkh 8 years ago

"You're one of those posters who can't admit he is wrong. Maybe I can help you."

Chuck I'm not rehabilated yet, please show me the light.

PS. Do you have those numbers on the 2000 popular vote yet...can't wait to see.

Mkh 8 years ago

"If you believe that constitutes being democratically elected, consider the following questions:

- Were the members of parliament elected in far elections?"

Again chuck, if you are suggesting that a government cannot be democratic unless they have "fair" elections (very arbitrary term btw); you would be calling almost all the voting societies in the world illegitmate, including once again, our own.

I'm not sure if this utopian pure democracy state that you hold as standard exists. If it does, I would sure like to visit.

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